You need brand personality. No doubt about it. But what does it actually mean? And how does one achieve it? Well, if you’ve clicked this article you’re on a good way to find out. Let’s start from the very beginning.
Branding vs Marketing
To set up the ground for further discussion, we need to first explain the meaning of these two fundamental concepts that are often confused with one another. Naturally, they are connected, but at the same time they serve completely different purposes.
Brand is what makes you distinctly you. Your company’s name, logo, colors, fonts. The visual part is so important here, because this is what people remember, often unconsciously. They see your logo and know what to expect. That is exactly the goal of branding.
Branding also includes your company’s values and message. A catchy slogan that embodies the company’s personality will stay with customers for a long time, building a link between you and your clients. Brand is a general vibe that your company has and that people, hopefully, enjoy. Its purpose is to create long-term, trusting and loyal relationships with customers.
In order to identify your brand, ask yourself this question: What will you deliver?
If this is the first time you’re dealing with conscious branding, it might be a little difficult to answer straight away. If that’s the case, here are some additional questions that will help you figure out your brand’s characteristics:
- What are you?
- What makes you unique?
- What do you want to achieve?
- What do you value?
Marketing, on the other hand, is the way in which your brand reaches the customers. It’s the products and services that you sell and how you sell them. It includes advertising, promotions, campaigns, leads, channels of communication. Marketing’s purpose is to increase sales. That’s why it’s focused on specific products and services, rather than the overall image of the company. But these two things need to be consistent in order for customers to trust you, your brand and your products. Branding builds its credibility on the quality of your commodity.
The question that identifies marketing would be: How will you deliver?
You can also ask yourself these additional questions:
- How are you unique?
- How are you communicating?
- How are you growing your business?
- How are you writing?
How Starbucks uses branding to lure you in?
To make the difference between branding and marketing clear, as well as better explain both terms, here’s an example:
Let’s say you’re a regular customer of Starbucks. Why? You enjoy sitting in their stationary cafes, because you like the distinct, modern-looking interior design that is characteristic of their locals. That’s branding.
Or maybe you like the fact that they write your name on your cup, sometimes even adding a little smiley face or a heart-shaped drawing? That’s also branding. It makes you associate Starbucks with a familiar, friendly atmosphere and gives every order a personal touch.
What about the logo? You’re walking down the street that you’ve never walked before. The surroundings are unfamiliar to you. But then you notice the unique logo that cannot be mistaken with anything else. A green background with an artwork of a siren, a mythological creature that lures sailors with singing. As soon as you see this logo, you know what company it is. And you call by for a coffee, suddenly feeling much more familiar on this unfamiliar street. You know that the coffee will be good. It’s Starbucks, after all. That’s exactly how branding works.
However, it wouldn’t make much sense to create the whole brand, if there were no products and services to sell behind it. After all, selling coffee is the main point of it all. And that is where marketing enters the game. Let’s say you see an advertisement of a new Starbucks seasonal coffee flavor. However, it’s not yet available, unless you download the application and order the coffee through it. The app comes with more benefits. It allows you to add money to your Starbucks Card, place orders, pay with your mobile at any Starbucks Store. What is more, for every order you will receive Stars that can be later exchanged for free coffee or free additions to your drink.
So, what are you doing? If you download the app and become a Starbucks Member, the marketing tactics that the company is using will be proven effective. Promotions, special offers, loyalty programs, they are all created to gain leads, and eventually increase sales. That’s the main goal of marketing.
But can marketing exist without branding? If you entered a random coffee shop on your way to work, would you bother downloading their app? Would you even notice this coffee shop in the first place? Maybe you would. Maybe not. Chances are too low to be satisfying. That’s why you need branding.
What comes first – the chicken or the egg?
The riddle of branding-marketing relationship at first can seem as unsolvable as the old as time question about the chicken and the egg. One comes from the other, and together they create an unbreakable cycle. To create a consistent brand you need to know who you are and sell products accordingly. But what you sell is who you are. You can’t sell cars, but create your brand around living room furniture. It wouldn’t make any sense. And to gain trust of your customers, you want to make sense. That’s why branding and marketing are intertwined and should be both present in your strategies. One cannot exist without considering the other.
But you have to start somewhere, don’t you? What comes first – branding or marketing?
Luckily, this riddle is not as endless as the chicken and the egg. In fact, we can solve it straight away: You always start from branding.
