Branding: a Falsity or an Opportunity

Plan Left- Branding

Branding, to some people, seems to be as elusive as a foreign language they’ve never learned. I come across this about 1 in 3 clients that hire us to do some level of branding, from a logo to a slogan, or even to the placement of some branded graphic on a website (or lack thereof).  It’s important to understand what Branding actually is, to be able to understand it’s true application in the “real world”.  

 

The Brand

What is a Brand? Google will give you a few definitions of a brand, most of which I’ve talked about before- but the real definition doesn’t lie in it’s meaning, so much as it’s importance.  Your Brand image is what people see in their mind’s eye when they think about you.  Your Brand is what you’re actually selling.  Whether the product is a toothbrush or an iPhone app, what people are buying is what it looks like, how it feels, and why it makes their life easier.  That’s a Brand, and that’s it. 
 

The Falsity

A common misconception is that branding is an unimportant part of the message you are selling to people.  Obviously this is a direct contradiction to the purpose that your Brand actually serves.  Some people feel that their logo needs to be a sleek, modern, yet 50s automobile version of the Pillsbury Doughboy, because they liked the Doughboy image as a child.  However, the product they’re trying to sell is a B2B Enterprise Business Intelligence Software that requires a hefty multi-thousand dollar deposit to get started.  
 
Your business needs a logo that is pertinent to your service.  Some people do this by only providing text in a font of specific look and feel.  A slogan (if applicable) will communicate truth about your product to the most base-knowledge consumer in your target audience, and information that supports the cause where needed.  What’s defines the “most base-knowledge consumer”?  The person in the target audience that knows the least about what you’re selling. In the case given above, it might be best to have have supporting Executive testimonials on a website that validate the software that they’re selling. 
Hello: My Brand is Opportunity

The Opportunity

If utilized properly, good Branding can be one of your best sales reps. 
 
“Whether the product is a toothbrush or an iPhone app, what people are buying is what it looks like, how it feels, and why it makes their life easier”, 
 
and therein the opportunity lies. Your customers have a pain, what is your business going to do to resolve it?  Your slogan can illustrate this. If your customers are wanting a better status in their professional network, your logo could be a status symbol for them amongst their peers.
 
Branding may not be the biggest element in how you sell your product, or even important to you in terms of why you’re selling your product.  However, Branding is important to pay attention to if you want your product to speak to your audience and convert prospects into customers.  
 
Steve Jobs had this to say about design, 
 
“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”
 
If you want your brand to speak to your consumer audience the way you would, then you must think of it as a tool and utilize it in this way. And that’s really the final point here.  If you’re Brand doesn’t communicate the same message you would about your product, then you need to refocus it. 
 
Plan Left is always glad to have a branding conversation.  Take advantage of our complimentary Brand Guide by signing up on the Mailing List.  It will pose questions, and offer a solid foundation for finding the direction you’re looking for in your Branding.