What Makes a Brand?

The question of ‘What makes a brand?’ kinda feels like the question ‘What comes first: the chicken or the egg?’ Branding isn’t a singular thing. I like to think of it more like the string that pulls and holds a quilt together. If you have a darker sense of thought like me, you could also view it as the silk that makes a spider web. And if you’re looking for yet another analogy, think of it like baking a cake. It requires the right tools and fabic, anchor and radius threads, and the right tools/ingredients to bake a cake.

The biggest component to a brand is the strategy. Without a strategy or without understanding the fundamentals of your business, your brand will be confusing, it won’t connect with people and it will not grow. If it does grow without a strategy, it’ll be chaotic AF and you’ll want to be punching things.

For starters, here are some key components on what makes a brand:

  1. Strategy
    You need to have a strategy to build your brand. This can be long-term or short-term but likely it’ll be both. Have goals and a vision to your business. By having goals for your business, you have better focus and guidelines to help you create content and marketing strategies for said goals.
  2. Design
    Logo, website, print, digital, and everything in-between. Your designs should be consistent. If it’s not consistent with your brand, i.e. you’re using 50 different fonts, random stock imagery that has nothing to do with your business/clientele and random colors that ‘fit your mood for the day’ is a sad day for your brand. People should be able to place your designs next to each other and be able to see a connection between them all.

  3. Visuals
    Photography, design, social media, websites, store design(s) etc. Your visuals need to make sense. When you walk into a brick-and-mortar store, the placement of their products and window displays are not by accident. They’re with purpose, they relate to their brand and they’re put there to provide an experience. To help guide the customer from browser to buyer.

  4. Content
    This is your voice. The tone, how you talk and how people hear what your brand is saying. If you’re sound like a toddler one day, grandma the next followed by an adolescent teen boy – your brand is going to sound like a shape shifter which is not a good thing.

  5. Audience/People
    Your market! Your brand involves a market. You need to have this and have an audience. If you don’t have this then your business won’t last, because you aren’t going to be getting any profit or monies.

  6. Marketing
    What is marketing? It’s everything or anything that helps get the word out about your business. Email, social media, website, ads, print ads, billboards, events, networking, mailers, Facebook groups, courses, podcasts, speaking events, brand merch (shirts, hats, clothes, any item with your logo on it). Just to name a few.

  7. Environment
    The space that you’re inviting your audience into. This can be a physical store location as well as a digital location. Your website is a digital version of your online store. Your social media profiles are a representation of your brand. How are you representing your business and how do you want your viewers/customers to feel?

  8. Senses
    If you’re a natural brand, having paper that’s soft to the touch, linen or has that organic feel to it will have an impact on your clients. How your clients touch your products, the music you play in your store (or use on socials), the scents you in your store and how they digest your brand is all a part of the experience.

  9. Connection
    1-9 is what’s going to help build on connection and relationships for you and your audience. Connect. Be a person. Understand your people and genuinely try to show up for them.

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