Understanding the answer to what is a brand will help you lay a rock solid brand foundation that connects with your audience, builds trust with your community and supports your version of success.
The definition of a brand can be such an ambiguous question and if you were to ask five different branding professionals, I’m willing to bet you’d receive five different answers. But, that in and of itself is part of branding – the answers are unique to the respondent, just like your business’s communication style is unique to your business.
In this article
What is a brand?
Before we dive into Witt and Company’s definition of a brand, let’s get one thing clear: a logo is not your brand. In fact, I feel so strongly about this one that I dedicated an entire post to it.
Now that we’ve crossed that hurdle, here’s my take on what a brand is: A brand is how people think, feel and act in regards to your business.
How you actually get people to think, feel and act towards your brand is through a combination of brand elements.
What are the elements that make up a brand?
I like to think about the components of a brand as broken up into two distinct categories: the visuals and the strategy.
The brand visuals include:
- Logo and logo variations
- Color scheme
- Font selection
- Photography style
The brand strategy includes:
- Business vision
- Ideal client
- Brand values
- Client transformation
- Brand story
- Brand message
- Brand positioning
- Brand promise
- Brand purpose
- Voice and communication style
An effective brand can’t exist without both components. The strategy guides the design and when they’re both created with intention, you end up with a strong brand experience that supports your business and vision.
Why is it important for your business to have a brand?
Every brand provides an experience, tells a story. The businesses that truly make an impact on their community are the ones that build a loyal following. Loyalty starts with trust. And the way we maximize trust-building as business owners is to provide a cohesive experience, to tell a consistent story.
An inconsistent brand means the receiver doesn’t have a seamless encounter. The outcome isn’t the same from one touch point to the other. And when the experiences don’t match, it causes confusion and distrust.
Now, let’s get one thing clear here. It’s not about being perfect. Or appearing to be perfect. Providing a good brand experience doesn’t mean one without mistakes or imperfections. Rather, it’s about showing up as consistently and cohesively as you can so that you can build trust with your community.
I KNOW you know the value of trust. It is everything for a business owner. Because at the end of the day, people do not invest their time, energy, money and resources into a brand they do not trust.
So, how do you create a brand for your business?
When I think about the essential elements of what makes a great brand, four overarching pillars really stick out to me. In fact, they’re the framework that I walk through with every single branding client.
The four brand pillars are:
- Who you serve: This is your ideal client. That perfect-for-you person that your brand is positioned to attract and influence.
- Why you serve: This is why you believe in your work and why you show up for your business.
- How you show up: This is how you want people to think and feel when they experience your brand.
- What you do: This is what you’re offering and the problem you solve.
Together, these four parts create a solid foundation for your brand to effectively support your business and your version of success.
A brand is fluid.
It’s important to remember and always keep in mind that your brand can evolve. It is not something that is set-in-stone. However, when you spend the time to create a solid brand foundation, it tends to grow with you and evolve in a more fluid manner. Meaning, the next time you want or need to make a pivot, you won’t have to start from scratch because you already have a brand baseline.
For example, the company Screw the Nine to Five, made a big shift in their business the fall of 2019 by closing their Facebook group, The Screw (which had several thousand members) to pursue a new direction in their business. What didn’t change was the core of their brand: to help people quit their 9-5 and create a business around their lifestyle.
When you realize no one single brand element holds all the weight, my hope is the pressure eases a bit. You realize that picking the perfect font pairing will not make-or-break your business success. That updating your website colors for the millionth time will not, in fact, secure a client.
It’s when you put all the brand elements together that you create a truly unique brand experience that differentiates you among others in your industry, space or category.
And before I sign off, here’s my shameless plug: There is SO MUCH value in getting an outside perspective and support. If you’re ready to invest in your own brand, grab my services guide and set up a quick discovery call to see if it’s a good fit!
All my best,
Additional Brand Resources
Looking for support on getting clear on your ideal client? Click here for seven questions to gain clarity.
Want to identify your brand values? Click here to learn how they help guide business decisions.
Ready to understand your client’s transformation? Click here to get clear on what you’re really delivering clients.
Struggling with your brand’s message? Click here to learn about why your message is falling flat.
Need to improve the graphics you share? Click here for five ways to upgrade your visuals.
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