Mar 27 · 4 min read

Getting your head around branding: A human approach

Image credit: Joe Shields Unsplash.

What about if we thought of branding differently?

Imagine if there was a simpler way to understand branding, one that made it relatable and easy to grasp. Picture gaining a clear understanding of branding, giving you a clearer picture of what it’s all about. One way to achieve this is by humanising branding, making it something you can easily relate to. This involves simplifying complex concepts, allowing you to see branding from a different perspective. So, where do we start? Let’s imagine branding as a person — someone you can easily connect with and understand. If it’s a rebranding, this person already exists; it could be a friend or a family member. However, if it’s a new brand, this person has yet to come, and that’s what we’ll focus on.

Finding purpose: How a brand’s beliefs shape its destiny. The mind of a brand

Think of a brand as having a mind like a person. This is where a brand’s core values and mission reside, similar to a person’s belief system. These are the dreams and principles that guide everything the brand does, much like how our personal belief systems shape who we are and our life choices. Understanding a brand’s values is similar to getting to know a person; it tells us what truly matters to them. It is at this stage that a brand discovers its ‘WHY,’ its fundamental purpose beyond profit. It’s comparable to a person identifying their life goals and purpose in life. If we don’t have a clear purpose, we can feel lost and disconnected, just as a brand won’t be able to connect with its audience without a defined purpose. This ‘WHY’ gives the brand three important elements: direction, drive, and connection.

People connect, just like brands aim to do

Just as individuals navigate social settings to find their tribe, positioning a brand involves discovering its place in the market. It’s akin to a person attending a large gathering, seeking the group that resonates most with them, where values, interests, and stories align seamlessly. Positioning isn’t just about finding a spot on the shelf in the market space, but to identify the brand’s ideal audience — those who genuinely can and will connect with its unique attributes and message.

Positioning also involves selecting a place that isn’t overly crowded and where you don’t have to shout to be heard. In this space, the brand forms meaningful relationships, becoming the go-to choice for an audience that sees it as an extension of their own identity and values.

Just as it’s important for a person to thrive in life — to find their voice and their tribe, so it’s important for a brand to be positioned right so it can find its space and connect to its audience, forming long-lasting relationships.

Your brand’s voice: speaking like a person and its impact

Just as finding one’s tribe is essential for a person to thrive in life, discovering one’s voice holds equal importance. This principle extends to brands as well. Understanding their tone, whether they are naturally outspoken or softly confident, is crucial for effective communication with the right audience in the right manner. A brand’s tone and voice parallel a person’s voice; it can evolve and transform over time, mirroring our progression in expressing thoughts and feelings more effectively as we grow. Through consistent communication with its target audience, individuals become accustomed to the brand’s unique communication style.

A brand’s voice plays a vital role in building trust and rapport with its audience. It connects the brand with the right people using a style that resonates with them. Just as the feeling is evoked by hearing your friend’s voice, the audience should instantly connect with the brand’s voice, recognizing it as uniquely theirs.

The brand’s appearance: Visual identity

Imagine a person and their distinctive style — how they dress and present themselves. Now, picture a brand’s visual identity working in the same way. Like a person’s attire, hairstyle, and overall look are influenced by their beliefs and social circle, a brand’s visual identity is shaped by its core values and the message it wishes to convey. Consider the logo as the brand’s signature attire, colours and patterns as its wardrobe choices, and the typeface as what encapsulates the character, tone, and style of the brand’s messaging. These elements blend to create the brand’s appearance, making a statement and leaving a lasting impression. In essence, a brand’s visual identity mirrors its unique style — a visual avenue to express its identity and purpose.

The brand’s life story: Journey and growth

This ‘map’ becomes a crucial tool, ensuring consistent engagement with the right people in the right places. Much like a traveller who, over time, becomes acquainted with the people and places they revisit, the brand integrates itself into the audience’s life. This presence builds familiarity, trust, and connection, transforming the brand from a mere entity to a valuable part of the audience’s journey.

Conclusion: A person’s first perspective

If you’re starting a brand or seeking to define your brand more clearly, consider the power of thinking about it as a person. By breaking it down into its core values, outward appearance, and journey, you can simplify the branding process and make it more relatable.

Have branding questions? Let’s talk.