Branding is typically thought of as developing a name or a logo for a company or product (service). However, branding is much broader and includes brand strategy, brand identity, brand management and the brand experience. Here we will cover quick basics of branding so that you can understand all the elements of brand creation. We’ll also explain the importance of branding as it relates to customer brand perception.

1. Brand strategy relates to customer and market insight, positioning, product definition, brand hierarchy, and platform; brand strategy serves as the foundation to brand identity, management and experience.

2. Brand identity is all visual (and verbal) elements including name (trademarks), logo, messaging, graphic themes (including color), taglines and messages, and standards or guidelines.

3. Brand management is the planning and administration of all aspects of brand marketing including launch, training, assets and tools, monitoring brand usage, and assessing brand (awareness, equity, preference).

4. Brand experience is all communications, interactions with your company or product, from advertising to telephone messages, signage to websites. Branding is one of the most critical marketing decisions you can make, and a decision that effects all other marketing.

So why is branding important? A customer’s brand perception is the sum of all brand experiences; positive perceptions lead to brand preference, commanding premiums, and driving financial success.

Brand strategy, implementation and management differ for established versus new brands or new products. For established brands, the brand name and visual identity of your company or product is your most valuable marketing asset. Corporate brands like  Apple Inc. or consumer brands like Coca-Cola Company, Nike and the like come to mind.

Along with these names or trademarks are visual identities. For example, color palettes like ‘Tiffany Blue’ after robin’s egg blue or T-Mobile’s Magenta, logos and various graphic elements. You can learn more about other companies who trademark colors to communicate their brand image. Other branding elements include tag lines and messaging.

Established brand identities are carefully managed by identity standards or usage guidelines. Brand names or trademarks are protected legally by trademark registrations and proper trademark usage.

New brands or new products should go through a strategic brand development process. Like established brands, the elements of a brand identity include the name or trademark, along with the visual identity which encompasses colors, logos and graphic elements.

Whether an established or new brand, using market research and various tools like perceptual maps can identify positioning strategy options. Are there other forms of planning that your company uses in identifying your branding strategy?

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