Artwork provided by Shawna X inc
Why is Branding Important?
Brands are living, breathing things, in constant dialogue with culture. A strong brand identity gives brand recognition, differentiation, consistency and loyalty. Once a brand hits its stride online, its aesthetic has to keep evolving to stay alive.
A brand is a promise performed consistently over time. It’s delivered in 3 systems: communications, environments & products. The whole system should always work to be both unique and relevant.
Definition of a Brand Identity from brand studio Smith & Diction:
Strong brands outperform the market. Companies that invested in their brands marked 67 percent above-average organic revenue growth and 70 percent above average total return to shareholders. A clear and compelling brand story provides context and narrative for products, which can help them become more desirable. When a brand introduces a product, it's also selling a story. Consumers are buying into this story when considering a purchase. Brand storytelling is important for customer acquisition and loyalty in addition to being a valuable brand currency. Consumers who buy into a brand story become loyal and are more likely to buy in the future. With a thoughtful brand strategy and execution, your customers can evolve into fans who connect with the brand on a social level. They identify with a brand’s values, appreciate its aesthetics, enjoy its tone of voice and seek to be part of its community. A brand that regularly converses with its fans has relevancy and staying power.
It it is critical to create a brand experience that users can connect to emotionally. Human beings have a desire to relate our experiences to those around us, which is done most effectively when creating a story to convey a message. Making sure a customer attaches to that brand on an emotional level is paramount to making sure they return.
What are the building blocks of a strong brand?
- A resonant “why we exist” story. When your core audience hears this story they should nod their heads and think “Yeah, you're right!”
- The brand's origin story is relevant to the times we live in. The story could exist in opposition to the zeitgeist or work to capture it.
- A well-defined target customer. Does not try to be everything to everyone.
- A product that speaks to a true need or pain point of the target customer.
- A consistent visual identity that provides “wiggle room” for expression on various platforms. If the language of the platform is too far from the visual language of the brand, the brand foregoes the platform.
- Memorable written or visual hooks that feel purposeful. This can be a logo, a tagline, or another signature.
Some of the questions we’re asking clients about their brands:
What kind of brand are you?
Is it the brand you aspire to be?
Is your brand creating growth?
How might we articulate our brand mission in way that’s actionable within the company and experienced by our customers?
How might we inspire new consumer behaviors?
How can we deliver the functional and emotional value of the brand?
How might our approach to the marketplace increase brand loyalty?
Branding is a broad ideal which encompasses a multitude of elements. This includes (but is not limited to) identity, usability, customer service, delivery, desirability, and follow-through. Your job tasks you with the responsibility to affect a significant number of these elements. If you hope to develop a top-notch user experience using interaction design you must understand that interaction is always with the brand.
What's the best example of branding you know of?
The best example of product branding we can think of in recent years is Gucci, a 101 year old fashion brand. Its most recent brand revival began in 2015 with the appointment of a new Creative Director. The rebrand consisted of a new Gucci Look: an androgynous and hippie mix of florals and sequins, glamour and glitz, surprise and whimsy. Today, this maximalist and Romantic look is identifiable as quintessentially Gucci on the street. “I feel Gucci!” and “That’s so Gucci!” are part of our cultural lexicon. Evolving the brand with a new creative vision, diverse partnerships and eCommerce redesign resulted in a 86% increase in first quarter online sales, By focusing on product branding, they successfully renewed customer interest and Gucci is now the second largest luxury brand in the world.
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