Branding 101

Let's talk about the basics of branding. To start, what is 'branding'? Below you'll see Oxford Dictionary's definition which in its simplest form answers just about everything we need to know about what it is.


branding  /ˈbrandiNG/

  1. the action of marking with a branding iron.
    "regulations concerning the branding, movement, and sale of cattle"

  2. the promotion of a particular product or company by means of advertising and distinctive design.
    "the process of branding should be considered in global terms"


So we're probably not going to take a piece of iron and heat it up, then smack your ass with it. However, this was how the term branding was originally defined. A symbol that informed people who observe it the particular owner of the cattle. Ever hear the phrase "make your mark"? This phrase is inspired by branding.

Where do you start? Well, creating your image can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be, however it doesn't need to be difficult. Let’s throw out some names of companies: Apple, FedEx, Nike, Flexfit, Brauny, Kleenex, Bic, UPS. Did you immediately think of the company's logo or what it is known for? Probably. If you didn't, then think of a company that you know well. What is their icon, logo, or color scheme. Is it everywhere that you see this company? If so, this is successful branding. If not, work can be done, but you get the idea.

Think of branding as how you want your company to be perceived visually, physically, and in some cases emotionally. Do you want to have a symbol to that is recognizable that others will see and instantly know it's yours? This is the basic first steps of branding. Answer these questions so you can get started on the more difficult part, creating the material concepts for this. That my friend we will save for another day.

Homework: Answer the following questions about you or your brand:

  • Who is your audience?
  • Do you have a mission statement?
  • Do you have a brand message?
  • What is your visual identity?
  • Does your brand have a voice?