A brand is more than just a logo. It is more than the colours and fonts. It's more than your social media avatar and slogans. I keep talking about branding here on my blog, in my weekly emails and all around my social media feeds. For some of you it seems like an empty and cold marketing buzzword. But, maybe surprisingly, branding is something much more human. So, what is branding, anyway?
Brand is what distinguishes you, your business and your product or service from other people, businesses and products. You can think your brand as a promise of what can be expected. It is the way you, your business and your product looks, feels, sounds, the emotions they raise. It is the name, the logo, the colours and fonts, the wording plus other features which define and differentiate you, your business and your product. A brand includes all the features you bring to it, but also all the expectations and prejudgements, ideals, values, feelings, thoughts and views other people bring to it. Brand is never static and it cannot be controlled.
Your and your business' history and future vision, and the values form a part of brand. Your competition forms a part of your brand. Your customers form a part of your brand, as well as how your products serves the customers. The emotions you, your business and products evoke form a part of your brand, alongside your personality and personalities of other people working with and for you. A brand is how you, your business and your products differ from others. The blog posts, advertisement and social media posts are parts of your brand, as well is the choice of where you advertise, where you publish the blog posts and which social media platforms you use to share your message.
As mentioned before, branding is more than creating a logo, defining a colour palette, fonts and other visuals. The visuals are, obviously, a very visible part of a brand. However, they are only one, superficial part of branding. The (marketing) message, and where and how the message is delivered are also branding. In branding all those different parts of your brand are defined, created and published. Branding is a way to define and communicate your (business) values, distinguishing features and the justification of why should anyone buy your products. It tells people, such as your customers, your employees and employers, blog readers, fans, followers, competition and others, what to expect from you and your products. Branding is communication.
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I'm Mervi Emilia Eskelinen, an artist and online presence strategist from Finland. I coach and consult indie businesses and bloggers to find focus with their branding, marketing and web. I have almost 20 years of experience, a bachelor's degree and some fun certifications in everything about digital media and marketing.