by Brian Oster
Have you ever looked at an ad online or in a magazine and immediately knew which company it came from simply by the style? Have you ever wanted a product before you tried it? That is branding in a nutshell.
A brand started out as a mark which declared ownership (i.e. “I made this”), but it has evolved to mean a product which, through marketing, makes people want to own it (i.e. any Apple product).
How does a company make its targeted audience want their specific product? Through product differentiation. The best marketers will tell you what benefit you can expect after the purchase, and why their product’s benefits are superior to their competitors. The way they confer this message will be based on customer’s perception of the brand.
Perception is the key. Branding is the underlying structure of all marketing campaigns. While a brand is made up of the name, logo, and tagline, among other things, branding is how those elements are presented to the public. When branding is used consistently over time, brand recognition is achieved. This consistency can be reached by having an identity standards manual, a document which outlines rules for the company logo, usage of that logo, and rules for the associated colors, fonts, styles, etc.
Check out some of these helpful resources and strong examples of brand identity:
Examples of identity style guides: http://www.logodesignlove.com/brand-identity-style-guides
Ball State University: http://cms.bsu.edu/about/administrativeoffices/umc/logosandtools