A Brand (or Branding) refers to the perceived image and subsequent emotional response to a company, its products and services. It also represents the conversation that customers are having with each other about the company, and how that spreads.
ie. A set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another. If the consumer (whether it’s a business, a buyer, a voter or a donor) doesn’t pay a premium, make a selection or spread the word, then no brand value exists for that consumer. Seth Godin
Branding your business takes a lot more than a cool logo and catchy tag line. It's no longer enough to have a sleek website, social-media presence, and consistency online. SKdesigns builds your brand as a promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from your competitors'. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be. Consistent, strategic branding leads to a strong brand equity, which means the added value brought to your company's products or services that allows you to charge more for your brand than what identical, unbranded products command.
- An Identity describes the visual devices used to represent the company. Identity systems are a visual components package that is paired with style guidelines and used as a framework to ensure the corporate image is cohesive and consistent. Some of the visual devices that leverage the brand elements and style guidelines are as follows: stationery, marketing collateral, packaging, signage, messaging, and digital projects, among others.
Somewhere along the line, the word “branding” got mixed up with “logo”. While it’s an established fact that brands are far more than logos, it seems that creating visual identities with rich emotional character and authentic connection still eludes many marketers. For many marketers, the discipline of creating visual identity has been reduced to mere decoration.
At the basic level, corporate and brand identity programs are an expression and reflection of the brand’s culture, character, personality, and the products and services offered–inspiring trust with consumers, customers, employees, suppliers and the investment community. Since the mid 20th century, the development of visual identity systems has been the main course in almost all branding initiatives. It’s easy to find examples of visual identities for iconic brands that have stood the test of time–Coca-Cola, IBM, Mercedes, Ford, Levis and McDonald’s come quickly to mind.
The success of these iconic identities was largely driven by ubiquitous advertising messages that became reflections of the post World War II boom (particularly in western societies) consumer driven economy. Corporations realized their visual identities had to become the single most important emblem of their business through communication that was simple, powerful and easily reproduced and recalled by millions of people. Visibility and stability of industrial glory were the hallmarks of visual expression of the corporate values of the time. Alas, the world has changed.
With The New Age Of Visual Identity:
The internet revolution and the current age of the social web has altered forever how brands express who they are and why they matter. The shift from the “organization” to the “individual” is now the order of the new age. The internet age has brought a new value system based on the speed of change.
The new generation of digital brands – Google, Amazon, Yahoo, eBay, and Facebook are immersed in a dramatic world of disruptive innovation and a need for constant change. This generation of digital brands has created its own visual language, culture, and iconography from the unbridled energy of the digital playground they were born into. Speed and a willingness to embrace change are at the essence of these new brands. And so it is for brands in all categories, both consumer and business-to-business.
Branding strategy now has a six-month horizon and brand identities are created in a much more informal structure than how corporate identity legends Paul Rand, Saul Bass and Walter Landor did things 40 years ago. Creating a corporate or product brand identity program today, designers are challenging the status quo of 20th century corporate values and creating customer / consumer centric, flexible, multi-sensory experiences that are flexible to the brand’s individual expressive needs.
Our Brand Identity Model
There are many different ideas about the best way to define a brand identity. After reviewing several, we concluded there is no one right way, but there are elements that are important and must to include. All brand identities have at least three components: rallying cry, capabilities, and personality. But some brands need more elaboration. Our Brand Identity Model offers these three elements and more, a reflection of the fact that the brands that are richest in meaning define themselves on more than just three dimensions.