What Is Branding?

What Is Branding?

The term "branding" has become omnipresent. You’ve likely seen content pop up on social media or heard a friend or family member discuss how they’re “rebranding their business.” The term branding is used to describe everything from logos and slogans to corporate identity and reputation. But what exactly is branding, and why does it matter?

Defining Branding

Branding is the strategic process of creating, implementing, and managing a unique identity for a product, service, company, or individual. At its core, branding is the art and science of creating and shaping perceptions. It encompasses a company's entire identity – its values, messaging, visual elements, and reputation – all crafted to resonate with its target audience. Branding creates an emotional connection between a business and its customers, cultivating loyalty, trust, and recognition in the process.

Personal vs. Corporate Branding

Corporate branding is the process of creating and managing the identity of a company, organization, or product. It involves establishing a distinctive visual and verbal identity, defining core values and messaging, and shaping the overall reputation and perception of the entity in the eyes of its target audience. Corporate branding aims to build trust, credibility, and recognition in the marketplace.

On the other hand, personal branding revolves around the deliberate effort of individuals to shape how they are perceived by others, both personally and professionally. It involves defining and communicating one's unique skills, expertise, values, and personality traits to establish a distinct identity and reputation. 

In general, corporate brands represent organizations, products, or services. Where personal brands revolve around individuals. Personal branding involves the intentional effort to shape how others perceive you, whether personally or professionally. While corporate brands often focus on scale and reach, personal brands are more intimate, rooted in an individual's personality, expertise, and values. Whereas corporate brands may not be as personal as their target market is traditionally on a larger scale.

The Purpose of Branding

When we think of branding, we automatically think of the perfectly curated logo and colour palette. In reality, a brand encompasses the entirety of a brand's visual essence and personality. This includes typography and font choice, colour palette, logo and word mark, tone and voice, photography style, and packaging. Brick-and-mortar stores also consider store design, customer service representative appearance, and can even get as granular as lighting and radio music. At its core, branding serves to differentiate.

Why does one person choose to shop at Whole Foods over Save-On-Foods? Likely because Whole Foods brands itself in a way that resonates with that person. Maybe they eat a vegan diet and, because of Whole Foods's dark green logo, signature paper bags (our fellow Vancouverites will remember Save-On's branded plastic bags), and woody earth tones throughout their stores, assume Whole Foods will have more plant based options.

This is the purpose of strong branding. The person may not necessarily be conscious of the way branding influencers their purchasing patterns, but branding influences them regardless. Branding provides a means of standing out amidst the noise. It creates a distinct identity that sets a company or individual apart from competitors, allowing them to carve out a unique space in the minds of consumers.

The Rise of Brand Storytelling

These days, consumers have options when choosing to buy products or services from brands. Simply offering a quality product or service is no longer enough to capture attention. Enter brand storytelling – the art of weaving narratives that resonate with audiences on a deeper level.

Storytelling allows brands to connect with consumers on an emotional level, forging lasting bonds built on shared values and experiences.

Go Forth And Brand

Branding is a powerful tool for companies and individuals alike. Whether crafting a corporate identity or cultivating a personal brand, branding can shape perceptions, foster connections, and differentiate in a crowded marketplace

As competition continues to grow, the importance of telling a compelling brand story has never been greater, offering a pathway to relevance, resonance, and enduring success.

Check out some recent branding work we’ve done at Good Commerce here.

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