Daniela Falcone

Daniela Falcone

22 Jan 2019 4 min read

Branding for Dummies

As designers, we are responsible for a variety of tasks in order to fulfill our clients’ needs. To achieve satisfaction, we follow strategy guidelines for marketing and using the brand. But what happens when the client is our company and those guidelines are our job?

How do we make quality content that, at the same time, is consistent and has its own personality?

Most of the time, and for many reasons, companies never think about branding strategies, communication with clients or types of language and symbols that make them remarkable. On other cases, they have thought about it, but the information it’s archived in a person instead of in a file.

This is the context in which I started writing this article, that is part of a series divided into Theory, Practice, and Lessons. They were brought to life based on a collection of readings and the application of their lessons.

Part 1: Theory

GIF of a baby reading fast GIF of a baby reading fast

As individuals, I think beliefs are what makes a personality remarkable. Contrary to the Mission and Vision of a company, which guide and define its purpose, Beliefs are the ones that define the personality and bring us a competitive advantage. It is what differentiates what we do from why we do it.

A brand is a set of expectations, memories, stories, and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.

Seth Godin

Being a good company is the new branding

The branding specialist Ana Couto (Kellogg School of Management) asserts that the world is VUCA:

  • Volatile: everything changes fast, all the time;
  • Uncertain: there are no guarantees but lots of uncertainties;
  • Complex: it’s not linear, it’s confusing and anxious;
  • Ambiguous: we have lots of choices and the limits were dissolved.

At the 2017 RD Summit (pt-br) she highlighted that 7 out of 10 Brazilians are willing to pay up to 17% more for products whose has a cause, as well as those that are currently building their image consistently and with a clear purpose, reflecting on its financial value.

Aside from generating value, a VUCA brand potentially conveys emotions to its audience, which plays a crucial part in how humans understand the world, as Donald Norman states.

Divide and conquer

The blog Marketing de Conteúdo (pt-br) helps us understand that there are many ways to protect, secure and measure your brand’s Beliefs and that its main advocates should also be the first ones to experience your products and services, that is, your collaborators — the internal audience.

It is possible to notice that your collaborators are experiencing your products the way you intended them to when they:

  1. Understand your brand’s goals and beliefs
  2. See how it is protected in different ways
  3. Feel how much the company commits to what their brand represents
  4. Realize how the brand aligns and adapts to the market

The blog also explains brand advocates, that are people who tend to support a brand and refer it to their friends and acquaintances, and that helps spreading the brand across markets. The article takes into account the clients but the community is just as important, and together they build the external audience.

For this audience the brand’s perception can be evaluated as follows:

  1. Authenticity: to have clear values.
  2. Relevance: to bring change into people’s lives
  3. Remarkability: clearly distinguish from competitors
  4. Presence: to be in the right place at the right time
  5. Understanding: people need to understand why you do what you do
  6. Consistency: your brand needs to meet their expectations

Why your brand and not any other?

People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.

Simon Sinek TED > Talk

When we try to offer only the tangible characteristics of a product, such as its material or features, buyers certainly don’t see much value on it. After all, what makes your product better than any other within a plethora of options so similar and often cheaper than yours? 🤷‍♀️‍

What would make your audience feel that your product is better than the competition’s?

Branding is not about being known but making it remarkable. Then, Sinek’s advice comes in handy and motivates us to ask:

  • Why do we do what we do?
  • What motivations does your brand or company expect your employees to have in order to go to work every single day?
  • What do you expect your brand or company to be known for within its community?
  • Which image do you expect your clients to have of your brand or company?

ResultadosDigitais (pt-br) argues that there are many ways of dealing with internet branding and that we can split it into two main groups: Visual Identity and Strategy.

They define visual identity as the visual representations of your brand which helps creating an identity in the consumers’ minds: logo, image style, typography, colors, etc. The more aligned it is, the more probable and quicker the connection will be in the mind of whoever’s looking for brand options.

Within their notes, the one that stands out the most is the definition of a style unity. That is, to have a clear definition of what style the brand uses when communicating, visually or in their speech, which, in turn, can be achieved through a moodboard, for instance.

For strategy, the article describes the job of delivering the non-visual values and thus, its purpose. They also state that the strategy perception happens at a deeper level when the consumer relates not only to the style but also to the brand’s beliefs, and then ask:

  • What is your brand personality? What adjectives does it have? If it were a person, who would they be?
  • How is your brand language? Is it casual? Is it professional? You have to adjust the language to the audience.
  • Where is your target audience? What channels do they use to communicate with other brands and people?