Your Sparkly Brand is a podcast designed to inspire and empower women business owners. Megan Gersch and Lauren Tassi host a series of discussions about various branding and marketing topics, mindset challenges, and interviews with fellow biz owners. In this episode, we answer the question – what is branding in marketing? Listen to this episode of Your Sparkly Brand by tapping the play button or read the transcript below.

Introduction To Your Sparkly Brand

Megan: Hello and welcome to Your Sparkly Brand. This is the podcast designed to inspire and empower female entrepreneurs. on this podcast, we share valuable how to content discuss common mindset, challenges, and interview kick ass women business owners about their journeys. In a world that tries to pit females together, Your Sparkly Brand is celebrating successful women and nurturing the next generation so that we can lift each other up.

I’m Megan Gersch here with my cohost Lauren Tassi. Hi Lauren!

Lauren: Hello! How’s it going? Good. How are you? I’m great.

What Is Branding In Marketing?

Lauren: On today’s episode, we’re talking all about what is branding in marketing. It’s in the name of our podcast. It’s what we both do for a living. We just feel like this is the great second episode and a way to sort of make sure we’re all on the same page when we know what we’re talking about.

This is your crash course. This is branding 101. From our perspective, you know, branding is kind of a little bit of a subjective thing. So this is what we think about branding. I guess we’ll get into it. Let’s do it. So Meg, what is branding in marketing? Will you tell me what branding means to you, and then maybe if it’s different, I’ll jump in and my own thoughts.

Megan: Yeah, definitely. So branding to me is really the feeling or emotion that the audience has toward a business. I think that there’s a really big misconception that when you say “branding” to someone, their mind might automatically go to, “oh, this is just a logo.” This couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Branding consists of many, many different components, all kind of compiled together. Ultimately, it’s going to be how the customer feels about the brand itself.

Lauren: Yeah, one of the things (and I definitely didn’t come up with this, but I’ve heard and read this somewhere) is your brand is what people say or think about you when you’re not in the room.

It’s really about more of that, like overall feeling and perspective. It’s that sort of awareness part of marketing, not the direct response part of marketing.

What’s Included In Brand Identity?

Megan: Yeah. I love that quote so much. I absolutely agree with that. So let’s talk a little bit about your brand identity.

The brand identity is basically a suite of visual components that the business puts together and consistently uses across its channels in order to communicate its message. This could include their logo, the logo usage, their different fonts systems, any textures, patterns, photography, iconography, mission statement, core values, as well as social media guidelines.

Lauren: So since Meg really has the visual background and the visual expertise, she’ll be our like visual side of branding and I’ll be a little bit more than messaging / copy side of branding.

People that come to me and that are ready to work with a copywriter and get their brand voice set up. They already have the visual side. That seems to be the first step in branding when companies are just sort of getting going and they go, “well, we need a logo, we need colors, we need all of this.” Then, sort of the second phase of it is the brand voice.

That is something I specialize in – helping companies develop a bold brand voice. To me, there’s three elements to a brand voice. The first one is your word choice. So it’s the difference between starting your emails web, “Hey, babe.” and “Hello there.” It’s centered around what words does your company choose?

You’ll make those decisions based on who your customers are, who your brand archetype is, and how you want to position your brand. Is it a guru or is she the best friend. That helps to inform these other tools down the road.

So after word choice, the next big thing is tone. Again, that’s very much a part of a brand archetype. Like, are you always positive or are you always a cheerleader? Do you want to leave your customers feeling like inspired after they read an Instagram post or is it a totally different tone where it’s just very minimal where we don’t use unnecessary words? That kind of thing.

Then, cadence is another one. Are we using, you know, short, choppy sentences? Are we using these like long poetic phrases, and every brand is going have a different combination of those three elements in their brand voice.

Megan: Yeah, I think you bring up a really good point too, because there are certain brands that I follow that will speak in slang or have certain words that they use in their vocabulary. So, yeah. They use those kinds of terms just to speak to that ideal customer in their language.

Why Is Branding In Marketing Important?

Lauren: All right. So we sort of, we’ve sort of covered what branding is in marketing. Now, why is it important?

Megan: there are so many different benefits to having a great branding strategy. Most importantly, it helps you to attract your ideal customers as well as repel the people that you don’t want in your circle.

Lauren: Yeah. I’m sure you get this with your clients too, but my clients are always so hesitant whenever I talk about polarization or repelling.

It’s hard too when you’re the business owner to be like, “well, no, I want everyone to buy my stuff.” But there’s no way your stuff is for everyone. The people that are meant to be your customers are the people that are going to sing your praises and talk about you everywhere you go. You have to pull them in and then repel the people that aren’t right.

These people aren’t going to be happy – they are going to want refunds or just not appreciate what you do. So I’m sure that’s something you deal with too. Just try and that we have to have a balance here and not try and be everything for everyone.

Megan: Absolutely. Yeah. There’s that quote that goes something like, “if you try to speak to everyone, you’ll wound up speaking to no one” and it couldn’t be more true.

