What branding is NOT?

Posted on 04 24, 2017

Everyone knows what is branding. Everyone can give examples of Nike, Adidas and Apple’s logos. And while we do agree with what they know about branding, we want to tell them a little bit what they DO NOT know about it.

Often heard discussion about branding, among the designers, developers and clients :

“A branding of a company represents its personality, its attitude. A brand distinguishes one company from another.”

“Branding is a consistent set of a visual existence of a company. Branding starts with a logo design and continues in all online and offline marketing materials.”

“Nike, Adidas, Apple, Standard Charted Bank. Their logos are so simple and minimal. They don’t have to write a slogan to explain what they do. But still, they have managed to create a brand of themselves. Because they use a consistent color palette, consistent type of images and designs. That’s how they managed to create their unique & distinguished brand.”

These statements are not wrong.
But they are incomplete.

And we won’t be writing about what branding is because we guess everyone knows about it, right?

But let us tell you what branding is NOT.
Branding is NOT just a good looking logo.
It is NOT about the consistent colour palette.
It is NOT the consistent guidelines of how to design banners, ads or print materials.

Having an understanding of the importances of the logo, colours and design will help a company or a designer to create a unique, consistent design, but not the brand.

Because most of the time we miss out the main element of branding. The emotional element. The human element. The product, the service, the feelings, the communication, the interaction. The “feelings” that a customer feels through the products, services, messages, advertisements and communication of a company, that is a “brand”.

Yes, that is the most important factor in creating a brand. Logo and other design can only facilitate further on. But the core of a brand lies in what its customer feels, thinks and says about it.

Imagine, if Nike didn’t exist before yesterday. And if only today it started its company with its iconic Swoosh logo and all its ads, websites and products with perfect branding-oriented designs, would its brand have the same impact on us? Would we sense the “Athletics”, “Adventure” & “Doers” personality in its logo in the first glance? Would we be able to “feel” anything in this Swoosh icon?

No. because Nike has put years of works to establish that brand. It’s not only that logo, or website or the ads, it’s the carefully designed products they create that makes the customers feel special, connected and made for them. It’s the solutions they create for the problems of their targeted customers. It’s their consistent tone and attitude in their advertisement that touched the hearts of athletes, adventurers and do’ers.

It’s because they have now created a mission, a level of quality, the standard. So, it’s logo, it can now carry and deliver their brand, But it itself is not the brand.

Some of the world-known brands:
Toyota: Reliability
BMW: Luxury
Ferrari: Speed
Apple: Design
Android: Community
Nepal: Tourism
Nike: Athletic
Seven Eleven: Available everywhere

So, before hiring a branding designer, a company should think first:
– What is your mission?
– What are the unique benefits and features of your products/services?
– What level of quality/standard/cost will be associated with your company?
– What should a customer “feel” about your company?

Otherwise just imagine again,
A new shoe company is started just today, and below is their logo:
Is it a good branding design?


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