I’ve talked about the three core elements of branding in a few posts. But, I’ve never dived deep into what they mean and why you need to prioritize your entire brand; AKA, not just you logo.
So, what exactly are the three core elements?
Visual, verbal and experiential.
You most likely know the importance of visuals for your brand. You may have even heard about the verbal side of branding. But, the experiential branding may be the most powerful and most overlooked aspect of branding for small business owners.
Today, I’m sharing the inside scoop of each brand element and why implementing each element is so important to your business.
Let’s get started.
Visual branding includes everything from your logo to brand photos to web design and everything in between.
The visual aspect of your brand is vital to your business. It is how your audience identifies you and differentiates you from your competition. When visual branding is done well, you can identify a business with minimal context.
For example, if I say McDonald’s you can visualize the golden arches. If I say Target, you can visualize their bullseye.
In order for this to work, you need a clearly defined visual identity. This includes a logo, logo variations, a color palette, font system, application guidelines and more. Once these visuals are in place, you want to hone in on your brand voice.
Verbal branding, or brand voice, is the intentional use of words to express your brand. Whether you thoughtfully brand your business's voice or not, your audience does receive it.
Each time you write a blog post, Instagram caption or respond to an email... a brand voice is coming through.
The best way to define your brand voice is to identify the tone and the terminology of your brand.
Terminology: Why is terminology so important? Because, when it is done well you can create consistency, improve your marketing and foster a community. But, if you do it really well, people forget that the terms they’re using are branded.
Let’s look at Apple. They have dominated their market with branded terminology. Instead of selling a cellphone, they have iPhone’s. They don’t sell laptops or desktops, they sell Mac’s. These terms are commonly recognized and even used incorrectly in place of the product.
Tone: The reason Apple does so well with their terminology, is because they understand the tone of their brand and how it relates to their target audience.
The tone of your brand should be consistent with your mission and brand adjectives. Whether that is playful and inviting or corporate and educational you need to create consistency across your brand and marketing efforts in order to speak directly to your target audience.
Lastly, experiential branding. This is the aspect of branding most often overlooked, but it’s probably the most important. Experiential branding is understanding and influencing how your target audience feels when interacting with your brand.
Think of your favorite brand. You probably aren’t loyal to them simply based off of their products, you enjoy how their brand makes you feel and the experience they create for you.
Let’s take a look at Target.
Growing up I lived across the street from a Walmart, but 99.9% of the time I drove a few miles to shop at Target. It wasn’t because Walmart didn’t carry the products I needed, it was because I preferred shopping at Target.
I look forward to shopping at Target, because I enjoy the experience. When I shop at Walmart, it feels like I’m checking something off of my to-do list. It’s a chore, not an outing.
Brand loyalty and personal experience run deeper than convenience or possible cost-savings.
That is why I believe experiential branding is the most important aspect you can create as a business owner. Even if you don’t have a physical location, you can make your audience feel better about themselves, their business and their time spent when interacting with you.
Your visuals are clearly important to your brand, but they don't make up the entire package. Take the time to be intentional with your brand voice and brand experience and see how it changes your business!
Did any of these common misconceptions surprise you? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Leave a comment below!