Branding Helps To Build Trust

Megan: Additionally, when you have a strong branding strategy, it helps to build trust with your audience.

This sends a visual message to your audience when they keep seeing you show up with the same visual identity, tone and messaging. This shows that you’re serious as a business that you are immersed in your niche.

It shows that you know what you’re talking about, you are a credible source.

Lauren: Yeah, trust is such a big one. If you’re selling products and you’re using Facebook ads or something, and you’re trying to send cold traffic and cold leads to a page to buy. If, all of a sudden, they hit that page and there’s something that feels off, right?

You could just be like the wrong colors or like something looks weird. They have those like badges for payment security. Sometimes those look weird and that’s like the first thing that’s going to make people go “No way. I’m not giving you my credit card.” Trust is so important and people, and I think kind of forget about that along the way.

Megan: Yeah. It’s funny that you mentioned that. I was actually reading this article yesterday that mentioned a study where they found that in 0.05. seconds, someone basically will make a snap judgment about your website. So that is that’s how much time you have to make a good impression.

So is that person going to stay on the website or are they going to bounce? That’s 0.05 seconds, which is like crazy.

Lauren: That’s half of a half-second.

But yeah, exactly. It’s those things that you don’t realize can be doing you harm when they don’t work, right? But when they work, right, it just makes the whole customer journey and the sales funnel sort of work smoothly.

Megan: Absolutely. Yeah. The thing about design is like, when it’s good, you don’t even notice it.

So when it’s not good, you always notice it. You don’t have to be a designer to understand what bad design looks like.

Lauren: I think you can say the same thing when it comes to copy and messaging, as well as you can, you can tell when it’s this brand you love and they’ve been, you know, you follow that.

They’re one of your favorite things to follow on Instagram. And then all of a sudden, like the tone changes, like they started have somebody else write their copy or it’s just like, it doesn’t feel right. You might not even be able to like, say it out loud or pinpoint it, but it’s just like something’s off and you’re not sure how to what happened.

Branding Helps To Establish Perceived Value In The Market

Megan: Branding also really helps businesses to establish perceived value with their audience. So I always like to give the example of, think about how you perceive Tesla as a brand versus Toyota. There’s probably a brand of those two that sticks out to you as kind of the more upscale of the two.

Additionally, branding really helps businesses to create brand recognition.

So when you start to see the same company, show up with the same colors, the same fonts, etc. over and over in your feed, you start to recognize that brand. Obviously, there might be a color that comes to mind when you think of Coca-Cola – what is it? It’s red, right? Like that’s because they’ve, over the years, they’ve built up their brand recognition around that core color.

Lauren: Yeah – the color thing. I was already thinking about Clicquot. The last time I was traveling and I was in Paris, we went to the vineyard and like the champagne house where they make the Clicquot. That shade of orange is just everywhere and they do it so beautifully. Like it’s on the uplighting that goes up the wall.

I don’t know if you can patent a color or whatever you can do, but that they own that color. Clicquot orange. Now I sometimes I’ll see it and be like, oh, that’s, that’s their color, you know? So if you can own a color, then you’re doing it right.

Megan: Yeah. Several brands actually own their colors, which kind of awesome to me as a designer. Just because it’s like, whoa. Like no one else in the industry can use that color, like ever, on anything.

How To Create Standout Branding

Lauren: So then, then it’s we understand what branding is. We know it’s why it’s important. How do we do it?

Megan: So you definitely have a couple of options when it comes to getting your branding in place. Obviously, there’s always the cheapest option of doing it yourself.

With this may come several challenges. Obviously, you’ll want to do a bit of research around your competitors, as well as kind of do a deep dive into what it means to be your brand. What is your business? What do you stand for? All of those kinds of internal questions that you need to ask.

Lauren: Yeah, I think one other thing to think about if you’re going the DIY route is to not forget that you are not your customer. Sometimes you might be close to being your customer, but you in fact are not the customer. So, if all pink everything isn’t going to work for your customers, but you love pink, and everything has to be pink, you might want to rethink that. Just really try and get into the mind of your customer before you sit down and do start, you know, really like laying out your brand.

Megan: Absolutely. Yeah. That’s one of the things that I say a lot to my clients too, is like, you have to really take a step back and remove yourself from your “favorites.”

This is because your favorite things might not resonate with your customers.

Lauren: If you don’t want to do it yourself, or maybe you’ve tried and you’ve read a million blog posts and spent hours on YouTube and you’re just still feeling lost, there are so many people out there that love to do this kind of thing and would love to help you. Meg and I are two of those people.

Megan: Shameless plug there!

Lauren: This is what we do. The other thing is just having a somewhat, an outsider’s perspective can be so helpful with this. Even if you can’t, you know, hire somebody to help you just get a friend to talk it out and just have somebody who’s way more objective and an outsider in your business than you are.

Because once you start to sort of get that new perspective, you see things totally differently. I won’t speak to your process, Meg, but for my process, if you come to me and you go “Lauren, we love our color palettes. We love our logo. We love everything in the visual side of our brand, but we need help with our brand voice in our copy.” What I’ll do is we’ll obviously go through a deep dive strategy call.

