Insights

Why Does Branding Matter?

By May 15, 2019
Brand Love

You’d have to be living under a rock in this post-Apple, post-Kardashian world to not know that branding is important…

… But that doesn’t mean that it’s easy to understand why branding can make companies and people so successful, and why Apple-level brilliance is so difficult to achieve.

Successful branding allows organizations to charge more for products and services, get more donations, and attract a bigger audience—not just any audience, but those perfect customers that will love everything a brand does so much that they become its best ambassadors.

The key to being good at branding is not just understanding that branding is important, but knowing the strategy that makes it so effective.

But what is it about human beings that makes us care so much about branding in the first place?

 

It’s practically hard-wired into how we live our lives.

Branding is not something new. We’ve used the principles of branding in many ways throughout human history.

Let’s imagine a not-in-any-way-historically-accurate scenario.

You are somewhere in the world, at some time in the past. You’re separated from your tribe, or your house, or your clan, and you’ve been walking around in a grove of trees…

You walk out into an empty field.

Well… not quite empty.

Standing at the other edge of the field, you are surprised to see a stranger. You have a split second to assess this situation.

Let’s say these are dangerous times. Maybe you’re at war. The tools that you have to assess this situation are your senses, especially your eyes (because of course binoculars haven’t been invented yet).

What color is this mysterious stranger wearing? What symbols are they carrying?

Those are the clues that will tell you if it’s an ally ahead of you in the field… or if you should get ready for a fight.

My Brand

You’d have to be living under a rock in this post-Apple, post-Kardashian world to not know that branding is important…

… But that doesn’t mean that it’s easy to understand why branding can make companies and people so successful, and why Apple-level brilliance is so difficult to achieve.

Successful branding allows businesses to charge more for products and services and to attract a bigger audience—not just any audience, but those perfect customers that will love everything a brand does so much that they become its best ambassadors.

The key to being good at branding is not just understanding that branding is important, but knowing the strategy that makes it so effective.

My Brand
Brand Love

But what is it about human beings that makes us care so much about branding in the first place?

 

It’s practically hard-wired into how we live our lives.

Branding is not something new. We’ve used the principles of branding in many ways throughout human history.

Let’s imagine a not-in-any-way-historically-accurate scenario.

You are somewhere in the world, at some time in the past. You’re separated from your tribe, or your house, or your clan, and you’ve been walking around in a grove of trees…

You walk out into an empty field.

Well… not quite empty.

Standing at the other edge of the field, you are surprised to see a stranger. You have a split second to assess this situation.

Let’s say these are dangerous times. Maybe you’re at war. The tools that you have to assess this situation are your senses, especially your eyes (because of course binoculars haven’t been invented yet).

What color is this mysterious stranger wearing? What symbols are they carrying?

Those are the clues that will tell you if it’s an ally ahead of you in the field… or if you should get ready for a fight.

Brand Battle

While symbols and icons don’t necessarily indicate life or death anymore, they have the ability to act as markers in our brains and we can associate them very quickly with emotions and experiences.

Often much more quickly than we can read and understand words.

Nowadays… we’re desperate to get each other’s attention. We wish introducing ourselves and our ideas was a simple as standing on opposite ends of a field waving flags at each other.

 

But it’s not.

We’re not even looking at each other. We’re looking down at our screens and we’re scrolling and scrolling and not even paying attention what we’re scrolling through.

We’re distracted by our busy lives, we’re distracted by the news, we’re exhausted by deciding what to watch next on Netflix.

But despite all these distractions, we are still looking for products and services that will help us. We want to find causes that align with our values. We want to be excited and inspired.

This is what makes good branding so important.

Branding cuts through distractions

Successful branding helps us find the things that matter to us.

 

It can get us to stop scrolling because we want to know more, to engage in a deeper way.

But building a strong relationship with an audience isn’t something that happens overnight. It takes a focused strategy and consistent execution everywhere that a brand is seen and experienced.

It’s important to remember that a brand isn’t just one thing.

 

There’s the logo—that marker that helps us remember the brand. But if it’s not associated with past experiences and positive emotions, then it doesn’t have any meaning.

A brand is all the experiences that an audience has with a company. The logo is like a portal that reminds us of all the moments when we’ve interacted with a brand, and how we felt during those moments.  Those feelings are what we remember.

Your brand is ALL the things

For example, we remember great customer service — an under-celebrated component of the brand puzzle. We remember a seamless user experience. We remember opening beautiful packaging. And as we associate all these positive memories with the brand, we become more loyal and engaged.

That’s what builds trust and that’s what transforms customers into advocates for a brand.

A critical part of any successful brand strategy should be considering how customers are feeling at every point that they interact with your brand.

 

That’s why it’s so important for all these experiences to be consistent.

 

Incredible design will grab their attention and get them interested—because they definitely won’t care about you if they don’t even know about you—but it’s consistent execution of the design everywhere it’s seen that turns excitement into trust and loyalty.

While visual consistency is key, every component of the brand should also reflect the same values, strategy, and messaging. It should always be telling the same story of who the brand is and why an audience should care about it.

If it’s sending mixed messages, customers will become confused and the organization will lose trust (or worse, they won’t even remember it). 

A brand is a conversation

Think of a brand like a conversation. One part of a brand is what the brand creates, but another part is how the audience perceives it, understands it, and incorporates it into their own story.

 

The brand will never be successful if an audience isn’t clear about what it is. That’s why the onus is always on the brand to have a strategy and understand what makes them unique in the market. They have to be able to deliver on their promises.

However, while that strategy is important, it’s not really what matters to the audience in the moment.

The audience has all kinds of things they are worried about and distracted by in their own lives. They need to understand why the brand should matter to them.

This is not an easy feat.

Most of the work we do is at Studio Rainwater is trying to bridge this divide. We help companies translate their strategy — what matters to them — to the audience in a way that will resonate and create an emotional response. So that the audience will understand why the company can help make their complicated lives better.

Brand Strategy

Over the next month, we’ll be exploring the branding process in more detail and talk about:

  • Creative Strategy: You’ve got a powerful vision and clear goals, how do you translate that to your stakeholders in a way that builds understanding and excitement?
  • Audience: How do you create a brand that will make a powerful emotional connection with your perfect customers?
  • Brand Consistency: Are you missing key opportunities to engage your audience on a deeper level?
  • Design: What makes design such an effective tool for breaking through the clutter and growing your brand?

 

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