Branding 101

by Austin Johnson February 09, 2015

When you hear the word “brand” what do you think? Do you think of a product, a company, an experience, how you feel about a company, a logo, or a storefront? If you answered yes to all of these, then you’re right. Branding isn’t just a logo or a company name. It’s what you say about your company, the product(s) you offer, the experience and feeling your customers have and what your customers say about you.

Whether your company is a small shop just starting off or a large established company looking to rebrand, branding is critical. One way to assess your branding is to ask yourself these questions: who are you? Who needs to know about you? How will they find you? Why should they care? Sure, those questions might sound simple. But so often a company rushes to market without a thorough analysis of why the company exists in the first place. In order to answer these questions you have to really think about the essence of the company, and go through a proven process. Going through this process will help you understand your company’s brand, how to represent your brand and how your customers will perceive your brand.

How to know when to start the process

  • New Company
  • Name Change
  • Revitalize Brand
  • Lack of Cohesiveness or Consistency
  • Merging Companies

The Branding Process


Step 1: Research & Analyze

This phase is the most important phase and often times get missed. During this phase you will want to dig deep and find out what kind of message you want to send to your target audience. What kind of values and culture your company holds? What’s your position in the market? Who are your competitors? What is your company’s vision? How do you want to be perceived? Some ways to do this research:

  • Download our 20Branding Questions
  • Work with a team
  • Brainstorm with mind mapping
  • Focus Groups
  • Mystery shopping
  • Online Surveys
  • Interviews (within and outside your company)

When going through this process try to think more than what product or service you’re offering. Try to think of the why first, and then the what and who. Check out Simon's Sinek TED talk on "Start With Why" Video for more insight.

Step 2: Design Identity

After your research and you analyze your company’s brand, it’s now time to look at the visual aspect of things. The design of your branding is more than picking out your favorite color for your logo. Instead, it is the visual aspects that form part of the overall brand. Think about some of the most successful companies and what their identities looks like. The most successful logos all include good style, typography, composition and/or color. Let’s take a look at the different types of logos:

 Logotype/Wordmark: Represents your brand in a uniquely style type of font treatment. Different fonts can communicate a variety of information and convey subliminal messages.


From left to right: Disney, Fed Ex, Pinterest

Iconic/Symbolic: These logos use imagery only. When done right, they can be very powerful and memorable.

From left to right: Apple, Nike, Twitter

Combination: These use both text and symbols that complement each other.

From left to right: McDonald’s, Starbucks Coffee, AT&T

Step 3: Touch Points

Just because you have your logo doesn’t mean you’re finished. Now it’s time to think of all the other aspects and how they can are going to coordinate together in harmony. It’s the sensation a customer has when they walk into your store. It’s the feeling someone gets when they pick up and touch your package. It’s how your employees act and talk to your customers. It’s the pride of ownership after they make the purchase. It’s the memory they have that makes them come back to purchase your product again. All these elements should be cohesive but could also stand on their own. Some elements include:

  • Colour scheme 
  • Packaging 
  • Business Cards, letterheads and invoices
  • Design of the environment
  • Website
  • Typography and images/photography used in collateral pieces
  • Signage
  • Employee’s attire
  • Vehicle wraps
  • Advertising messaging

After you go through the branding process, it will be easy for you to communicate your brand message to your target audience and position yourself within the market. Not only will your employees become brand ambassadors, but your customers will too by spreading your brand’s message.










Austin Johnson
Austin Johnson