What exactly is a brand?
Ask anyone from the general public and they’ll often point to companies like Coca Cola, Nike, or McDonald’s as examples of a brand.
These iconic brands have a certain emotional connection, positive or negative, with people. They stand out in the marketplace and have a very specific and often special spot they inhabit within a consumer’s mind.
Creating that aura requires a very methodical approach that often takes years of research, testing, and execution – called branding
Good branding often requires strategic and tactical considerations only the most experienced and process-oriented professionals can provide. It requires industry specific insights and a broad understanding of the marketplace, often requiring even the most veteran consulting and marketing firms to bring in experts in their client’s specific niche. For instance, The Fold often brings in industry-specific brand consultants to help build positioning and strategy with our team before moving to more tactical considerations.
As part of the branding function, marketers must also apply distinct, sensory oriented touches to the places that their consumers will interact with. The Starbucks logo is instantly recognized by most eyes. The in-store experience of retail stores like Warby Parker or Chipotle give shoppers a feeling of safety and predictability. Well-crafted brand identities connect everything from email templates to outdoor displays to logo to website with consistency and uniqueness that sets a brand apart.
To summarize, branding creates the brand, and is a strategic, methodical process that encompasses all of the touch points that consumers will interact with. Brand identity consists of the tangible elements that consumers can touch, feel, and otherwise access. A company with a strong brand has a unique position within consumer’s minds that set it apart and has an identity that is easily recognized and appealing to their target demographics.