Branding is an important part of creating a fashion business that is recognizable, attracts paying customers and separates you from your competitors. However, even though branding is a crucial part of the game, it is also one of the most misunderstood. Brand and branding have two very different meanings, however, a lot of entrepreneurs tend to mix up these terms and use them incorrectly.
If you aren't quite sure what brand and branding mean, here's a really easy way to understand.
Your brand is what other people think about your business and products. Your brand is a collection of expectations, memories, experiences, feelings, and stories that all play a role in a consumer’s decision to choose your product or service over another. Because your brand is essentially someone else’s opinion, you don’t have direct control over your brand. You can’t tell someone what to think about your business, however, you can help them come to a positive conclusion about it through strategic branding.
Take Nike for example. When you see the Nike swoosh, or someone carrying a Nike bag or wearing Nike shoes, what thoughts, feelings, and emotions immediately pop into your head? When you think about Victoria Secret, what images, thoughts, feelings, and emotions immediately pop into your head? These thoughts are what make up the Nike and Victoria's Secret brand. Nike and Victoria's Secret can't tell us as consumers what to think about their business but, through strategic branding, they can help guide us into thinking a certain way.
Branding is an action. It's everything you do (or don’t do) that paints a specific picture of your business to the world. Branding is the act of creating a perception. It’s everything you put into the world that works to build recognition, loyalty, and trust. Many people associate branding with their logo and website design, and although this is partly true, it’s not all of it.
It's not just the Nike logo that gives us a perception of their business. It's the images they use, their message, their price point, their customer service, the colors they use, the people who endorse their product. Everything.
Many times creatives tend to focus on the visual side of branding and neglect the other equally important elements. This often results in a visually appealing appearance but no substance. Everything you do or don’t do in your business affects your customer experience so it's extremely important that you determine the kind of message you want to send your audience before you start creating your visual identity.