Branding is complex — it’s the one task that must encompass promises you make to your customers, how you will deliver on those promises and how customers value your products. It involves a lot of moving parts and solid alignment between copy and design. Those who are not exposed to the intricacies of branding may, understandably, simplify the process and make assumptions about its true purpose. So let’s try to squash those common misconceptions and explain the realities of branding.
This is a very common misconception, as logos are visual elements that exist at nearly every consumer touchpoint: website, packaging, social channels, etc. Logos are familiar to consumers, and they may become the first thing that pops up when thinking about a company’s brand. But a brand reaches far beyond a logo. A logo is more of a visual representation of the overall brand, an icon that communicates the overarching brand message and evokes similar emotions. It works both ways: brands are not totally complete without a logo, and a logo is never a complete brand.
If your company works by this belief, your brand will suffer. It is every employee’s responsibility to understand, support and represent the brand, and doing so will improve consistency and therefore brand equity. For example, if the Marketing department is pushing for a brand that listens to its customers and provides services based on what they want, but then the customer service isn’t up to par, the two departments are not aligned and the brand lacks consistency. This will affect the authenticity of the brand and ultimately how consumers view your brand and your company. Make sure everyone in your organization is prepared and empowered to be a brand advocate, and remember that consistency is key.
While the two are closely aligned and certainly work together, branding and marketing are not the same thing. Branding represents what you want your consumers to understand about your company and product. It’s the overall messaging regarding promises you’ll deliver your customers. Marketing focuses on how you’ll get those messages out to your customers.
What do consumers tend to rely on most when making a purchasing decision — emotion or logic? It may surprise you, but the answer is emotion. Brands express an idea that consumers can relate to. So your company can (and should!) provide a stellar product or service, excellent customer service and appropriate pricing, but without a strong brand, something would still be missing. You need a brand in place to engage customers, evoke positive emotions and differentiate your company from your competitors. Never underestimate the ability of an effective brand to attract, influence and retain loyal customers.
Have you witnessed these branding misconceptions? Do you know of others? Share your thoughts in the comments below!