What Does Branding Mean?

Branding has so many different meanings today, I believe this is why the word is getting confused. Since my business is centered around visual branding I thought I would share the differences between communicative branding, personal branding, visual branding and corporate branding.

Communicative Branding

There are those that are writing masters. They can craft a message they want to share and be right on target. They have just the right combination of poetic savvy and marketing expertise to get you wanting more, sharing and buying just what they are selling. They had you at hello.

How do they do this and why are they calling what they do “branding.” The reason is because every business has a way of speaking and writing, but sometimes they need help expressing themselves so they are attracting the audience they want. This is where people who are clever with words can help you fine-tune and uniquely describe your offerings so it makes sense, attracts and you succeed. Some even help create your new platform along with naming suggestions for your products and services.

Personal Branding

With personal branding the brand is centered around the person, usually a celebrity. With this type of branding we’d be looking at their style from head to toe and what they stand for. What are they trying to get across to us? What do they wear including colors, fabrics, shoes, bags, and other accessories. How do they wear their hair and who styled it. How do they act, speak, sing, and who photographs, films them. What type of films do they make and why? For example, if you were to think of these two people, they obviously have very different brands, Sean Penn and Lady Gaga.

Where are they featured, in what magazines and on which news or interview program. The branding is all about the person. Their brand is them and when we think about them we are crystal clear on who they are and what they are about. (With celebrities though, you never know.)

Visual Branding

In visual branding we’re focused on the solopreneur, small business, and corporation. This includes all designed items: wordmark or logo; iconic graphic; print marketing materials like business cards, stationery, envelope, posters, labels, brochures, direct mail, postcards, packaging, products & outdoor signage; web presence including: website, store, blog, video, Powerpoint presentations, and social media graphics and pages. All of this is designed and built in a very structured, step by step and consistent way. The color palette, functionality and design should be a reflection of the business but also be a mirror to the visitors.

Corporate Branding

With corporate branding this would combine the communicative and visual branding together. The mission and communication must be established clearly before the visualization for the identity campaign begins. Then the creative leads with the new or rebranded identity, marketing strategy for print and web and creates a style guide for the company to follow. The specific pieces to be designed may be a bit different from what a solopreneur would need, but communication must still be strategized.

From Wikipedia on the definition of “branding.”

Brand, a name, logo, slogan, and/or design scheme associated with a product or service

  • Brand management, the application of marketing techniques to a specific product, product line, or brand
  • Personal branding, people and their careers marketed as brands
  • Co-branding, associates a single product or service with more than one brand name
  • Branding agency, a type of marketing agency which specializes in creating brands