When you think about “branding” what is the first thing that comes to your mind?
For most people, it calls to mind services like logo creation or the process of bringing together other design elements, like colors, fonts, and shapes. While design choices DO play an important role in shaping a brand, they are far from the only aspects that make up what a brand IS. On that note…
What IS Branding?
Marty Neumeier (branding LEGEND) says that brands are much more than just a logo. In his book The Brand Gap, he says that “a brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service, or company.” It’s so much more than just a logo! Since it lives in the minds of your customers, your brand exists far outside of your reach. This is the hardest thing to accept about branding… it can’t be completely controlled by you.
Your customers create their own perceptions and definitions of your brand based on their interactions with your company. These interactions can include anything from visiting your website to speaking with your customer service department, and everything in between. Too often it’s assumed that “branding” begins and ends with logo creation. The reality is that branding is in everything that your company does!
Why is Branding so Important?
Now more than ever, customers are looking for brands that they align with, brands that embody their ideal aspirational identity, or brands that they connect with on some deeper social level. With so many options available for every conceivable good, service, and product out there in the world, there has never been more noise in the world of advertising.
Creating a brand that can resonate with your target audience helps cut through the clutter and establish a connection. The reality is that different branding agencies will have their own ideas behind the philosophy of branding, and the routes that they take to creating a strong brand might look different depending on who you talk to.
The Rinard Media Philosophy on Branding
We believe that consistency is the key to a successful brand strategy. Your organization or business needs to meet the expectations that you've set for your customers through your brand messaging.
If the image you paint of your brand doesn't match up to a customer's actual lived experience, it can cause dissonance. That dissonance in turn can create mistrust. Regardless of whether the interaction is person-to-person or business-to-customer, promising one thing but doing another is often perceived as untrustworthy. Once customers distrust a brand, it can be nearly impossible to win them back.
So how do you create a brand (promise) that you can consistently deliver on? Well, we believe that it all starts with a strong foundation. If your brand is based on values that you and your team hold close, it’s easy to deliver on that promise!
We mentioned before that there’s never a 100% guarantee that your business or brand will be perceived exactly the way you want it to be. However, taking the time to lay the groundwork and define your brand DOES give you a better chance of communicating effectively and achieving that desired impression from your customers. Laying this groundwork is the basic function of effective branding services. Branding teams work to create logos, color schemes, messaging plans, brand voices, photography guides, and SO much more — all to make sure your brand resonates appropriately with your customers.
How do you build a brand that resonates?
Our Branding Process
Rinard Media starts every branding project the same way — by getting familiar with our clients and their customers. We do this through an in-depth branding discovery meeting where we get to sit down and ask our clients a variety of different questions. We want to know what makes a business tick. Some of the questions we ask include:
- Why do they do what they do?
- Why THIS industry? Why THIS audience?
- Is there a mission behind the business?
- What are their goals?
- How can we help them get there with the power of branding?
Once we have a solid understanding of a client’s business, purpose, and mission, we can start building a brand from the ground up! This is also a great exercise for existing brands to perform a self-audit. It’s the perfect opportunity to evaluate whether or not their business is still aligning with the original mission. Maybe it’s time to refresh the core values or pivot operations to get back into alignment with the company’s purpose.
Creating a brand from scratch is an intensive process, and we work closely with our clients every step of the way. We can’t create an effective and applicable business culture and foundation for another business all on our own. We need insights from a company’s founders, key team members, or leaders to ensure that the brand we’re creating together will fulfill its purpose and set the business up for success.
Brand Creation Checkpoints
In the case of crafting a brand-new brand, there are a few different steps that we take to make sure we’re crafting the right deliverables for the business. It’s important to note that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to creating a brand.
When some companies come to us, they already have company values that are set in stone. Other companies might come to us with a logo and a brand standards guide in hand. Still, others come to us with nothing but a big idea and their ambitions! We’re here for all of them.
Common Steps in the Branding Process:
- Creating a list of core values
- Writing up the purpose, mission, and vision statements
- Crafting customer personas
- Logo creation
- Developing brand usage and style guides
- Creating all types of different branding collateral, including:
- Business Cards
- Custom Illustrations
- Digital Assets
- Email Templates
- Product Catalogs
- Product Labels/Packaging
- Rack Cards
- Social Media Graphics
- Table Tent Cards
- Vehicle Wraps
- & More