Have you ever had a nickname? Anyone ever come to you for help with a very specific task that you were the best person to do? Have you ever requested a specific stylist or barber to do your hair? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are already familiar with branding at its core level.
Rather than get scientific, let's simplify things. Branding is a broad term, however a brand defines something in multiple ways, with multiple descriptions. Or even simpler, a brand is how people identify you. They identify you by the way you make them feel. This can be a huge company, or a single person. Ever been to a family gathering and there's that uncle or auntie that always tells the same old dad jokes, or forces you to eat the same old crap. These relatives are branded now. You know they will tell these jokes, or feed you the slop. That is how you perceive them, and how they are known to other members of the family. This is all branding.
To the streamers out there, have you ever felt bad because you missed a chat message? Did you ignore the miss and move on, or did you apologize? It doesn't matter what you did, but how that chatter felt after your actions is a little slice of your brand to them now.
Ever felt like channeling your inner Karen and holler at the manager on duty while you were out shopping? Something go wrong with your order? In that moment, you branded that business with how they made you feel. Branding is all about feeling. It's not just a logo. Keep that in mind when starting up your company, or designing for yourself. However, the visuals are important too.
Let's look at the Nike Swoosh. You recognize it. It is literally everywhere on people's feet, shorts, tops; you name it. They can't put a new icon in its place because of how recognizable it is. This visual is small, but powerful. What if Nike opened up a hotel? Do you think you can predict the type of service and variety of amenities offered if you saw the Nike Swoosh on the outside of a hotel? I bet you can. I'd bet you have already thought about the design style of the lobby, and the check in desk. Maybe there are fitness centers in each room vs a community one, or maybe they have them both? Who knows. The point is, if Nike opened a hotel and you saw the Swoosh on the front of that building, you would not have to walk in to know what type of experience you will get if you visit. You already can feel it just by thinking about it. That is the power of branding with strong visuals, and consistency.
Consistency isn't easy. Sometimes you need to plan it out ahead of time. Sometimes not, but I would highly recommend planning some basics out before diving into creating your business identity. To help you out, we have created our own basic brand assets page. This is not the instruction manual on how to create a brand identity page; rather, a place for you to find examples and maybe some inspiration on how to create your own road map.
When it comes to branding, you are you. People can recognize you if they know you. How do they know you? How do you make them feel? That is your brand.