The anatomy of a brand: 6 key elements

Most people think that a brand is a logo, colour scheme, brand name and visuals – and that’s not entirely wrong but that’s only a small part of what your brand is.

What is a brand?

Your brand is an outward expression of what you stand for inwardly

Here’s an example;  I’ve deliberately named my business after myself because so much of me is in it, what you see from KDM is a physical manifestation of  many of the beliefs, aspirations, dreams and values that exist within me.

Even if you’re a business and your brand doesn’t include your name and is separate to you, it is still a manifestation of the values behind the business. Some semblance of your personal value system will be in there somewhere.

Branding is bigger than most people think

Your brand is about so much more than your colours, logo, slogan etc. it’s embodied in everything your business does; from answering the phone, to the way you deliver your service and everything in between.

As a marketer when I look at developing a brand – I think about something called brand positioning – brand positioning is central to your brand – and it’s how you want your brand to be perceived in the minds of your audience.

When you think about your brand in those terms it becomes deeper and more far reaching. Here’s the thing – for your brand to occupy a space in the minds of consumers, it can’t be just about colours, logos and uniforms – as important as those things are.

If you have a great looking brand for instance and provide a shoddy service, you’re not going to be perceived as a luxury brand no matter how great your logo looks. This is why it’s so important that you reflect a consistent brand

image across everything that your business does.

Consistency is key – you must be singing from the same hymn sheet in everything you do

The 6 elements of a compelling brand

Brands like people are unique, but they are compromised of the following 6 key elements:

1. Desired Positioning

What position do you want to hold in the mind of your ideal customers? The aim of brand positioning is to identify a niche, a unique position and attempt to “own” it through your product, or service using various strategies including pricing, promotion, distribution, packaging etc.

For example; the unique position I want Katrina Douglas Marketing to hold is the premier marketing company for those who have an idea and want to launch it within the next 6 months, or have launched it within the past 24 months and want to establish a strong brand and marketing foundation.

2. Products and benefits

Your products/ services and the benefits that they offer are one of the primary elements of your brand. The tangible attributes such as look, feel and the experience they deliver, as well as the intangible benefits such as the way staff make customers and clients feel.

It’s important that the product and service you deliver match the messaging that your brand conveys. Your brand messages may get people to purchase, but it’s the quality of your product and the experience that you deliver that’s going to keep them coming back.

3. Style and visuals

These are the common elements that are most associated with a brand; colour scheme, fonts, logo, visuals etc. It’s important that you consider these visuals carefully and commuicate these elements consistently. People should be able to look out your website, business cards, printed materials and social media pages and know that it’s your business. They shouldn’t be confused and wondering because your logo colours, and general visual feel is so different from one channel to the next. An inconsistent brand identity can give the ipression that your business is unprofessional and inexperienced.

Colour psychology is also important when it comes to your brands visual identity, remember that colours have meaning and convey different things, so be sure the coours you choose aren’t just the ones one like, but also reflect the values you want to convey.

4. Mission

What is your big idea – why does your business exist – what impact do you want your business to have on the world?

Your mission is a big part of your brand identity when people engage with your brand they should feel like they’re part of something, like they’ve joined a tribe and their part of a movement. The most successfiul brands are connected to an idea that is bigger than the products and services that they actually sell.

5. Vision

How do you see your business developing in the next 1, 3, 5, 10 years?

Where you plan to go tomorrow affects the brand you create today, it needs to be able to accomodate your vision for the future. You don’t have to have it all figured out, but you should have an idea of where you’re heading. For example, if you start a fashion retail business and you begin by selling shoes, you might call your brand ‘fabulous Footwear’. However, if you know that you’ll be expanding your range in the future, you know from the outset that ‘Fabulous Footwear’  is too narrow to accomodate the vision. This is a basic example but hopefully it illustrates the point.

6. Values 

When people interact with  your business what values do you want them to encounter?

These will no doubt start with your own value,s but you want to identify no more than three that are central to your business. These values will form the basis of your brand messaging. Here are mine:

  • Honesty
  • Authenticity
  • Excellence

I’d love to hear yours, do feel free to drop them in the comments!

Before I sign-off just a couple of reminders

  • You can catch me live on Facebook every Wednesday, where I share a valuable marketing tip to help you move from a great idea to a great business, like my Facebook page for the time and notifications each week.
  • I’ve written a book on marketing, motivation and the start-up journey that I’m really excited about. It will be launched this summer, sign-up for sneak peaks and updates.