This section provides a more detailed look at branding. There is a lot of confusion surrounding the topic, so our goal is to create some clarity. Use the buttons on the left to explore - we hope you find it enlightening.
Branding is a powerful and sustainable high-level marketing strategy used to create or influence a brand. It is used to generate a perception of, and thus a response in relation to, a product or company.
The power of perception (a brand) can positively influence buying decision/s by:
Acquiring more loyal customers (who are happy to pay a premium price) is what many successful businesses strive for, and that’s what the marketing strategy called “branding” is all about.
How can your business benefit from this thing called branding?
Branding creates a brand – and you are branding your business or product whether you realise it or not. The question is “what perception are you allowing prospective customers to form, and is that perception costing you sales by giving them the wrong impression in relation to your competitors”?
High quality strategic branding creates competitive advantage by:
Branding can also deliver real internal benefits. It can play an important role in improving organisational culture and unity by:
And this, most importantly, fosters consistent projection of the intended brand externally.
Why do some think it’s a waste of time?
Sadly, many businesses take a reactionary approach to operating and building their business. Consequently, they never achieve the level of success that is attainable within their market. Many businesses are unaware of the benefits of strategic branding or the business lacks the time or skills to formulate well-engineered long-term plans and strategies. As branding falls into the longer-term category, it is often disregarded as too hard, too costly or even too boring!
Many business owners have no real understanding of branding and the impact it can have on the health of a business over time as well as immediately. They are often unaware of (or refuse to acknowledge) how “that airy-fairy branding stuff” impacts on themselves and others. Consequently they conclude that it’s of little or no value to their business.
But branding has been proven to be one of the most effective marketing strategies available to business, and it’s the smart businesses that make the investment in branding and put it to very good use.
So how do you create a brand?
A good place to start is by developing or clarifying your Brand Strategy or at least creating a solid Brand Foundation.
What is a themed brand identity?
A themed brand identity is a flexible “visual language” developed to represent the intended brand to the audience. A well-engineered theme delivers much more than visual consistency. A theme comprises a series of graphical and/or typographical devices to complement and support the logo in representing the intended brand intimately, accurately and effectively.
Why a themed identity?
Our goal is to generate the most value from every marketing opportunity, and from every marketing dollar you spend. A well-engineered theme creates a more powerful and effective communication platform which, in turn, delivers a higher return on marketing investment.
Actions speak louder than words. So if your branding is more professional, engaging and compelling than your competitors - all other things being equal - who do you think your target market is more likely to trust and buy from?
A theme is tirelessly working for you without you having to lift a finger – a passive “sales team” influencing customers before you’ve even spoken to them.
A well-crafted theme takes the effectiveness of brand identity to a whole new level.
How does it work?
A picture tells a thousand words, and it’s impossible to stop our minds from forming opinions of the things we see - it’s an in-built involuntary reaction. A theme works to generate a positive perception that is aligned with the first (and lasting) impression you want to create.
A theme communicates brand personality and attributes more effectively than the standard “photo, panel of colour and logo” approach. It generates a stronger affinity with, and confidence in, the product or company it represents.
After two decades of reviewing and refining our branding methodology, we have come to understand that a well-crafted theme is by far the most effective way to:
What is branding?
The creative services industry has a lot to answer for! Unfortunately there is a huge amount of confusion surrounding branding!
Much of the confusion stems from two scenarios: branding consultants with a limited understanding of marketing, and; advertising and marketing consultants with a limited understanding of branding. Consequently the industry has confused audiences by coining often self-contradictory buzz-words and using them superficially or out of context. Not surprisingly the marketplace is left confused and sceptical.
We have attempted to create some clarity through concise definitions within a consistent frame of reference – a difficult task given to the sheer volume of confusion and misunderstanding that surrounds the topic.
Our definition of branding is “the process of creating, maintaining, clarifying or changing a brand".
It’s as simple as that.
Branding encompasses much more than the visual realm. It’s the process of influencing the perception of a business or product, and any sensory experience can be used as a branding opportunity. Audible and emotional communication are very much part of the process, and can play a significant role in forming an impression of the company. In competitive environments, or to position themselves as an industry leader, smart businesses harness the impact of all interactions with consumers to differentiate themselves from their competitors and influence consumer perception.
