The Ultimate Guide to Branding in 2021 from Zehra Studio Skip to main content

One of the most common misconceptions people have about branding is that it’s all about your logo, or that it’s just your visual identity. This couldn’t be farther from the truth, and this short-sighted view of branding may even do more harm than good to your brand in the long run!

We’ve spent countless hours educating our respective audiences about the definition, importance, and uses of branding, and we’ve decided to combine all of our collective knowledge into one ultimate guide for you to reference the next time it crosses your mind.

So let’s dive in.

In order to understand what branding is, we must first understand what it is not.

Your Brand is Not:

  • Your logo // trademark
  • Your slogan // tagline
  • Your color palette
  • Your type selection
  • Your website

Together, all of these individual elements make up your visual identity, & are essential to communicating your brand to the masses. However, your visual identity is still only a small part of your brand. The strength of your branding isn’t just about your visuals—it’s actually a multi-faceted collection of your visuals & the meaning behind those visuals that determine your brand’s staying power. In reality, your brand’s visuals are only as powerful as the meaning they represent. 

And you can’t cultivate a visual identity until you’ve solidified the brand foundation first.

Your Brand Foundation is Made Up Of:

  • Your mission
  • Your story
  • Your target market
  • Your values 
  • Your personality & tone of voice
  • Your products & services
  • Your unique selling proposition

All of these serve to answer the very important questions of  “who are we?” “who do we serve?” and “what do we want to be known for?”

And you can’t expect to curate any show-stopping, magical, impactful visuals if you don’t first have the answers to these questions. And a lot of those answers only come through internal self reflection, as well as external market research.

The Definition of Branding

By definition, branding is a cumulation of everyone else’s thoughts, opinions, beliefs, feelings, & perceptions of you & your business

Which means at the end of the day, it’s not about you. It has everything to do with how others perceive you. 

In other words, think of your brand as your reputation. Luckily, there are ways you can influence this reputation, namely by being intentional & consistent in how you interact with the world. 

Branding Is All About Balance

Branding, in and of itself, is all about balance.

A brand exists at the intersection of how you want to be perceived & how others perceive you. It should encompass an intangible idea or feeling while also embodying a tangible being. When it comes down to it, it isn’t just about one thing or another—it’s only when you combine all of these elements together, both tangible & intangible, that you’re able to achieve a cohesive brand.

When you can harness the power of branding is when the magic really begins. And you’ll feel it, too—not only will you feel more emotionally & mentally aligned, you’ll also see tangible results from solidifying your brand’s guidelines:

1. You’ll notice milestones that previously felt unattainable are now being achieved quickly.

  • That’s because when you are intentional about defining your vision & true north, you get there faster. No more being distracted by shiny-object syndrome—you’ve got guidelines now that will keep you on track to success.

2. You’ll find it easier to generate leads.

  • A huge advantage to having professional branding is that your business can literally work while you sleep. When you have a brand identity in place, success happens passively instead of being intrinsically tied to your active time working on it. This means you’re able to generate more leads with less work.

3. You become the go-to expert.

  • Professional branding helps position you as an authority in your niche, as well as cultivates trust between you & your audience. Trust & reliability are based in consistency, so when you are promoting a consistent message, with consistent, show-stopping visuals, in accordance with consistent brand guidelines, you become a source of stability in your niche, which cultivates trust with your audience. And trust = sales.

4. You’ll outperform your competition.

  • Branding helps you analyze the competition to find gaps in the market & define your USP (unique selling proposition). In other words, it helps you stand out from your competition. Instead of competing with others in your niche with the same message, you’ll be able to clearly pinpoint how to stand out from the crowd & speak directly to your target audience.

5. Your team will outperform itself.

  • When everyone is aligned under the same vision & mission, pride & satisfaction increases. When a team is emotionally attached to its work, its physical productivity also increases. And when productivity increases, goals & milestones get closer, quicker.

In Summation…

In summation, branding is about so much more than just your logo. It’s your reputation, it’s your vision, & it’s a promise you make to your audience.

Do you have any unanswered questions about branding? Leave them here and we’ll answer them!

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    Taylor Fournier

    Taylor Fournier

    Taylor is the COO, co-founder, & client success manager of Zehra Studio. Her creative expertise and portfolio includes works in graphic design, photography, content marketing, and more. When she's not managing the day to day operations of the studio or bringing clients' visions to life through strategy & design, you can find her indulging at a local happy hour or performing with the Connecticut Hurricanes Drum Corps.

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