We’ll talk about what works, what doesn’t work. Talk about your client, your ideal client, your ideal customer. Then, I’ll put together a brand voice style guide for you, which is basically an entire document that you or anyone on your team at any point can refer to, to help you write copy and content for your business.

Creating A Brand Style Guide

It actually goes beyond just helping you stay consistent, helping you match your brand voice. It actually makes writing easier because you have this list of words that you can go to and say, “let me start my blog post with this” or “let me look at this idea” and write something on Instagram about this. It’s this resource you can turn to and you’ll have that forever.

So whether or not I help you with your website, I help you with stuff down the road. A brand voice style guide is definitely something that can be useful for any business. Once you go on to having a team of two members, I really highly suggest a brand voice guide.

Megan: Absolutely. Yeah, on the visual side of that, I always put together brand style guides for my clients for a few different reasons. Because number one, this is super helpful tool for any brand to have. It’s basically going to be the brand Bible that you refer to anytime you make any kind of visual asset for the company.

So I’m talking about banners, printed materials, digital assets, social media content, email banners, everything digital, and everything printed as well. Number two, if new team members come onto your team, this is a super helpful asset to be able to give to them.

If you’re outsourcing, this can be helpful as well. Just to be able to give them this brand guide, so that they have a full picture of the company’s brand fonts there, all of the styles, the colors, how photography is using in coordination with text, any social media guidelines that you have in place, etc.

Lauren: Yeah, it’s just a tool that’s going to help make your entire process easier. And the more you can grow, the easier it will be to bring on more people to help you out. For sure. So, we’ve got this great style guide. We’ve got everything in place. How are we going to use it?

How To Implement Your Brand Strategy

Megan: So from the digital side, you’re definitely going to want to put it on all of your digital assets, including your social media, your website, as well as any digital ads that you might be running from the company.

Lauren: Yeah. I mean the short answer is everywhere. Where, where do you not put your branding?

Megan: Yeah, I kind of look at branding as essentially like different touchpoints that you have with your audience, right? Like, think of every opportunity that you have to communicate with your customers as another opportunity to reinforce that brand.

Lauren: Yeah, showing up at, you know, every step along the way consistently. With that same voice, with that same palette. It builds that trust and you will not get a sale until you have established trust with your customer.

Unique Brand Strategy Starts With Knowing Your Target Audience

Megan: So let’s talk about some final tips for really nailing what is branding in marketing.

Lauren: Yeah. I want to start with knowing your target audience, but it’s also more than knowing your target audience. It’s actually doing some research, and not assuming things about your target audience. I see that sometimes where people go, “well, I think they’d like…” And that can really lead you down the wrong path, if you’re just assuming things, and you’re not talking to people and you don’t need to, you know, pay $10,000 to send a survey to a million people.

It’s just maybe talking to the people in your circle, in your network, who would be your ideal customers, you know, if you sell sparkly, kimonos, right? Talk to your friends that would wear a sparkly kimono and say, “oh, Hey, what are you looking for? What colors do you like the best? Would you buy this for this kind of thing?”

Just sort of doing that, that, that first step of the research will pay off so much for their down the end. You don’t want to make all these assumptions about your audience and then sit here with something that’s not selling because you didn’t put in the legwork.

Megan: I think the other side of that too, is taking a look at your competitors. It’s so easy to spy on your competitors.

“Spy on your competitors” isn’t this sneaky, weird thing. It can be super helpful and informative. Even going to their social media accounts and seeing what type of content they’re posting and how are they showing up for their audience. How are they speaking to their audience? What colors are they using? All of those components, try to take note of those things, and do this with a few different of their competitors to see if you can find any similarities.

Create Templates To Support Your Branding

The other big thing that I wanted to note is that consistency in branding is super key. One thing that I suggest to all of my clients is to get templates in place, especially for the visual assets. When you have templates in place for content creation, it’s going to make your process so much easier and faster. On top of that, you’re going to have that consistent look & feel when you show up with your posts.

Lauren: So what kind of templates are you talking? Just like social media specifically?

Are there templates you can use outside of that?

Megan: Absolutely. Yes. Social media templates, email templates, even like format type things. So I do a lot of content creation on Tiktok and there are a lot of creators on there that have the same format for their videos in every single video.

So establishing what that format is going to be. You say “Okay, here’s shot one. This is what we’re going to do. Then you pan over to this.” Just establishing that can be really helpful just because it creates that consistency for the brand.

Lauren: Yeah. I love that. And if it’s more work upfront, that will pay off down the end too, because you’re not trying to figure it out every time you’re trying to make something.

Let’s Connect

Megan: So if you’ve made it this far, you have made it to the end of “what is branding in marketing?” If you enjoyed this episode, make sure to follow us on social media at @yoursparklybrand.

Lauren: If you have a sparkly brand or you have any suggestions for female entrepreneurs who are slaying it and want to be on our podcast, send us an email at hello@yoursparklybrand.com.

Megan: And until next time, stay sparkly!