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What’s Your Story And Are You Telling It?

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When creating a brand and identity for our design agency, I knew it had to embody strength. And I wanted our team to use it to tell our story.

I got my first cat when I was pretty young. My dad was more of a ‘dog person,’ but his little girl won him over. My cat became a companion to me, and he brought a lot of joy to my life.

After Mr. Keli passed away (we thought he was a girl, but after finding out we were wrong, changing his full name didn’t feel right. More on that in another blog, ha!), and although I knew he could never be replaced, I wanted another furry friend to study and design with in college. But, that little guy ended up seeing me through some hard days that would lie ahead.

When I decided to start my own graphic design agency, I knew giving back would be at the center of our mission: to our clients, the community, and the cat-kingdom. And I needed a strong brand, logo, and identity that would reflect that mission.

I knew deep down that a cat would do just that.

Cats represent exploring the unknown, being even-keeled through adversity, flexibility, and independence: all of the foundational elements of our company’s core values. Those would be key to our business. And essential to our brand and identity.

Our brand now had a symbol and a story, and we’d tell it – through branding.

So, what is branding? Is it the same as a brand? And how does a logo tie in with all of that?

Your brand isn’t just who you are, but more importantly, it’s how individuals view you. It’s the “why should I choose you?” in the business world. And according to Steve Forbes, it’s “the single most important investment you can make in your business.”

“A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.” – Seth Godin

Where a brand is a noun, branding, is the verb. The action. Branding essentially puts that brand to work. Creating a logo (which is a visual symbol, icon, and font(s) that represents and identifies a company, person, or service), establishing a marketing strategy, and shaping your brand? That’s branding.

It’s telling your story.

So, now that we’ve established the difference between brands, branding, and logos, let’s dive a little deeper into the key elements of branding.

Key Elements To Branding

Who are you? What are your values? Why is your organization here? Who do you want to help? All of those questions lead to a company’s vision, mission, and brand values. These are the pillars of an organization, and they are also the cornerstone for brand strategy. Every tool you create that moves your business forward should stem from these pillars.

Your company’s brand guidelines are all of the elements that fall between your foundational pillars mentioned in the previous paragraph. It’s a tangible document that will reflect your organization’s goals, identity, make you stand out from your competition, connect you and your consumers, and provide the blueprint for your marketing strategy.

A logo is a powerful tool for any business, and when designed well, it will connect you with your target audience, tell a story, and help build brand loyalty. And it’s often the first visual impression of your business or personal brand image. Utilizing a strong logo is vital in branding.

According to Adobe, “38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content or layout is unattractive” Websites are crucial to consumer engagement, an essential information tool, and a landing place where organizations can engage with their customers, sell products, and so much more. It’s one powerful marketing tool!

In addition to the four key components listed above, there is an exhaustive list of assets that can be utilized as part of your branding strategy toolset: business cards, packaging, stationery, and more. There are so many ways to put your brand to work.

In addition to the four key components listed above, there is an exhaustive list of assets that can be utilized as part of your branding strategy toolset: business cards, packaging, stationery, and more. There are so many ways to put your brand to work.

Now that we’ve covered the essential elements of branding, why is branding important?

3 Reasons Why Branding Is Important

We wouldn’t have businesses without people, and connecting with customers and transforming those initial relationships into lifelong enthusiasts is built through branding as part of a strong brand strategy. Establishing a powerful, consistent brand voice or utilizing colors true to your brand identity are examples of cultivating those relationships. It’s creating a solid consistency that builds trust with your consumers.

Shaping your brand will ultimately shape how others view you. It’s crucial to develop and tell your story in a way that relays your message to your consumers.

Competition is fierce in today’s world, and getting recognized by consumers is key to industry success. What makes you stand out? Different? Unique? Building a strong logo, as part of your larger marketing strategy, will showcase all of these questions and demonstrate to your consumers why they should choose your product or service over someone else’s.

Where a brand houses the key components that build a solid business, branding puts those components to work. Organizations must understand what fundamental elements are included in branding, how to build off of them, and what power is contained in a strong brand strategy.

How do you want to be perceived? What do you want to be known for?

What’s your story, and are you telling it?