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  • Writer's pictureLexi Hunkler

What is branding? And other brand marketing need-to-knows.

Activate Your Brand

In a world of digital noise, it’s easy for your small business to get lost in the abyss. The power of good branding is differentiation. Whether your product or service is unique or not, branding sets your business apart from the competition through recognition and trust. Impeccable branding should be step one in activating your business.

But before we dive further, let’s get back to the branding basics:

What is a brand:

In the words of HubSpot Marketing “Your brand is arguably one of your organization’s most important assets. It gives your organization an identity, makes your business memorable, encourages consumers to buy from you, supports your marketing and advertising, and brings your employees pride.” -Allie Decker

Your brand distinguishes your organization from others through its mission, visuals, identity, meaning, values, etc. However, “brand” is a bit of an umbrella term. It continues on to be further defined by terms such as “brand image” and “brand identity.”

Brand Image

Contrary to common belief that "brand image" is reserved for defining the logo, brand Image is actually how your customers view your overall brand. It is the associations and perception of your brand within the minds of your target audience.

Brand identity

Again, your organization’s brand identity is not just your logo.

“Brand identity is the collection of all elements that a company creates to portray the right image to its consumer. Brand identity is different from ‘brand image’ and ‘branding,’ even though these terms are sometimes treated as interchangeable” (Deanna, deBara, 99 Designs).

Ultimately, brand identity is a set of elements that a company uses to create, or attempt to create, their brand image in the consumer’s mind. These elements include, but are not limited to:

  • A brand name

  • A tagline or a slogan

  • Colors and graphic styles

  • A logo and a wordmark and their variations

  • A voice and a tone

  • A style and a typeface

Something to consider is that brand identity is at the business’s discretion and power, it is like an independent variable. However, brand image, the dependent variable, is a result of brand identity. Meaning that an organization can do their best to control the narrative of their business in the consumer’s mind through branding and marketing, but the result is not always parallel.

Brand awareness

Though the term is more self explanatory, brand awareness refers to the familiarity of your brand with the public--especially your target audience. Brand awareness is pivotal for repeat consumers, and good brand awareness can often lead to “trendiness” or popularity among your target market.

Brand awareness is broken up into two different sections: brand perception and brand recall. You can read more about the distinction of the two here.

Brand extension

Sometimes referred to as brand stretching, is just that, stretching a brand’s name to new products. Brand extension is where a company with a well-developed brand image uses the same brand name in a different product category. If you’ve ever walked up and down the aisles of a grocery store, you are well aware of this whether you’ve known it or not.

A yummy example of brand extension is the classic candy bar, Snickers, extending into new territories when it came out with Snickers ice cream sandwiches.

This is not to be confused with “line extension” where a company will take a popular product and extend it on a linear path. I.e. Coca-Cola turning their classic carbonated soft drink, Coke, into different flavors like Coke-Cherry.

Brand Equity

Similar to “brand image,” brand equity refers to the perceived worth of a brand in and of itself. It is the “social value” of a well-known brand. This consumer perception is often derived simply from the brand name in the consumer’s mind rather than the perception of actual offered products or services.

Brand Values

A map of the Social Change Ecosystem by Building Movement Project

With an ever-changing social climate, brands have increasingly associated themselves with social issues and being catalysts of change for different focuses. While this is an incredible way to use your platform and your business’s influence for good, it is important to make sure your brand does not become the epicenter and that the focus remains on the social change, not on marketing your brand. Defining your brand value can begin with questions such as “what are my values, how can I be aligned and in the right relationship with them, what are the needs of the communities who anchor me, and what can I offer.” This map is a great way to explore your organization’s role in the social change ecosystem.

The Breakdown

Are you confused and overwhelmed by the verbiage yet? This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to brand and marketing terms.

So Let’s break it down simply:

Brand: The umbrella off all elements

Branding: Marketing

Brand Identity: What your business tells/ its voice and personality

Brand Image: What the consumer thinks/hears.

Brand awareness: Familiarity

Brand equity: Social value

Brand Values: What you stand for/support

If you can’t get enough of our definitions, check out some more here.

It simply comes down to this: the beauty and importance of branding is to display and portray what you and your organization are so passionate about. Impeccable branding is pivotal for brand awareness and image. If your customers don’t know who you are, they will not invest their trust and attention in you.

At Meridiem Marketing, our brand is more than just our fun, glowing logo and bright colors. It’s in our name, our work, our services, our heart, our values, and the way we treat others and our clients. We believe our fun-loving personalities are just the tip of our brand.

At Meridiem, we believe we are more than marketers and designers, we are storytellers in an ever-changing digital and social atmosphere.

Logos designed by Meridiem Marketing on business cards with the text "One size does not fit all. Versatility is our speciality."

Whether you are a startup or small business in need of a fresh, recognizable brand, or an existing business that needs to revamp their image, let us help you! As digital storytellers, we work to understand your brand identity, mission, values, and purpose to create an encompassing brand design unique for you. Have questions about brand strategy and activating your brand? We’re happy to help answer any questions you may have.

For a free brand consultation or brand design inquiries, contact us. We want to illuminate your brand in the digital abyss!

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