Some interactions or “touch-points” will have a greater impact than others, and some companies decide to sacrifice certain branding opportunities to meet real or self-imposed budgetary constraints. Better to implement some level of strategic branding than none at all.
What is a brand?
Our goal is to create some clarity through concise and consistent definitions - if not for the entire marketplace, then at least for our own clients.
A “Brand”: The perception of a company, its subsidiaries, and/or its product/s in the minds of the audience.
In an effort to reconcile the idea of branding an object or entity with a mark or name, many consultants refer to our definition of Brand as “Brand Image”. By our definition, names and logos are not brands, and an object cannot be branded - a logo is not a piece of red hot metal.
Adding a logo or brand identity to something is not branding that thing, and referring to a product or company as a “brand” only adds to the confusion. Rather, “branding” can be used to create or alter the “brand” of a product or organisation.
Branding + Interaction/Experience => Brand.
Why the confusion - where does it come from?
The process of “branding” animals with a mark of ownership was a concept adopted by manufacturers of yesteryear to identify their products. However, branding has evolved from its origins of signifying ownership into a higher-level marketing strategy. To the point that a brand that signifies ownership, and a brand as a perception, have very different meanings. Both exist, but they are far from being the same.
Today, branding is concerned with creating a perception in the minds of consumers rather than displaying an identifying mark or promoting a name. The problem is that the branding “frame of reference” - the collective understanding - and related terminology have not been suitably redefined to reflect the fundamental changes to what a brand is and how it is created. Thus the common confusion between a logo or name and a brand.
This was published by a reputable Australian marketing company:
“What is a brand? Marketers engaged in branding seek to develop or align the expectations behind the brand experience, creating the impression that a brand associated with a product or service has certain qualities or characteristics that make it special or unique. A brand image may be developed by attributing a ‘personality’ to or associating an ‘image’ with a product or service, whereby the personality or image is ‘branded’ into the consciousness of consumers.”
This is a typical example of superficial attempts by “experts” at a definition that actually gives no clear definition at all. At least this consultant does refer to “creating and impression”, but contradictory concepts and terms create ambiguity and confusion. Why is this so common? Most likely due to a poorly-defined understanding of the topic - they are attempting to reconcile incompatible concepts.
Some branding experts certainly appear to be confused. One such consultancy states on their website that “perception creates brand experience”. I say experiences create perception.
Splitting hairs? It is superficiality and confusion at this foundational level that builds a very inconsistent and fractured understanding of branding that crumbles when put under the pressure of scrutiny. Incompatible concepts and a lack of clear definitions have exploded into an epidemic of confusion and ambiguity such that even industry “experts” regularly contradict themselves with the terms they use. I sincerely hope this is not true of me also, although I’ve been just as indoctrinated as the rest of you, so it is possible!
This is a journey of clarification that perhaps has not reached the destination just yet, but I’m confident that we are heading in the right direction.
Our goal is to create some clarity through concise and consistent definitions. If not for the entire marketplace, then at least for our own clients.
The perception of a company, its subsidiaries, and/or its product/s in the minds of the audience.
The cognitive sum of sensory and emotional experiences. A perception can be conscious and/or subconscious.
The process of creating, maintaining, strengthening or changing a brand.
All visual devices/communication used to:
The commercial functions involved in transferring goods from producer to consumer.
A clear strategy is critical to the success of any strategic manoeuvre, and forming a brand is no different. A brand strategy clearly and concisely documents the fundamental thinking that defines the essence of the [intended] brand. It also addresses important business management issues like branding architecture, and marketing consideration such as market segmentation and messaging. All components are explained when we meet with you to discuss your specific business scenario and needs.
Brand strategy components
Through a series of workshops with the executive management team or the business owners, Luminosity will guide you through the process of creating a marketing road map that defines your intended brand and fosters a united branding front across all business functions and throughout the organisation as a whole. The workshops cover the six components of a brand strategy, each comprising sub-components.
To maximise branding consistency and recognition, thus strengthening the brand, your brand strategy document should become the reference point for every branding initiative. Your brand strategy will be used to inform the development of your brand identity and all expressions of the brand - website, signage, brochures, advertising, expo stands etc. - created by Luminosity.
Brand identity components:
After a briefing interview to clarify and identify your specific needs and objectives, the relevant components will be developed to create a targeted Brand identity for your business.