What Is Branding?: A Quick and Dirty Guide

Marley Elise
Feb 17, 2023

If you've ever posed the question of "what is branding?" to a group of designers, you're bound to get a variety of answers. It's a complex topic that's brimming with nuances and subtleties, making it anything but simple to explain.

But at its core, branding is the art of creating a unique identity and image for a business or product. It's all about developing a visual and messaging strategy that captures a business's personality, values, and mission.

So, What’s The Big Deal? Why Should You Care About Branding?

Think of your favorite coffee shop. The reason why it's your favorite is likely a combination of factors, such as the atmosphere, the background music, and the quality brews and blends. All of these elements work together to create a certain feeling or vibe that you associate with that coffee shop. This feeling is the coffee shop's brand – it's the unique identity that sets it apart from other coffee shops and makes it memorable to you.

Branding is the secret sauce that can turn your business into a cult favorite. It's what makes people want to follow you on Instagram, share your posts with their friends, and shout your praises from the rooftops. It's what builds trust, creates loyalty, and helps you stand out in a crowded marketplace.

In fact, a study by the Design Management Institute found that well-branded, design-led companies outperformed the S&P 500 index by 228% over the course of a decade.

Good brand design is not just aesthetically pleasing; it's also a crucial factor in a company's success.

Where Did Branding Come From?

The term "branding" originated from the practice of branding livestock, which involved burning a unique symbol onto the skin of animals to indicate ownership. The practice dates back to ancient times, and was later adopted in the American West during the 19th century as a way for ranchers to distinguish their cattle from those of others.

Over time, the concept of branding expanded to include products and businesses, and today it has become a crucial element of marketing and advertising.

There Is No ‘Opt Out’

Branding isn’t something that you can ‘opt-out’ of as a business. Whether you invest thousands of dollars into professional brand identity design, or go the DIY logo route, you are still subjected to the perceptions of the public (aka, your potential customers), and you're still creating an image for your brand through both intentional and unintentional actions.

Think about it - everything from the kind of packaging you use, to the way you structure your work day, to your demeanor online and in person, to your tone when interacting with customers; it’s all a part of your brand. It all contributes to the way people perceive and interact with your business.

More Than Just A Business

But branding is not just about slapping a logo on your website and calling it a day. It's a holistic approach that involves developing your brand's voice, colors, typography, visuals, and more. Consistency is key when it comes to branding, and everything should be on-brand and visually stunning.

Think of branding as the fashion statement of your business. It's the outfit that makes everyone go "ooh la la" when you walk in the room. It's the personality that makes people want to hang out with you at the party instead of the boring old guy in the corner. It's the vibe that says "we're not just a business, we're a freakin' movement!"

And here's the thing: branding isn't just for big corporations with fancy budgets. It's for the scrappy startups, the one-woman shows, and the side hustles too. It's about showing the world what you're made of, and doing it in style.

You Want To Be That Brand.

The brand with eye-catching visuals to inspire curiosity. The brand built upon a potent story that your people can connect to. The brand that can cut through the noise and market saturation, serving a stand-out, immersive customer experience that keeps them coming back for more.

Strategic branding has the power to truly invoke emotion and captivate your audience, creating a sense of loyalty that isn’t given to just any business. By working with Siren Creative, you have the opportunity to be proactive with your branding, ensuring your business makes the impression you want.