The Eight Rules of Branding

The Eight Rules of Branding

A brand is an emotional connection that is built through an experiential relationship. Think of a ladder, at the lowest rung your brand exists as a utilitarian commodity. As you climb, the peak is when your brand is linked to an emotional experience.

The goal of our eight rules of branding is to identify how your brand relates to these rules or concepts and where there are gaps. If you’re looking to rebrand or reposition your brand in the market, this is a great place to start!

Rule One: A successful brand is a single idea or concept that stands for something inside the customer’s mind.

We want to boil down your brand into a singular idea or concept. This should be more than just what your products and services are. How do you do business? How do you work with your customers? Work to whittle down your services or products into a single idea that you can own.

Rule Two: Branding consistently conveys your values. They reinforce your commitment to your product and company.

When we get to rule two, a SWOT analysis can help determine your values. Your internal strengths can play a large role in your brand’s values. How do you approach business?

Rule Three: Consumers accept brands that are narrow in scope.

We’ve all been to a restaurant that has hundreds of menu items and ranges from Mexican cuisine to Italian and everything in between. And that begs us to ask the question, “what are you?” You can’t be all things to all people. Narrowing the scope of your audience will enable you to be more successful in the long run.

Rule Four: Successful brands evoke a feeling of leadership.

In rule four, we go back to the brand’s strengths, as well. Position yourself in your market or brand category as a leader by conveying your strengths and how they make you different! For instance, if your company is using technology in a unique way in a category that traditionally doesn’t use technology, position yourself as a leader by demonstrating your expertise!

Rule Five: Communication builds brands.

Communication is vital to building your brand. Create a communication strategy, plotting and identifying when and how to communicate with your consumers. Identify your key messaging and use them in your communication tactics.

Take McDonalds’ for example. Their key message is “I’m lovin’ it.” What’s your core message?

Rule Six: Brand leaders promote and build a category.

For rule six, we’re going to go back to what we learned in rule one. A brand leader should promote the concept of their brand and distinguish themselves in the market place.

What brand comes to mind when you think of organic food? The majority of people will say Whole Foods. In the category of organic foods, Whole Foods is a brand category leader. What word can you own, and become the leader in that market?

Rule Seven: Building a powerful brand requires building a powerful perception of quality.

Just like we break down your brand into a single word and concept, we need to break down the term quality for it to best fit your brand. What does the word quality mean to your brand?

Take a look at Aldi for example. If you purchase a product at Aldi that is not good or not up to your standards, you can return it with no questions asked. That is their definition of quality.

Rule Eight: Sub-branding can erode the power of the core brand.

All of these rules connect and intertwine. Rule eight and rule three go hand-in-hand. Sub-branding by putting your name on everything can actually hurt your brand as a whole.

Virgin Mobile is a great example. They expanded their category to so many things that it makes us ask, “what are you?” It’s just another way of saying you can’t be all things to all people.

 

At TAG, we offer clients a Brand Workshop where we go over these eight important rules, and help to determine who you are as a brand and where you want to go. Often, we can determine a lot of this information through hearing stories about your company or brand and use those to demonstrate what your company values. Could your brand benefit from a Brand Workshop? Contact us today to learn more about how a Brand Workshop could be beneficial!

The Importance of Brand Guidelines

The Importance of Brand Guidelines

Branding guidelines, brand standards, style guides. Whatever you call them, they are an important piece of building your brand. Branding guidelines set a foundation for your brand by creating a framework to operate in that’s consistent no matter what medium you choose.

So what are brand guidelines? Branding guides consist of essential rules for how to craft the visual pieces of your brand including typography, imagery, photography, logo usage, image style and more depending on the size and need of your business. These guidelines should point your communication toward your target audience with a consistent look and feel.

Consistency is vital in maintaining brand integrity. A guideline helps you maintain integrity by maintaining consistency in your branding efforts. And consistency makes you more recognizable in the market, assisting in building the way your brand is perceived. A guide plays an important role in perception. Every touch point between your brand and your audience should be used to reinforce a consistent perception.

Deviating from your guidelines can be harmful to your brand. Straying from your guidelines, be it typeface, color palette or tone, makes it harder to recognize your brand in the market. Not to mention it can make your brand look unprofessional. Consistency among all of your brand’s communications should always be your goal.

It’s easy to think that you can put off creating branding guidelines until a later date, but it’s important to start building that foundation right away. By using brand guidelines, you ensure that there’s an organized, cohesive approach to the points of engagement and communication with your audience that creates consistency in your communication.

At TAG, we recommend brand guidelines to all of our clients. Does your brand need help creating a guideline? Visit our website today to see how we can help grow your brand!