The term "branding" isn't #000000 and #FFFFFF. (Forgive me. Designer joke.)
So what exactly IS branding? Isn't it just your brand?
Wellll, not exactly. While "brand" is the noun, "branding" is the verb.
Here's how I like to define each term:
Brand (n) is the combination of your visuals, your messaging, and your mission—and how they're communicated to, and perceived by, your ideal client. These collective elements represent your business and tell your story, and ultimately form your business' reputation.
Branding (v) is the process of building that brand. It's crafting the elements that collectively make up your brand, and the strategy behind uniting what you want people to think about your business vs. what they actually think about your business.
But I'm here to simplify this concept a bit – let's make it fun.
I like to compare branding to a profile on a dating app.
(Seriously, hear me out on this one.)
Let's say you're on Match.com on the hunt for a serious partner. Not just someone who's smokin' hot on the outside (though that's always fun), but someone you can connect with on an emotional level. Someone who checks allllll the boxes:
✓ Winning personality
✓ Sense of humor
✓ Likes dogs
✓ Want kids
✓ Values health + fitness
(That's not too much to ask, right???)
You start with the photos since—let's be honest—physical appearance is the first thing that captures your attention. But once you find that pretty face you're not gonna suddenly announce your engagement and run away together. No! Your search isn't over. It's only just begun...
You want to be attracted by the way they look, but drawn in by the way they make you feel. Everything from the words they've typed in their bio, to the hobbies they list, to the values and ethics they convey. You want to relate to their story. You want to sense their personality shining through. You want instant chemistry. You want sparks flying!
→ Simply put: You want the total package.
It's the same in dating as it is in business. Similar to a profile on a dating app, a brand is so much more than just the visuals—it's an entire story that embodies possibility and perception and connection and emotion. One that builds that all-important "know-like-trust factor" with potential clients.
◆ Branding is what makes a business "the total package" ◆
The takeaway here is that branding goes so much deeper than just a logo or website copy or fancy business cards. Branding includes these elements, but also transcends them by incorporating the intangible feelings, emotions, and perceptions they evoke.
Your brand is the unique voice, style, and personality of your company. The thing that gives your followers alllll the feels. The thing that sets you apart from all the other companies out there. The thing that ignites chemistry with—and attracts—your ideal clients. The thing that leads to brand loyalty.
Heavy stuff, amiright?
One of my favorite quotes about branding comes from Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon:
"Your brand is what people say about you when you're not in the room."
Ask yourself: What do you want to be remembered for? How do you want your business to be perceived?