What is a Brand?
‘The mark made by burning with a hot iron’ Oxford English Dictionary – 1552
Since then, the concept has come a very long way. The physical ‘mark’ – or logo – is still important. But today, a brand is about much more than that.
A brand is made up from a combination of elements, Brand platform, Tone of voice, Visual identity and a Brand story. These elements combined generate a brand experience. This experience fundamentally relies on an emotional/psychological response to, and participation in, that experience.
It fundamentally informs how the brand as a whole is expressed and experienced, underpins the creative, and every statement must play its part
Positioning / A short, specific, definitive statement of the unique position the business hopes to earn relative to other brands in the minds of its audiences
Purpose / The business’s functional reason for being: what it does, makes or provides every day
Mission / Why, beyond economics, what the business does - has value and importance
Composition / This defines the principal parts of the business and how they relate to one another to achieve the brand’s purpose
Values / This identifies the specific, distinctive and fundamental behavioural values which differentiate the business
Character / This identifies the preferred style and manner of the business.
Tone of Voice
In branding terms, it’s just as important to get the style of writing correct as it is to position the logo in the right place. How a company sounds needs to align with and emphasise the essence of the brand. The tone of voice governs everything from brochures, to web copy, to tweets.
A major part in any brand is its visual identity — a set of visual devices used within a company, governed by a set of guidelines. These guidelines administer how the brand is applied throughout a variety of mediums, using approved colour palettes, fonts, layouts, measurements and so forth. These guidelines ensure that the identity of the company is kept coherent, which in turn, allows the brand as a whole, to be recognisable. Logo, Guidelines, Stationery, Marketing Collateral, Products & Packaging, Apparel Design, Signage, Messages & Actions, Anything visual that represents the business.
The best brand relationships are built on an emotional connection — and truly successful brands connect via rich and engaging brand stories that are unique and memorable. Brand stories are created through imaginative and considerate storytelling, and often based on the information acquired through the process of building the brand platform. A brand story could be a single short sentence or a couple of paragraphs, but whatever the length, it should capture the essence of the brand’s connection to it’s audience.