what is branding?

history of branding

The word “brand” comes from the word “brandr” which means “to burn.” In the 1500s, individual Ranch owners had their own unique mark that they would burn on their cattle to show ownership. These marks help identify the cattle if they were mixed in with other cattle, lost or stolen. These unique marks had to be simple and easy to identify. The term “Brand” has continued to evolve. In the 1800s, unique marks were branded onto wood crates that carried beer and wine. Eventually these marks didn’t just identify the company who owned them but they started to be associated with the quality of the beer and wine in the crates. The brand marks that are associated with higher end brands got priority service. This means the logo marks branded onto the wood crates were more than just an identifier but also represented the reputation of a company. This basic idea still applies to brands today.

brand vs branding

A brand is the promise you make to your customers about quality, service, experience, etc. Your core values, your mission are what make up a brand. Think of a brand as your business’s reputation – what the consumer thinks about your business. It is what distinguishes your business from other companies and the relationship with the consumer. The brand is the idea and branding refers to the visuals to that idea.

“Failing to plan in planning to fail.”

Building the foundation may not be the most exciting part of the equation,  but it is the most important. The core values, your vision, your mission, your voice equal your brand. When working with clients, brand development is half of the process. We don’t jump to the logo design part, we jump into a questionnaire to find out more about your business and your vision. In order to get a strong brand identity, we need to make sure we have the foundation of your business/personal brand.

Branding is about taking all the information that makes up your brand and turning that info into tangible items. These tangible items make up your brand identity. Your brand identity are the visuals that make up your brand. It is your logo, your colors, your website, your business cards etc.


why good branding is important

+ Make a Great First Impression.

You can never take back a first impression. That first impression can make or break a sale, turn a new subscriber away, or prevent someone from engaging with you. When a visitor comes in contact with your brand, you want them to have an awesome first impression and that can be done through good design and branding. Design communicates your message visually to your customer.


+ Good Design Builds Trust

“If people like you, they will listen to you, but if they trust you, they’ll do business with you – zig ziglar”

Have you ever landed on a website or received an email and the design makes you question if the site is a legit site? Bad design can make you not trust a website or business. If you have a logo, website, business cards, social media, and all of your branding is consistent, you can gain customer’s trust, which is the ultimate goal. Well-designed branding gives your audience visual proof that you can be trusted.

+ Brand Recognition
Your brand should be recognizable without a logo present, which means you need more than just a logo to make this possible. Your branding needs to be cohesive with all items including logos, social media, packaging, colors, blog post graphics, etc. If you audience is viewing your social media posts, you want them to be able to recognize that it’s your style without even seeing the name. You want people to look at your Pinterest graphic and say “Oh that must be Brand Blitz’s blog post”.


+ Differentiation
One of the key ideas when building a business is knowing who your competitors are and how you do things differently from them. This also applies to their branding. What makes your business different? Does your logo and brand design reflect the differentiation?

For example, let us look at Starbucks, Coffee Bean, and Peet’s Coffee.

Starbucks, Coffee Bean, and Peet’s Coffee are all Coffee chains, but what makes them different? How are they different from each company? What makes you want to go to one more than the other?  If you notice, the colors, the logos, the messaging is all different between the brands.

+ Memorable
Humans are visual people. You are more likely to remember something after visually seeing it compared to just reading about it. Therefore, if you create a brand that is different from competitors and make it visually appealing you are more likely to be remembered by a potential customer. The more somebody sees your brand the more likely they will purchase. Or if you have memorable package design for your products or provide a strong customer experience, your customer will associate it with your brand.

branding terms:

+ what is brand messaging?

Brand message is the position or foundation that your business takes to make your business unique and stand out from everyone else. Your brand messaging will dictate all your decisions when it comes to your brand design and your brand’s voice. This is a big picture of how you want your brand to appear to your target audience.

Your messaging tells your clients your fundamental core values and how you can provide your service or products better than other competitors. This is the process in which we create our business bio. Our formula for creating your business bio and understanding your messaging is available in the brand starter pack.


+ what is a brand identity?

As we stated earlier, your brand identity are the visuals that make up your brand. It is your logo, your colors, your website, your business cards etc.  All the information that you have gathered to make your business unique translates into visuals. Branding can include anything that effects the senses: sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell.


+ Smell: Smells are linked to memories. The smell when you walk into Starbucks. The smell of cologne when you walk by Abercrombie & Fitch.

+ Sight: The Nike Swoosh. The Starbucks Mermaid. The way the Apple stores have all their products displayed in a large, open, brightly lit, minimal space. The way you interact in an Apple store is similar to the way you interact with Apple products.

+ Hearing: Commercials with jingles that get stuck in your head. (Has anyone heard 1-800-Kars4Kids?!). Slot Machines – Revenue in Las Vegas fell by 24% when sounds were removed!

+ Touch: Our skin has more than 4,000,000 sensory receptors. Think about materials, weight, softness & comfort of product. Also think about how you can use touch for packaging.

+ Taste: McDonalds Fries vs In-n-Out Fries.


+ what is a rebrand?

A rebrand is when your visuals no longer represent what you do as a company. When your brand is no longer aligning with your goals or your business direction has completely changed, then it is time to rebrand. If your audience is confused by what you do because of conflicting branding and visuals, then you should invest in a rebrand. Remember though, you want to brand your business for where you want to be in the future, not for where you’re at right now, so make sure you’re looking at the bigger picture.

These are common terms that you will hear when you hear people talk about branding. Hopefully these clear up any questions you have about branding.You could describe a BRAND as an organization, product or service with a personality that is shaped by the perceptions of the audience. Je Bezos, owner of Amazon and subsequently the world’s richest man, said it best: “A brand is literally what people say about your business when you’re not in the room”. Basically everything they *think* and *feel*, which is why branding is so important.

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