The Role Branding Plays

Branding is the ultimate representation of your company. That’s a bold statement, especially if you’re a non-believer.

Hear me out.

Most people think that branding is just a logo. Some organizations expand that definition to include colors, slogans, maybe fonts; but that’s not all that branding is. Let’s start by giving a concrete definition to the word, “branding”. I tried really hard, but the only dictionary I could find with a coherent definition was Cambridge:

brandingnoun [ U ] 

UK  /ˈbræn.dɪŋ/ US  /ˈbræn.dɪŋ/

the act of giving a company a particular design or symbol in order to advertise itsproducts and services:

The successful branding and marketing of the new beer has already boosted sales and increasedprofits.

This is a really good example of how we, as business people and entrepreneurs, trivialize branding to mean something as simple as logo, slogan, or colors. This is a very poor way to look at branding because it leaves out what branding is at its most basic level.

First let’s ask the question: why is branding important in advertising?

That has an easy answer. Branding is important because it provides a singular focus point for your organization. Let’s look at Nike for a great example.

The slogan, “Just Do It,” isn’t talking about shoes. The swoop and slogan are designed to simplify their product line into a single idea; an idea that you can get behind. Nike doesn’t advertise that they make 7462964946352749 different kinds of shoes, they advertise an idea which encompasses what they stand for.

In this scenario, what is really the brand here? Is the brand the image and the words? Or is Nike’s brand the idea behind what their company is?

Look at Nike’s current marketing campaigns and their activism and support of professional athletes that kneel for the anthem. That is Nike’s brand because that’s what Nike stands for.

Even if we accept the plain statement that their branding is just those shapes, colors and words, it’s undeniable that the reason Nike is successful with their advertising is because their brand means something, and it means something that people want to be a part of.

Would we know any better if the swoop was green? Would we care if it was a different shape? Probably not. What we care about is what the brand stands for and the context Nike gave itself.

Now what does the definition of branding look like if we hold this as an example? I would define branding as the over simplification of a company’s outward appearance to an easily digestible, focal point that conveys an organization’s foundational principals.

This definition takes a company’s DNA, everything that they are and stand for, and compresses it to a single point that customers can focus on.

If we put this into context for us, it’s hard to remember and focus on the ten thousand ways Arrow Multimedia produces media that grows brands, but it’s easy to focus on a simple icon, an arrow, that shows we move businesses forward.

What does your brand communicate to your customers?