What is branding, anyway?

Branding is a term that gets thrown around often, especially in small business circles. It’s one of those words that’s used often but never clearly defined. 

Branding is aligning what you want people to think about your business with what people actually do think about your business through your visuals, tone of voice, and terminology.


1  |  A brand is not simply a logo. A logo is definitely one of the most recognizable features of a brand, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg. 

2  |  Branding is not just for large companies. When we think “brand,” we often consider the brands we’re most familiar with, like Nike or Starbucks. But the truth of the matter is that every business has a brand, and your brand is always communicating something to your audience. It might be telling them that you’re intentional and pay attention to detail, or it could be giving off the impression that you’re uncertain, confused, and haven’t a clue what you’re doing.

A brand isn’t simply a logo and it isn’t just for large companies; a brand is the complete image of a business.

These quotes help break it down further:

“Your brand is your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from that of your competitors. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be, and who people perceive you to be.” - Entrepreneur.com

Your brand gives potential clients and customers a glimpse at what they will experience with your business; it sets expectations.

Take restaurants for example. 

Fast food chains like McDonald’s and Taco Bell have brands that are colorful and friendly. They’re trying to catch your attention. They don’t promise a fine dining experience. Instead, their brand tells you that you can expect a meal that’s quick and inexpensive.

Now think about some of the nicest, most expensive restaurants in your area. Chances are, their brands are more refined and sophisticated. You can expect to have a one-of-a-kind fine dining experience just from their visuals and their atmosphere.

My favorite part of the above definition from Entrepreneur is that last sentence. “Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be, and who people perceive you to be.”

Branding is a reflection of a business. 

Because businesses don’t have an appearance from the start, a brand is designed to visually reflect a business’s character.

Great brands are intentional about using elements like their logo, colors, and tone to portray not only who they are, but who they want to be. It’s like cleaning the house before guests come over; you want to put your best foot forward.

“Branding is the art of aligning what you want people to think about your company with what people actually do think about your company. And vice versa.” - Jay Bauer

“Your brand is whatever your customer says it is.” - Anonymous

In other words, branding is dressing your business for the part.

It’s the art of making your audience say the right things about and set the right expectations for your business.

Branding uses your business’s tone, logo, color scheme, and identity to align what you want people to think about your business with what people actually do think about your business.


How you’ll benefit from a one-of-a-kind brand

1  |  Branding gives customers a mental image of your business

Most of us have a visual memory; we remember things by what they look like. When we think about memories, people, or places, images usually come to mind.

The same is true for your business. The visual, tangible aspects of your brand give your audience images to remember your business by and associate with it. 

For example, when you think of McDonald’s, you probably think of those iconic yellow arches. When you think of Pepsi, you probably think of that round red, white, and blue logo. And when  you think of Nike, images of that simple, popular checkmark come to mind.

The same is true for your brand. What mental picture do you want people to have of your business?

2  |  Branding makes your business memorable and recognizable

Creating an image and identity for your business makes it recognizable, even if you’re only seeing one aspect of it. 

For example, what business might you think of if you saw someone pulling a foil wrapped burrito out of a brown paper bag with illustrative, handwritten text? 

These components of the Chipotle brand make the restaurant chain recognizable to its audience, even apart from the logo.

3  |  Branding differentiates your business from competitors

Branding gives you an opportunity to stand out and set yourself apart from similar businesses in your industry.

Consider the logos for FedEx, UPS, and the United States Postal Service. All 3 companies offer similar (if not identical) services, but their brands are entirely different. Each distinct visual identity helps differentiate their businesses from each other.


4  |  Branding creates an emotional bond and customer loyalty

We’re all guilty of preferring some brands over others, whether it’s a preference in a soda, car manufacturer, or toothpaste.

People develop an emotional attachment with their favorite brands, which creates customer loyalty. Every business owner longs for that loyalty from their audience, and branding has the potential to keep customers coming back time and time again.

5  |  And when it’s done right, branding will win the attention of clients and customers

When designed correctly, a great brand catches the eye of the clients you want to work with and the customers you want purchasing your products.


The Elle & Company Brand Workbook

Most people don’t have trouble understanding the importance of branding and recognizing their need for it. 


Creating a brand, however, is a whole different story! 

Trying to come up with a complete visual identity - colors, logos, fonts, etc. - that will appeal to customers and clients is much more difficult than it seems on the surface.

But you’re more than capable of creating a one-of-a-kind brand; you just need a game plan to follow.

So I created a game plan for you by mapping out the entire brand design process from start to finish. 

I broke it down into an easy to follow, 4-week workbook with an action step for each workday. Each action step takes less than an hour and I walk you through exactly how to tackle it.

In one month’s time, you’ll have created a one-of-a-kind experience for potential clients and customers through a beautiful brand.



You’re ready to build a one-of-a-kind brand

I’m thrilled that you’re investing time into creating a memorable brand.

Putting a face on your business will allow you to draw in clients and customers and serve them well with your unique, creative gifts. 

I can’t wait to see what you come up with!