What Is Branding, and Do I Need It for My Business?

A "Crash Course" on Branding.

Having transitioned from doing book design to designing logos and brands, I’m often asked the inevitable question: “What exactly do you do?”

The short answer: I design brand identities.

The mid-length answer: I help create personalities for businesses, so that they can connect on a more human level with their ideal customers.

For the long answer: keep reading. 😉 especially if you own a business, because as you’ll see, branding is something that actually does matter to keep serving your customers and growing your business and therefore your ability to help people.

Branding is about creating a culture that communicates your mission to your ideal customers

Designing a brand sounds complicated and ephemeral. Yet at its heart, it’s about clarifying your mission, who you can help with your business, and how you communicate this.

That’s fairly simple, right?

The process is simple, but it does involve time. Time to uncover and focus on who you are as a business and what you do for people.

Why does branding matter for you?

In a nutshell: branding matters if you own a business of any size. This is because, no matter how good your product, or restaurant, or wine is—you have to be able to communicate this with potential buyers.

When you design a brand identity it’s like translating your mission into a language that your audience understand. By speaking to them visually in a clear way it will attract them to you and no one else will do.

Do you own a restaurant? Are there other restaurants in your town? If so, your potential customers have options when they want to relax at the end of a long day. Therefore you’re just one place in the sea of restaurants, and you have competitors for business.

However, if you hone in on what exactly you serve, the type of food, the ambience, the culture you want to create in your restaurant, you automatically reduce your competition, because no other restaurant will offer what you do!

That’s amazing!

You aren’t for everyone. And do you know what? You don’t want to be.

You want people to walk through who will be delighted by your food, by your culture, and who will contribute to the culture you’re creating. When you craft a brand identity that speaks to your ideal “guest”, you’re drastically increasing your chances of pleasing all of your guests and in turn creating a bigger “buzz” around your place.

The Chipotle example

I’m going to admit something a little embarrassing. As much as I love local restaurants and trying new, boutique places, there are times when I just want Chipotle. Nothing else will do.

Why is that? Well I’m sure there are a lot of factors, and at its heart it’s because I love their food. However, it’s also because they’ve carefully crafted an atmosphere that I know I can depend on wherever I go.

I don’t always want to go there—I’m not going to go there for a nice leisurely dinner with my family. But when I want a quick, fairly healthy meal, I know exactly where to turn no matter which city I’m in. Whether Pittsburgh, Denver, New Haven, I know what I can expect. From the atmosphere, how the employees will treat me, what the food will taste like, what the bags will look like, to how the drink cup feels in my hand.

And that, my friends, is that power of branding. Chipotle has carefully crafted a brand that gives their clients consistency and good feelings when they think about their restaurant(s). Conversely: there are going to be Chipotle-haters 😂 but that’s okay.

You don’t want to focus on converting people who don’t like you, but rather hone in on your power to please those who do!

How To Harness the Power of Branding for Your Business

First of all, it’s important to realise that whether or not you’re intentional about it, your business does have a brand.

When you focus on cultivating your brand, though, you have more say in how your business is experienced. Because you actively start communicating with your customers in a way that you choose, instead of leaving it up to them to how they think and talk about you.

The important thing here is to look carefully at what you are creating. In future blog posts I’m going to be talking more about the different steps to craft a Brand for your Business, but for now let’s look at some things that you can do today to begin the process.

  1. Ask yourself: what is our mission? For a restaurant, this could mean: “creating a place where people can enjoy a leisurely meal and reconnect with their family/friends”; or you might say “we want to explore and share our ethnic heritage and cuisine with more people”. Or a million other things.
  2. Then ask: Who will most appreciate this? What do they do? What do they like? Where do they shop? How do they speak? Where do they learn about new places?

These two things are going to be fundamental to the successful growth of your business as a brand!

At the End of the Day

Your business has an amazing potential for growth! And by harnessing the power of branding for your restaurant or product, you’re creating a system of communication with your ideal clients that can far outreach your potential as an individual.

A brand is like a person that is actively working to promote your business! Because when you give it a personality through your stories, images, typography, logos, colors, your ideal customers will recognise it and have a stronger connection to who you are and what you have to offer.

Are You Ready for a New or Updated Brand Identity?

Do you have questions about branding or is your business is in a place where you could use a stronger brand identity?

I’d love to chat and hear about your goals or questions for your current business and brand. Click the link below to schedule a time to talk. As an entrepreneur I know you have a million things to do (same here! 🙃) and if you have branding needs I’d love to hear if there’s a way I could take some of that off your plate!

In the meantime, Cheers to vibrant brands and business planning!