What Is Branding?
The best place to start is to understand what a brand isn’t.
Your brand isn’t your logo. Your brand isn’t your visual identity system or your website. It isn’t your color scheme or even your wonderful product (or service). And most importantly, your brand isn’t what you say it is.
Your brand is what they say it is. They meaning people, people meaning humans and humans meaning the intuitive, flawed and emotional beings we all are.
In other words, your brand is a gut feeling that’s rooted deep within people.
It’s a feeling because people are emotional, instinctive beings. It’s a personal feeling because brands are defined by individuals, one by one, human by human. And when enough individuals arrive at the same gut feeling, we have a brand.
One of our more recent brand development projects brought this to light and I wanted to share this email excerpt (with permission from our client):
"Your emotional response, good or bad, to your current and future brand is exactly what we want to tap into. This shows your and your teams passion, loyalty, and love for the company and culture you have built to this point. Our goal is not to wipe that slate clean and start over but to tap into that passion to build on what you have already created and (if possible) make it even better. Additionally, we want your customers, suppliers, and others that come in contact with you and your brand to have a similar emotional response.
To say that at the end of the day you are just painters, is selling yourself short. I respect your humility but I (and my family) have personally experienced working with Fresh Paint and that experience went well beyond just painting our walls. You helped my family see our house as more of a home. This was a difficult transition for us having lived in the same place for 18 years and having brought each one of our kids to our previous home from the hospital. My wife and children were struggling with the move to a new house. Your entire team helped change that. From color selection, scheduling, followup (flowers!) and everything else in between.
Not to raise the bar but I'm also expecting that with Soulo Communications. RJM Companies has acquired 17 different companies of the years. With the acquisition of Soulo Communications and the rebranding effort that followed, we are starting to build some loyalty and excitement around our brand. Being able to drive up to our building (with a freshly painted exterior), newly installed signs, and walk in our office (also freshly painted) and be proud of the brand and company we've built will have an impact far beyond measure. Sure, that all takes more than paint on the walls but don't underestimate the impact. IMAGE MATTERS! BRAND MATTER!"
So, do paint, desks, chairs, matter? Well, sure... you have to have somewhere to sit. However, if you can be deliberate about the choices you make and take the time to select the right:
Colors (paint) - that elicit the right emotional response and are a true reflection of who you are,
Desks - that are both functional and attractive, that allow for standing or sitting and communicate that the health and comfort of those using them are important,
Chairs - perhaps everyone gets the same exact chair to show that everyone is equally important. Or, everyone gets to custom order their own to emphasize the importance of individuality.
The list of tangible and intangible elements is endless. Needless to say, your brand is built every day with every decision and with every interaction (internal and external).
When it comes to branding, don't half brain it, don't ever sell yourself short, and keep building.