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What is branding?

Updated: Feb 28, 2022

Now a days the word Branding gets used A LOT! From influencers saying something is on brand to companies rebranding left and right, it's become a word used so often. I honestly feel like some people don't know the true definition of the word.

If you've ever been confused or just wanted more clarity on what branding is and means but didn't want to be the one asking about something that you felt you should just know, then you've come to the right place!

I'll be breaking down what Branding really means and showing you examples so that you can school your friends on how they're actually using the word wrong.

So if you google branding this definition will come up:

Google's Definition: A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that distinguishes one seller's good or service from those of other sellers.

This definition isn't wrong but it also isn't completely right either. A part of branding is the brand identity which are things like the logo, colors, fonts and defining design elements but that is only the visual part.

Branding encompasses so much more than just the visuals. One of my favorite definitions that I feel more accurately defines Branding is by Marty Neumeier, he is a very respected American author and speaker that talks about all things branding, design, innovation and creativity.

His definition of a brand and branding is as follows:

Marty Neumeier's Definition: A person’s gut feeling about a product, service, or organization. In other words, your brand is “not what you say it is; it’s what they say it is.”

So according to Marty's definition a brand and branding is much more than just the colors and logos of a company, it is actually how the people feel and view the company. If we were to think about this for people we can explain it like brand identity (logos, colors, fonts etc) is a person's style, makeup and hair but the brand/branding is a person's reputation and what they are known for and how they make you feel when they walk into a room.

Although brand identity can help steer the way people view a company, it ultimately isn't the only thing that makes up the brand. Other aspects that help with branding is a brand voice, the brand's mission and values, the CEO of the brand and much more. In 2021 we saw a lot of this where companies were getting called out by the public for their brand not practicing what they preach which made the public not trust them or want to support them. Imagine supporting a brand that you believed cared about the environment only to learn that they don't use biodegradable packaging or even if you learn that their CEO doesn't recycle. It automatically changes your gut feeling about the company which makes you not want to spend your coins on their products anymore.

Now that we got all the wordy stuff out the way let's dive into some fun visual examples!

Let's cover the iconic Nike brand that I am sure we all know

Nike's swoosh logo has become a household icon to the point that they don't even need to write the company's name and people will still be able to know what brand this is. ( Fun Fact: Nike's logo was actually designed by a women by the name of Carolyn Davidson ) Although Nike's brand identity does an amazing job at making them stand out, what their branding truly is defined by is us. Nike has done a great job in making sure that they steer our gut feelings and thoughts on them to align with what they want to represent and stand for. Ultimately we give them the power because we trust that they practice what they preach.

Nike positions themselves as a champion, a triumphant and cool brand. The way that they sell the brand is by their designs being elevated, fashion forward, their slogans make you feel motivated from their "Just Do It" tagline, to their commercials featuring the best of the best athletes so that we can always associate Nike with the best.

There is so much more that goes into branding and can be done to steer the public's view and gut feeling on a brand but understand that companies like Nike are spending MILLIONS on their branding!

So if you need a little help, that is totally okay and that is why Hustling Mami's Creative Studio was created, to help women that don't have that Nike company type of funds and to make sure you can stand out and have a cohesive brand without breaking the bank!


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