What Branding Isn’t

Branding is more than putting lipstick on a pig

As important as branding is to your marketing strategy, it’s often misunderstood. And rightly so — as more of an idea than a deliverable, it can be a little hard to define. So instead, let’s look first at what it isn’t.

Branding isn’t your logo

As one component of your brand identity, your logo helps to visually identify and differentiate you. While it says a lot about who you are as a company, it doesn’t — and shouldn’t — say everything. Think of your logo like your face — it’s an important part of who you are, but it doesn’t tell the whole story.

Branding isn’t your identity

Your brand identity combines visual representations of your company (logo, imagery, color palette, etc.) with messaging about your company. Brand identity is the story you want people to hear, told consistently through your marketing collateral, website, packaging, stationery, business cards, etc. Think of it like makeup or clothing — it helps you express your personality, but it doesn’t define it.

Branding isn’t something you can force

Kale is good for you. It’s high in vitamins, packed with antioxidants, and supports heart health. But if you don’t like kale, none of that matters. Similarly, if people don’t buy into your brand story, they’re not going to buy from you. And that brings us back around to what branding is.

So what is branding?

It’s the emotional reaction your logo and identity elicit in your audience. It’s made up of their collective memories, impressions and perceptions of your company over time. The best branding happens when your audience’s emotional reaction matches the brand promise created by your logo and identity. That’s why when we do branding projects, we start by identifying your mission, vision, values and what makes you unique — it’s so much easier to get people to believe in your brand when you tell them the truth about it.

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