• Ruth Lefcoe

What is Branding?

Updated: Jul 11, 2019

You're starting a business, needing to boost traffic in a current business, branding a product or project... The first thing you think about is your logo, right? Time to find a graphic designer to create a perfect logo for your venture. Branding goes further than assigning a logo or recognizable graphic element to your business or project. But how far, and with what approach and elements? How much do you understand about brand strategy?

Branding is important because it allows your customers and clients to know what to expect from your company. Beyond just a memorable logo, good branding increases the value of a company, provides employees with direction and motivation, and makes acquiring new customers easier.

Let's start with: What is a brand? Merriam Webster defines brand as "a public image, reputation, or identity conceived of as something to be marketed or promoted." When you think about your brand, you really want to think about the entire customer experience that starts with your public image. Your brand is how you want to others to view you, your business, product, or project. Thus, your brand should include everything from your logo, your website, your social media experiences, to staff uniforms, and the way they interact with your customers. Your brand is essentially the source of a promise to your consumer and the way your customer perceives your business and the services it provides.

What Should a Brand Do?

  • Clearly deliver a message

  • Confirm the brand's credibility in the marketplace

  • Emotionally connect target prospects with a product or service

  • Motivate the buyer to make a purchase

  • Create user loyalty

One of the major components of a brand is the company or product logo because, as the “face” of a business, it’s what people instantly recognize. A professional logo design should be memorable, and at the same time powerful enough to give the viewer your desired impression of your company. It gives you the control at first glance.

In fact, people are more likely to purchase from a business that appears polished and legitimate. People who encounter a professionally designed logo can easily identify the business as a trusted center in that community. This helps the business with growth in the short-term and establishing a positive identity in the long-term.

Branding may start with the logo, but the full package includes style guidelines which enable a business to keep the colors, typography, look and feel consistent. It takes a professional graphic designer with branding experience to not only design the ideal logo for their clients but also ensure that their clients use the logo correctly, has the guidelines in hand to follow when using colors, layout, and imagery in corporate documents, presentations, and advertising.

When you hire a professional graphic designer to build your visual brand, the process starts with a conversation about what you want your target market, or future customers, to see and think of your company, product, or project. Next steps vary with every branding professional but it is my opinion that a designer should be open to hearing their clients' thoughts and ideas, be able to design a brand even without any specific input from clients(!!), and along the way - through the entire process - be flexible, creative, communicative, and deliver on promises. Look for your branding professional to be able to explain the many ways branding will help your business, product, or project to succeed. Make sure you are comfortable expressing your opinions and asking questions throughout the process.

Action Item: Contact deRuth Design for additional information on how to improve your brand image.

About the Author: Ruth Lefcoe is a graphic designer based in the Washington, DC Metro Area, with a client list covering the US, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. She has over 20 years of design/branding experience with large and small companies, U.S. Government agencies such as DHHS, NIH, SAMHSA, and private clients. Ruth has a 15-year-old son and a sweet beagle pup, enjoys creative challenges, digital art, cake decorating, and marathoning whole seasons on Netflix, Prime, Hulu, and anything streaming.

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