Branding is often misinterpreted as a just a logo design, business card or nowadays, as a website.
In reality, Branding is an experience.
I have come across numerous business owners who are all set to make an entry into the market, but they are not sure that whether they are marketing or creating a brand for their product.
So firstly we need to discuss what branding encompasses, small business branding in particular, and later we will discuss how to seize the opportunities.
What is Branding for the user?
Web site design, the business logo and colour scheme – If you think that designing an aesthetically pleasant website, and picking out the best hues or designing the most appropriate logo for a website are the steps which you need as the lighthouse for branding, then I must say that you are highly mistaken.
Being highly active on social media platforms is what you need for branding yourself and your website as this will help to carve a niche.
You need to improve your SERP viability and go for rigorous advertisement campaigns.
If you think branding as all the aforementioned techniques then you must fire your fact checker or strategy makers as this is not what branding is.
How will we distinguish between Branding and Marketing?
There are many people who confuse the differences between marketing and branding.
Marketing is obviously a strategy which is used to promote your business in order to gain returns.
In this strategy, you make use of tools such as PPC, SEO, mobile, social media and numerous methods such as pamphlets, signboards etc. to make your brand available to the users.
Wherein, branding is quite different from it as it is the culture and is a message about your brand which helps to disseminate your business.
Then, what is Branding?
In relation to the above statements, it is important to give you a definition of Branding.
On that note, it should also be stated that a designer cannot “make” a brand – only the audience can do this. A designer constructs the foundation of the brand.
Why is Branding important?
Branding holds much more gravity in business than we probably think, therefore there is a lot of written discourse over branding.
So, in essence, a ‘brand’ is a service or product which is personified as per the perceptions of the users/viewers.
This statement automatically raises eyebrows as now users are in charge of the complete brand formation and a designer has no role in it.
This is not so, as designers are the ones which lay the edifice of building human branding.
Understanding the Mechanics of Consumer Memory
Consumer’s memory and the level of their attention plays a crucial role in the proper branding strategy of your business.
Seeking the attention of the audience in return depends on the emotional connection and engagement factor your brand has – and it scientifically can be calculated by measuring the timing of the rhythms of neurons.
Furthermore, there is also a life span of every kind of memory, short memories have a life span of some milliseconds, but there are memories which last for hours, days or even several years, called long-term memories.
When it comes to creating memory, it needs several interconnected activities in several parts of the brain.
Which means in branding a company you cannot use just one advertisement – you need to create a memory space in users mind using a series of interconnected actions.
Scientifically speaking, there are different types of neurons for processing specific information.
The flow of information takes place when one neuron sends a message to the other and this is what which makes the memory more fixed in the brain.
This is similar to practice, the more you will practice a particular subject, the more proficient you will grow in it.
Likewise, the more signals you send, the stronger the connection will grow.
We can deduce that a memory space is created via recognition, but in order to increase the time span of the existence of a memory comes just by repeating the process again and again.
The more we experience a particular thing the more we tend to remember it.
As a product branding leader, what you need to do is carve your brand into the long term memory of your customers.
Once you have done that, it is easy to make it stay there for a long time.
After the recognition test, it was seen that imagery and sounds which were important were recognised even after many decades.
This is certainly applicable to your brand with the message you want to deliver.
There are several elements attached to a brand, and after breaking these elements, the brain starts to make a visual pattern and recall the previous experience encountered which is stored in the memory earlier.
When a human brain watches something, it immediately tries to recall the memory so as find out whether they have had an experience prior to this.
In order to rectify it, a test of MRI was conducted at ISMAI and the Technical University of Lisbon, in which they showed a group of logos (real and fictitious) to the users and then they noted their brains activity from MRI.
After watching the real logos the additional part which contributes to the memory of the brain was activated, wherein it did not happen when the fictitious one were shown.
This reveals that the memory connections are built by repetitive exposure to the brand.
Adding on to this there was another test of MRI, which revealed that familiar brands also account to initiate signal of biological reward further activating the dopamine system which augments motivation and pleasure sensors.
How to know that your Brand experience design has occupied the long term memory?
In order to know that whether your brand has occupied a long term memory slot in user memory, you need to carry an audit.
As this is a common affair in marketing which is carried by analysing elements such brand imagery, strategy, adherence received across different places and channels.
This stereotypical process does not focus much on matters pertaining to the memory of the users.
In order to focus on memory you can follow the following steps:
Stage 1 – Keep a track of the customer’s journey
In order to make an audit of your brand keeping memories as the centre stage, you need to start with consumer understanding.
You need to know about your users’ background, their likings and their intention to purchase your brand.
This will further lead you to follow the more generic process of spreading awareness, purchase, and repurchase, or it can further be moulded into a specific interaction stages and sales cycles.
Stage 2 – Make a connection with the user’s lifecycle and their memory
There is no gainsaying that managers do test awareness of branding, which helps to understand the ability our brand has to set foot in customers memory.
But what we actually miss is the ability to get those instantaneous moments that occur daily which evokes the identity of a brand.
Hit the iron when it is hot!
You need to understand that there are various factors which affect the mindset of users through every decision-making phase of the purchasing lifecycle.
You need to know their mindset as soon as they come down to you to purchase a product.
You need to know their comparative analysis and why they have opted for you and left your competitor.
What are the units which embark on a purchasing process.
Here you need to understand what all sentiments evoke a customer to start making a purchase.
Stage 3 – How to deliver indelible imprint of your brand
Ideas are easy, implementation is hard
Guy Kawasaki, cofounder of Alltop.
This whole analysis will help you to find out what effect you need to create for your audience so as to persuade them to purchase from you.
After gathering all the information, you need to systematically arrange it in order to leave an indelible imprint of your product or service.
What is the right way to Brand?
Before jumping into the marketing phase of branding, you need to consider certain branding prerequisites.
To begin with, you need to answer some of the most rudimentary questions behind your product or service.
There are a few things you need to think about before planning your online marketing strategies, such as:
- Make a clear plot of your existence: The very first step is to elaborate the reason for your existence. You need to jot down a mission and vision for yourself.
- Select your means of spreading knowledge: The next step is to know in which sector you aim to provide valued services. This will help you to know your genre of your brand and will help you to come up with luminary values, messages and ideas for branding.
- Cultivate a conducive work culture: It is necessary to cultivate a conducive work culture and more importantly speak about it in public. The culture you possess helps you to foster a good brand image.
- Share what you have to offer: This is the phase of branding where you need to manoeuvre in order to market your brand. Here you need to spread your brand and create a need to use it.
Author Bio: Samuel Dawson is an expert in Designs2html Ltd – a psd to html service company. He has done a lot of research on the aspects of logo design and Branding design.
If you wish to discuss how we can develop your brand or provide graphic design for your product or business, email us at: [email protected]
Inkbot Design is a Creative Branding Agency that is passionate about effective Graphic Design, Brand Identity, Logos and Web Design.