Chapter 1 - Branding Basics

1.1 What is a Brand?

A business’s brand is the crux of who they are, as perceived by their target audience. It’s how you express intangible concepts and emotions through tangible mediums.
A common term used in business and branding literature is brand identity. This is essentially who you are and what you stand for as a business. Brand identity is also how you distill that big idea down into something consumers can understand and articulate. It embodies emotions - how you make consumers feel. Brand experience is a two-way interaction. You, the business, can cultivate a brand image, which is perceived a certain way by the audience. How the target audience experiences the brand is also open to their interpretation of that brand image.
The purpose of a brand is to express who you are so you can connect with consumers that resonate with you. These consumers should be your target audience - they’re the ones who will visit and buy from you the most.
Brands have a few key functions. They help people navigate between a bewildering amount of choices, reassure customers they’ve made the right choice, and use distinct associations to encourage customers to engage with the brand. In other words, a brand serves to convince your target audience that you’re the best choice for their limited resources of attention, purchasing power, and brain space.
👀 Attention
Why people should care about who you are, given there are so many other companies competing for their attention?
💳 Purchasing Power
Customers have countless choices for any given product or service. Why should someone pick you, and continue to do so, over another business?
🧠 Brain Space
Brands employ specific imagery, language, and associations to frame themselves as an entity their target audience wants to interact with. The more time someone spends engaging with a brand and the greater amount of positive associations they build with it, the higher the likelihood that it will occupy brain space. Why should people like and trust you, and as a consequence, keep you in their minds?
A powerful brand should increase attention, purchasing power, or brain space - hopefully, all of the above.
Branding influences packaging, web design, and social media presence, but also how employees act and how a menu is worded, and even how many items are on a menu. Brand strategy affects business strategy.
To summarize, your brand is the identity you create and how you express that identity to your audience, as well as how your audience perceives that identity. A guiding question regarding brand identity is: Who are you and what makes you unique? A guiding question regarding brand experience is: How do you showcase the brand identity confidently and consistently to your audience at every point of interaction they might have with you?

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