What is Branding?
One one hand, branding is simple. It’s your logo and colors and fonts and the visual assets that make up your visual identity. It’s the clothes of your brand. But as with clothing and fashion, it’s never just turquoise.
Your brand is the compilation of all points of engagement a customer or client might have with your business. So in this sense, your brand is most definitely the visual identity and logo that customers first see. But your brand is also how your customers feel when they engage with your business or service starting from the moment they learn you exist.
Branding is everything.
Your brand is also internal. In a world filled with social media where people feel quite comfortable sharing their experiences, this means how your current and ex-employees feel about your business effects your brand perception.
As a fun exercise, here is a quick brain dump of parts of your business that impact how your brand is viewed:
Social Media Posts
Your Mission / Vision / Values
Your Sale Cycle
Your return policy
Your packaging design
What your packaging is made of
What nonprofits you publicly support
Your parental leave
Your onboarding process
Your employee handbook
Your employee benefits
Your loyalty program
Your marketing campaigns
The models in your photos
The models not in your photos
How your customer learns about you?
TikTok, Facebook, Fox News, Instagram, referral, cold email?
You get the point. Branding is everything.
At the very least it should be used a guide when making all business decisions. This is why it’s important to start thinking of your brand now. When you build your brand into the foundation of your business you are able to more easily answer core operational questions such as “What initiatives are current top priorities? What technologies should we be implementing? What conversations can we be positioned as thought leaders?” that all aid you in cementing your brand perception.
Because we love examples at UnderBelly Creative here are a few ways we’ve used our brand to help us when making business decisions:
After the decision was leaked to overturn Roe v. Wade we quickly decided to offer 30 hours of pro-bono services to any organization that was fighting for reproductive rights. As a brand and business that historically had taken a stance, the decision was a no-brainer.
We believe in continuous education and transparency which means that we are very open with all of our processes, systems, tools, and practices to help other designers and creatives grow. You can say we don’t really believe in ‘trade secrets’.