Branding 101

Be yourself, everybody else is taken.

What is branding anyway? Why is it so important? Sometimes it’s evident that businesses don’t know the weight of branding when it comes to success. Authentic, considered and simple brands are carefully designed to stand out from the sea of competition — and thrive. Relentlessly.

Take Nike, for example. You see the swoosh as soon as somebody speaks the word. McDonalds, the golden arched “M” lit up in bright yellow immediately comes to mind. And Apple… well, you see the apple. How simple are these examples, yet how powerful is their branding? The majority of the world’s population know how these companies look, speak and act as brands. Now that is the power of great branding.

At birr, our approach is simple. We’re here to share our top tips to set your brand up for success.

Keep it human

When approaching a branding project, it’s good to imagine your business as an actual person. Get creative with this and have fun with it. How do you look? What car do you drive? What is your tone of voice when you speak to people? How do you act in public? Your brand is the forefront of your business. Like any human — your values, vision, mission and story are the reasons customers remain loyal to your company, or go elsewhere…

Be more Patagonia.

An iconic brand is one that is valued as much for what it represents, as for what it does. As Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia writes in his book, Let My People Go Surfing, “You have to be true to yourself; you have to know your strengths and limitations and live within your means. The same is true for a business. The sooner a company tries to be what it is not, the sooner it tries to ‘have it all’, the sooner it will die.” 

So, why should we be more Patagonia? Their customers live and breathe sustainability, they support a business that’s core values tie back into Patagonia’s goal of causing no unnecessary harm in every company decision. Be more Patagonia and your customers will follow. Aim to build long term relationships with your customers.

Strive for progress, not perfection.

If we waited until everything we did was perfect, nothing would ever be achieved. Don’t allow the pursuit of unattainable greatness to stall the growth of your business. Strive to be your best and be proud of it. Review your website and branding at regular intervals and keep progressing towards your goals. There is real satisfaction in knowing your brand is always developing and adapting to the ever-changing business environment.

Visit your brand as the customer.

Have you ever visited a website and thought, “How was this site ever made live?”, it’s out of date, broken, not responsive, difficult to navigate or just badly designed. Now, spend some time examining your own website. Imagine you are there for the first time, what is the first impression you get? Can you easily move around and find what you are looking for? How long did it take to load? Can you also view the site via a tablet or phone, or is that not possible. After you have some user testing, formulate a plan of action to put your findings to work to deliver a better experience for your customer. Be your own greatest critic. How your customers experience and interact with every aspect of your brand – be it your website, customer service assistant, social media or instore – your branding needs to be on point and consistent.

It would be boring if we were all the same, right? So, in order to stand out we must be different. The same goes for branding. In building a kit of parts or in design terminology, a business's identity system, we must grow our brands to be as resilient and flexible as the world it lives in.

Sarah Burgess - designer

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