Brand-building is key to any successful business. Design plays a critical role in the development and evolution of a brand over time. Here, we ask four branding experts about the factors that influence brand success and why. All have taught branding workshops that you can watch for free during Branding Week, June 20 to 24 on Creative Live.
Meet the 4 Branding Experts
Megan Auman is a designer, metalsmith, educator and entrepreneur who has built a multi-faceted business around her passion for great design and sustainable business. Her eponymous jewelry line is sold in stores across the U.S. and online. Her designs have been featured in Design Sponge, Better Homes and Gardens, Cooking Light and more. In her class, Brand Your Creative Business, you’ll explore what makes your business a unique brand and find ways to share it. You’ll learn about implementing a brand strategy and growing and protecting it.
April Bowles is a writer, creative business consultant, marketing strategist and photography dabbler. She wants to live in a world where artists and makers adore their blogs, write with confidence and know how to get their unique work in front of people who love it—and scramble for their credit cards because they just “have to have it.” In Make Your Creative Business Uniquely Successful, April will help you cultivate a deeper confidence in your product through developing a more nuanced understanding of your brand.
Stanley Hainsworth is founder and chief creative officer of Tether, a design and branding agency in Seattle. Prior to founding his own agency, he worked as creative director, defining and reshaping the stories for Starbucks, Lego and Nike. In his class, Branding Essentials for Designers he’ll talk about the role stories play in developing a strong brand identity and how to create a strategic roadmap for sharing a brand story with the world.
Lewis Howes is a lifestyle entrepreneur, high performance business coach, author and keynote speaker. He hosts The School of Greatness podcast, which has received millions of downloads since it launched in 2013. His newest book, The School of Greatness, provides a framework for achieving real, sustainable, repeatable success. His class, Start Your Profitable Podcast & Build a Brand, will show you how to start a podcast that makes money and grows your brand.
Learn from the Branding Experts
HOW: What’s the difference between a brand and a set of branded elements?
Howes: Your brand is the feeling people get when they interact with you or your work. It’s how they remember you and what they say to someone else when describing you. Your brand elements are just the visual representation of that feeling.
Bowles: A brand is all the marketing and communication you do to differentiate your business from the competition. Branded elements like a logo or business card are pieces that help to make up your brand.
Hainsworth: A set of branded elements are the badges and the delivery mechanisms for a brand. A brand is a thing, but it’s also a feeling, a movement, a passion. A brand puts a promise out into the world, “if you interact/experience/try our product or service then you will…”
Auman: Simply put: Emotion. A brand is an emotional connection repeated over time. Brand elements are one signifier of those emotions. The challenge in branding is that it’s very difficult to build an emotional connection simply through the elements we traditionally associate with branding. The emotional appeal comes from the product itself, the stories a company tells, the experiences customers have with the company (both online and off), the experiences customers have with the products, and even the way a company is represented in the media.
What person or company, in your opinion, is currently doing the best job at branding, and why? What sets them apart from the competition?
Howes: I think The Rock (Dwayne Johnson) is on top of his game and brand in a big way. He dominates at social media and has mastered letting his authentic self through in all of his interactions with fans and the press. His brand really reflects who he is, and he’s attracting the opportunities he wants because of it.
Hainsworth: Virgin has a brand and branded elements that are consistent across multiple consumer categories. The multiple brands share the right amount of brand-ness and branded-ness that unites them from the inside out and the outside in. They don’t create industries or categories, they go in and disrupt them, do it better. And then they back it up with their attitude, service, pricing, branded elements.
Bowles: Marie Forleo is a great example of a business that kills it when it comes to branding. From the fonts to the images to the web design to the videos to the products—everything works together and sets the brand apart from everything else out there. What Marie does better than many other businesses is that she stays true to who she is and doesn’t jump on trends for the sake of being cool.