A brand is formed by how the audience connects emotionally or ideologically to a person or company (i.e. evocative); branding is the brand’s experiential representation which supports and sustains that connection moving the audience toward action (i.e. provocative).
Visuals such as a logo design, color slate, and typography are the most obvious exhibitions of branding. Less obvious, yet equally important, are the subtle, impactful mechanisms such as the flow of information in marketing collateral; the tone of voice and perspective in brand communications; or the location and ambiance of a flagship brick and mortar establishment.
Branding is how the audience experiences a brand’s story. It unifies a visceral attachment with a tangible experience. Quality branding distills a brand’s what, how, and why into a distinct, memorable event.
Branding ensures consistency; it is how a person or company delivers a uniform experience to the audience across every touchpoint, inviting the audience to continuously engage.
User experience, or UX, is a consequential result of branding. Branding elements that lend to an exceptional UX include tonal perspective, personality, diction, visual aesthetic (UI, information architecture), sensory ambience (auditory, aroma), and communication style. Uniformity and alignment across these elements reaffirms the brand promise leading to customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.
Branding is not marketing. Posts on Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter, or emails and mailings discussing a sale or offer do not constitute branding. While consistent branding is important and should be present in these forms of engagement, the engagement itself is not an element of branding.
The role of branding is to highlight the experience of a brand. The experience created by the branding distinguishes a brand from other contenders in the industry. Branding is the indelible occurrence of what the customer sees, hears, smells, touches, or tastes when engaging with the brand and should be uniquely provocative.