Branding : What Is It?

Brand Identity & Design

October 7, 2011

Branding. It’s a word you’ve more-than-likely heard, especially if you’re in the creative industry. Chances are, you’ve heard it used wrong. I admit, I’m guilty of throwing this word around in a casual manner when I’m not thinking about it, but I’m currently on a mission to use it the proper way! Maybe I need a brand-jar … $0.50 goes in every time I use it the wrong way!

As promised, this marks the first post in a series about branding. Before going into the essential layers of a powerful brand, I want to talk about my thoughts on what the word means. Maybe it helps if we talk about what a brand isn’t:

  • A brand isn’t a logo
  • A brand isn’t your website
  • A brand isn’t just the product you deliver
The most basic definition: Branding is the experience your clients have with you and your product. To elaborate, I’m not referring to the experience from your first meeting until the services/goods are rendered … I’m talking about the experience from the moment you become a blip on your potential client’s radar until long after you’d rendered the services & goods. 
A powerful brand has the potential to propel you way beyond your competition. In fact, your client will not see any competition. In their eyes, you’re the only one that can do what you do. What are you doing to create advocates out of your clients?
Remember when I mentioned that the word ‘branding’ is all-too-often used incorrectly? Most people associate it with brand identity. A strong brand identity is definitely a major component to a successful brand (we’ll talk about this), but so are several other elements:
  • Your personality & knowing your strengths and weaknesses
  • Managing client expectations & delivering what you promise
  • Finding the ideal clients & creating advocates out of them
  • Delivering quality services and goods & having talent
Seth Godin elaborates on branding:
“If you’ve never heard of it, if you wouldn’t choose it, if you don’t recommend it, then there is no brand, at least not for you.”
Just as you’re not friends with every person you’ve ever met, your brand isn’t for everyone. It’s essential to break it down, decide who you are, decide who your client is, and put it back together to create an experience that will make them feel that they made the best decision by working with you! They will sing your praises! Bonus, you’ll end up being pretty happy as well.
I’m excited to dig deeper into each of these layers. I welcome discussion and conversation, so be sure to leave a comment or send an email with suggestions/comments/questions!

We are currently offering one-on-one brand reviews and consultations. If you’re considering rebranding, let’s talk first. Maybe you just need a little help with strategy, or you’re not sure about how to best represent your brand visually. We can talk on the phone, Skype or in-person to give you some perspective. Just send me a hello, and we can talk about the details.

We’re currently booking brand identity clients for 2012. Though, we don’t accept every client that comes our way: we love working with creatives who are passionate about what they do. We love clients who are crazy about design and understand that branding is more than a fancy logo. If that’s you, let’s talk!

  1. Naomi Shiek says:

    I’m so happy you’re writing this series! Finally someone who articulates what I haven’t been able to. In my last email to you I even talked about this.

    I’m always very disappointed when I ask about branding and people come back to me with deals on logo designs; that’s just not all I’m looking for. My problem always is how do I communicate with the person who’ll do the branding what I think my studio is / what I want it to be, so that I’ll end up with the correct branding concept. I imagine as a professional you know what questions to ask your clients to dig that information out of them, but I guess first I need to ask myself before I can ask someone else – what is my brand?

    I’d love to read more about how you make a cohesive brand, meaning how you would go about it. You’ve shared logos that you’ve made on here, but I’d love to see how you transition that into packaging, etc. Good branding communicates the company’s aesthetics and viewpoint for sure, and I think a good translation of those values in all the forms & applications they can manifest, big and small, is what decides that. For example, I think the branding of NOPI ( is brilliant.

  2. […] you had a chance to read part 1 of my branding series? If not, be sure to check it out. LD_AddCustomAttr("AdOpt", "1"); […]

  3. Charlotte says:

    I LOVE that I just found this website! INSPIRATION deluxe!! I so wish I could afford to let you design my new branding. At least thank you for your inspiration. Keep up the good work!

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