Explain it to me... Branding

Branding is often misunderstood to refer to only aesthetic components—pretty colors and pictures. It’s a common mistake to consider it a secondary priority or a nice-to-have. As a result, companies frequently invest in building a brand too late and miss opportunities to acquire loyal customers or to impress investors.

Why do I care?

If you are...

A Startup

If you are entering a market without a good logo and thoughtful brand, you are not communicating your differentiation, the quality of your product or service, or the innovation behind your solution. You are missing the opportunity to wow your prospects and get them excited about you. Lack of professional branding can send the wrong message about your company and turn off potential investors or partners.

A mid-size company

Without a strong brand projecting growth and success you are missing an opportunity to appeal to big clients and attract top talent. You may lose out to competitors that are able to tell a better story.

A larger, more mature company

Without a brand evoking success and an ability to continuously improve and innovate, your company can appear outdated. This can lead you to lose clients to competitors that appear fresh and shiny.

A trustworthy brand also fosters loyal employees. It gives people working for you something to believe in and stand behind. It conveys the purpose of your company and provides a feeling of belonging to something bigger than yourself.

What is it?

A commonly accepted definition is that branding is an evolving process of identifying, creating, and managing your brand assets to support the reputation of your business. It’s an entire ecosystem that consistently communicates values to your audience.

Visual design of assets including a logo, colors, typography, marketing website, etc. plays a fundamental role in your brand ecosystem by creating an idea or an image that your audience imagines when thinking about your products or services. It’s critical to make sure that your audience will have a positive reaction to your company that will draw them back in the future.  A well-crafted brand does that.

What's the big deal?

In many situations it’s a good idea to follow the footsteps of those who came before you. When it comes to your company’s branding, this is not the case. It’s much better to a create a unique brand, that specifically fits your company, speaks to your clients, and portrays your way of doing business.

For many successful companies, their brand helps them to create a tighter bond with their customers.

Some Real-world Examples of Great Branding

Bombas is a good example of a startup brand with a unique and thoughtful brand communication. Bombas’ mission is to donate one pair of socks for every pair purchased, since socks are the most requested clothing item in homeless shelters. This idea goes beyond a typical clothing brand and appeals to the modern generation’s desire for brands to contribute to social good.

Their logo is a bumblebee (Bombas is derived from the Latin word for a bumblebee). A cell of a beehive is a key brand element. A bee is an unconventional symbol for a clothing brand, but it works perfectly for Bombas—bees work together to create a wonderful high-quality product. It’s a great metaphor to depict the brand’s focus on comfort and durability. 

Even if you are unfamiliar with Bombas’ mission, you will still remember this simple and unique logo. As unremarkable as socks are, they are essential to our lives like the bees are essential to our environment. This is another element that helps to form an emotional connection with the brand.

Bombas’ website is simple but informative—it reflects a greater mission, stands out from the competition and conveys the quality of the brand. It’s essential, accessible and inclusive.

Venmo is another great example of a smart and thoughtful brand that has grown with the company. It embraces a minimalistic approach for its visual communications without cluttering things with any auxiliary elements. The name is short and has an intuitive spelling where “mo” can be perceived as either “more” (can do more) or “mobile”. The brand implies that using Venmo is simple—it has one color, a short name, and modern typography. The app centers around the user, where their photo and the feed of their friends’ activities are the core of the experience. The logotype doesn’t start with a capital letter because it’s not a name of a middleman in your financial transaction.

A great example of a large company that constantly evaluates and fine-tunes how its brand values get communicated to its clients is Microsoft. Its company image has changed quite a bit in the past 45 years, and its branding has echoed this.

Microsoft’s first logo and visual brand was designed for a young, progressive company—a disco-era startup. It came through quite a few transformations before it became a clean, bold, black-and-white logotype in 1987. The logo was designed to represent Microsoft as an industry leader that is decisively and fearlessly moving forward.

A new era of smart devices required Microsoft to connect with and appeal to a diverse group of global customers, which led it to revamp the brand again in 2012. This was the first time that the branding departed from a logotype-only direction, by adding a logo mark and colors to their primary branding.

These new brand attributes shifted Microsoft’s image from a pure business software company to a consumer brand that’s personal and approachable. Its bold black italic font was replaced by medium weight style in a soft gray logotype. Four windowpanes hinted at a globally known, iconic product and its colors resembled Olympic rings representing diversity, unity, universality, and timelessness. Today, Microsoft is an umbrella brand for many other household brands. It is sophisticated in its core but friendly to its users. 

At Cloud Construct we guide our clients to discover and formulate their brand through a series of workshops. Our team has created, redesigned, and successfully expanded brand identities for many, many clients. Reach out to have us guide your organization to a brand that will work for you, too.

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Cloud Construct

Let's talk about
your project

Give us a ring: 1.617.903.7604

Drop us a Note

Connect with
Cloud Construct

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