Branding is a long-term thing. It seeps into your customers’ consciousness, grows on them, gradually becoming an integral part of their everyday reality. On the other hand, marketing is ever changing, according to the current situation. It’s flexible, adjustable, and iterative. If branding is the sea, marketing would be all of the currents that flow through it, changing in intensity and direction, depending on the season, weather, part of the day, etc. But in order for currents to flow, first there must be the sea.
That’s why branding comes first. If you want to sell effectively, you must first know the very basis of your brand. What are your values, goals and messages? How do you want to show yourself to the customers? What are your priorities? To prepare great commercial offers and apply accurate marketing tactics, you must first know and understand your own brand inside out. Only then can you integrate the both sides of this discussion, and let branding and marketing go hand in hand towards your success.
The structure of branding
Now that we already know what branding is and what is its relationship with marketing, time to talk a little bit about branding’s structure and the elements that it should include.
We’ve already covered the most obvious part of branding – the visuals. Unique name, logo, colors, and overall visual identity are essential if you want to engrave your brand into customers’ minds. They might not remember what exact types of coffee Starbucks sells, but if they see the green logo across the street, they will know what kind of place it is. That’s how powerful branding is. But the visual part is just the tip of the iceberg. Quite literally.
Look at this graphic created by Lina Mass:
The visible stuff that you create for your brand is great, no doubt about it. But it’s not floating in a vacuum. It’s sprouting from a solid foundation, hidden underwater. This foundation is built out of values and beliefs. It’s your brand’s personality and its story. It gives you a certain substance and meaning that is necessary for your brand to be trustworthy. Without it, the pretty visible elements would be just empty shells, hollow and unconvincing. So, before you start creating promotional materials and choosing fancy fonts, focus on the basis of your brand. Once you’ve got it figured out, it will guide you towards the top of your iceberg.
A voice to speak
To communicate with your customers, you need a voice. But how does your voice sound? In what shape, form and tone do your messages come across? How do you connect with the audience? Your brand’s voice should define the answers to these questions.
Communication with customers is where your brand’s personality shines through. It should be unique and compatible with the other aspects of your outside presence. Here are questions to help you figure out your brand’s means of communication:
- How does your brand talk to people?
- How do your customers talk to people?
- What adjective would you give your brand?
While establishing your brand’s voice, the biggest help that you receive will be from your audience itself. Who are they? What language do they speak? Is it casual or formal? Is it humorous or serious? Focus on your target audience’s personality and craft your own voice around it.
And remember – you can’t serve everyone. Focus on the groups that you want to get across to and build your brand’s voice for them, so that they can understand and enjoy listening to you.
The power of storytelling
Imagine you’re at a bookstore. You wander around the bookshelves, not sure of what you’re actually looking for. Eventually, one book catches your eye. The cover artwork and the title are intriguing enough to make you grab the book and open it, even though you’ve never heard of this piece before. You skim through the first page and it’s fresh, it’s interesting, it’s captivating. You walk out of the store with the newly-bought book in your hand.
This book is your brand. Notice that for the client, especially if the brand is new, there are a few different factors that contribute to their decision of making a purchase. First, the brand must catch their attention. That’s the job for your tip of the iceberg branding. Colors, fonts, logo, artwork, interesting package. Every visual aspect that makes your product stand out and appear unique. It makes the customer stop in their tracks and take your book in their hands.
But then they open the book to see if the inside is as interesting as the outside. And that’s where storytelling steps onto the stage. Its purpose is to hold the customer’s attention for long enough to convince them to buy your product or service and, preferably, even after that moment. Storytelling is about creating relationships between your brand and the audience.
How to do that? What story should your brand tell? Well, there is one thing people love to listen about. And it’s not the history of your brand, nor is it your plans and ambitions. It’s themselves. People love to listen to stories about themselves, stories that are relatable and personal to them. That’s why, in order to craft powerful storytelling, you must focus on the client, their struggles, ambitions and things that bring them joy. Make them feel like the main character. They will buy your book in a blink of an eye.
So, why do you need good branding?
We hope that you’ve already found the answer to this question in the above article, but in case you’re just skimming through it, here is the answer:
Branding is the most effective way to create long-term, loyal relationships with customers. You want your products to be memorable and easily recognizable. With unique brand visuals, values, and storytelling, you will effectively engrave into your customers minds and hearts, gaining their trust. People like things that are familiar to them. Make your brand one of these things. Become a part of their everyday landscape. And watch your brand grow. Good luck!