What Is A Branding Suite? And Why Does It Matter?
If you only have 2 seconds to read this blog, here's the take home summary:
A logo is not a brand.
For those that have a little more time up their sleeves, here's the slightly longer version.
When starting a new business venture, our first task is usually a name. Then we look to a logo. Then we look to make it big.
But there's a few steps either side of this that we need to consider that can impact the longevity of your business because...
A logo is not a brand.
When we start our business, we are starting in the knowledge of who we would like our ideal customer to be. This customer has a persona, who acts, thinks and makes purchases a certain way. They communicate a certain way, and it's our brand's job to speak to them in a way that lights up their inner power to buy buy buy (or just interact). We need to ensure our brand messaging and vision align with this ideal customer and, more importantly, that this is communicated consistently across the online platforms we choose to interact with.
For example, we may own an online clothing boutique, that specialises in festival outfits (I know, I know, 2020/21 was probably not our greatest years). Our 'ideal' customer is an individual who loves the festival scene, loves bright colours and the latest fashion crazes. They are around 23-30 years old, love memes and pop culture and perfer a casual communication style (with enough slang and buzz words to scare even the greatest of Gen Z). Therefore, while our logo may speak to our ideal customer, other elements of our brand (if we've thought about them) may not. Like advertising the ideal work outfit, or what to make for Sunday breakfast...).
Understanding the elements of a branding suite
If a branding suite consists of more than simply a logo, what does it include?
A comprehensive branding suite takes the knowledge of our ideal customer, and in collaboration with our brand messaging and taglines, translates it in to something tangible.
We have our logo. Check.
But what about an alternate logo, that might be used across social media, or within different situations. This may simply be one that includes your tagline, vs one that doesn't, or there might be a colour variation. Or maybe a change in size. You might also want a submark, or brand icon, especially if your main logo is quite intricate, that's easily translated across multiple social profiles or print media.
Next, we need to think about typograhy, including our logo, headings, subheadings or text fields. We want something that's recognisable, suitable (no, you can't use Comic Sans) and that we, once again, use consistently across all of our digital and print media.
After our typography, we start thinking about our brand colours. We need primary and secondary colour palettes, as well as various shades and tints to match our brand messaging. While colour theory is a huge topic, a good research project to perform is looking at the colours and logos of your competitors. Are they all a similar colour or are there some outliers? Are you one of those outliers?
The idea is that, little by little, we're building our ideal customer from various design elements, and ensuring it stays on brand in all of our interactions with that customer.
But things change, and brands pivot, and we need to allow room for that to happen (and that it's ok to change!)
If something about our branding isn't working anymore, change it. Maybe the shade of red you chose is just a bit full on. Or the mint green just doesn't resonate with your snow boot brand. Change it. Keep changing it until you can get back to that balance between how you want your brand perceived vs how it actually is perceived.
But, even with all of the above, our branding suite can be so much more.
We're talking brand patterns, advertising material, templates and our social media presence. The possibilities are seemingly endless, and something that can't instinctively be communicated with a logo alone.
In summary, broadening your horizons to incorporate a branding suite in your creative marketing efforts allows you to understand in greater detail how you would like your brand to be viewed and how you anticipate your customers to interact with you. It creates an identity that you believe in, and can put passion behind to propel your business to success.
But it usually starts with a logo.