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Would Someone Please Tell Me What Branding Is?

There is definitely some confusion about what branding is. Is it your logo? Is it your website? Is it your name? The answer is “yes” to all of these.

These are some elements of branding, but there is a whole lot more to it, including typography, color, voice and messaging. All these elements contribute to the brand experience.

One of the best definitions of branding I’ve heard comes from branding expert David Brier who said, “branding is the art of differentiation.”

Jeff Bezos from Amazon put it another way: “Branding is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.”

Both are great definitions but the way I love to look at branding is simply, ”branding is the way something makes you feel”. That sums it up more succinctly because branding is not what you see or hear necessarily, but it is the overall experience of your interaction with a company or person.

One of my favorite brand experiences is Dollar Shave Club. They have a fantastic brand that embodies all the elements that make up a great brand. From the introductory ordering process, to the membership sign-up, to the arrival of the order, and the interaction with the website in between all of these, their messaging is consistent as is their design. There is quality in the execution and there is quality in the product itself. I not only enjoy a great shave experience with their product, but I also love their hair care products.

One of the neatest, unexpected interactions with their website is one that is very different from most e-commerce sites. Most will show you everything they've got and let you choose based on what you think you need. DSC will actually guide you through it in a very simple and entertaining fashion where you answer a few questions while fun little animations illustrate the effectiveness of their product. When you are done answering these few questions they make their recommendations based on your answers.

Even after the sale, it’s hard not to enjoy the membership that comes along with it. Inside the box when you receive your product is an interesting little newsletter that has valuable information spoken in a tone that is hip and relevant. No stuffy corporate speak here!

All in all, my experience with Dollar Shave Club was easy and fun and I’m fully satisfied with the product itself which makes my entire experience with their brand an excellent one.

That experience IS the brand.

So if you’re already established and want to find out what your brand currently is, simply read through the reviews online from unbiased customers. They will not hold back. They will tell you exactly what their experience has been.

Based on that you can either keep doing what you’re doing if it’s positive, or make some serious changes if it’s not. The good news is that what your brand conveys is totally up to you. You control how people feel about your company. You control your branding.

Rob Genovesi is a husband, father and Chief Beast at Unleash My Beast Brand, a branding and design company built specifically to help service-based businesses break away from being bland by coaching them on how to raise their image and their game above the average, same-same businesses in their industry.
Rob speaks regularly on the topics of design and branding, and hosts the “Building Beast Brands” podcast.
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