Understanding your brand and making it strong make all the difference in your marketing efforts—and ultimately, your bottom line. This article will teach you all the basics so you can start mastering your branding.
The 3 main elements of a brand
But what exactly is meant by a “strong brand”? A lot of people get a logo made, put it on a business card or website, and feel like they have a strong brand.
This is not having a strong brand. Let me repeat this: simply having a logo does not equal a strong brand. A logo can be a part of your brand, but it can’t do all the work.
Branding is the intentional way that you convey what your business does, how it does it, and what makes it different. Branding is ultimately how people perceive your business.
Your brand is made up of three main parts—your brand platform, brand messaging and visual identity. Your brand platform is what guides your company internally. It includes your business’s values, positioning, story, mission statement, vision statement, business name, and motto or tag line. These items set you up to make good consistent choices for the direction of your company and your branding.
Your brand messaging is how you convey what you do to your audience. Brand messaging includes the problem you solve, the perspective you take on it, and your purpose (why you do what you do and why it matters).
Your visual identity includes everything your audience sees. It does include your logo, but the colors, typography, images and graphics you choose also play a part. Visual identity is what people most commonly think of when they refer to branding. However, the visual identity actually just supports your brand platform and your brand messaging. Overall, your brand platform is the brains of the operation, your brand messaging is what you say, and your visual identity is what you look like.
The 4 qualities of a strong brand
Now that we know what a brand consists of, let’s talk about what makes it strong. The hallmarks of a strong brand include consistency, cohesiveness, communication, and clarity.
Being consistent means that you show up on a regular basis and do what your brand says it does. Showing up means that you provide consistent service, products, and content.
Being cohesive means that your brand platform, brand messaging, and visual identity support each other. When this happens, your audience (read: potential clients) learns what to expect from you.
Communication means that you converse meaningfully with your audience. You should talk to them in a natural way and get their input on what they need and want from you.
And finally and most importantly, everything needs to be clear. All of the branding work you are doing will be in vain if it’s not easy for your audience to understand.
To help you get started, here’s a free workbook that will give you guidance on how to figure out each of these parts for your own business. It’s broken down into daily prompts so you can work on it a little at a time.
Knowing and understanding your brand is the foundation of being memorable to your target audience. As you work through this workbook, remember the words of Steve Jobs, who was arguably the greatest branding genius to live: “The chance to make a memory is the essence of brand marketing.” Now go be memorable!