elements of branding.

I have noticed that branding has now permeated our everyday language not just as it pertains to our businesses but also our personal brands. I have caught myself saying, “that’s so on brand for you” when a friend who loves sparkling things bought the most glitter-adorned boots. I have personally always advocated for the separation of personal and business brands in my teachings of brand clarity even though I know we are makers and creators of ideas, businesses, and identities, so true separation won’t exist. But regardless of how clear you are on your personal or business brand, I do think all these conversations can shed light on what is and what is not working for you.

To help you drill down a bit more, I have collected a few elements of branding (while playing around with chatgpt) and I hope this helps you get more clear on your brand and what it entails, and what you may need to focus on a bit more. This is now more business branding than personal. Unless your work is yourself, let’s say as an influencer.

I like to break down the brand elements into three large categories:
-verbal branding
-visual branding
-brand behavior

When I first started out as a graphic designer I really only understood visual elements: logos, typography, colors, and patterns. When I worked at a full services agency I started to understand the behavior a bit more; the brand experience and management through marketing campaigns and brand activations. As I worked more and more on my own as a full-time freelancer I started to notice the strategic conversations that occurred with my clients talking about their target audience and positioning and brand personality.

There are a million ways to skin this cat. Gross, but I can’t think of a better expression here, but feel free to tell me one. The point is, every person in the field who does branding and strategy work will have a system, a flow, and an acronym to tell you how this is all supposed to be done.

I would argue though and suggest you stop worrying about the specifics and just check in with yourself. See if you know what some of these elements represent for you. If not, contact me, I am always taking on branding clients and I absolutely adore these conversations.

brand promise: what do you promise and what commitment are you making to your customers day after day?

brand positioning: this I like to think of as the over point of branding—how are you perceived in the world? What are your reputation, advantage, and overall value proposition? Once this is clearly a lot of things can be layered on top to make your brand uber-successful.

brand personality: this is a fun blend of your brand’s tone, voice, how it communicates its values, and overall personality.

brand identity: the visual elements of the brand, such as logo, color palette, typography, patterns, etc. that make your brand recognizable.

brand awareness: refers to the level of recognition or familiarity your brand has in the world. You always want to start with very strong visuals (yes, please hire a professional designer and spend money on this part!) so you can build awareness.

brand loyalty/equity: I don’t think we talk about this enough. In a world where we can pick from a million options, order online, and get things to our doorstep overnight, what value and reputation have you built up so your customers keep coming back to you?

brand extension: this one is a little tricky I think. Your existing brand can name/launch new products or services related to your existing offerings, but I would argue that you should be extremely sure why you are doing this, have research to back you up, and also filter everything through your brand blueprint, your DNA as I like to call it to make sure it makes sense and you are not just on risking new ideas on a whim.

brand management: the thing that probably sounds the most boring, because well, you gotta be consistent. You gotta have a plan to build your brand over time, strategically partner with the right people, do good work, run campaigns, and engage with your customers on a regular basis.

Ok, so what has landed, what do you think you need more help with? What is easy for you from this list? What is super challenging, and why? Tell me!