I could summarise this question in one simple sentence and say "Well that's impossible, because even when you don't brand you're still branding" but we're all here to learn, so let's explore this question a bit more thoroughly!
Branding allows you to form a connection with your customers! Imagine if your favourite supermarket had 'bad' branding, would you trust them to supply you with your food, toiletries and other necessities?
Time for a quick quiz, Below is a company's logo:
What do you think this company does?
What do they sell?
Would you buy from them?
Who is their target audience?
Okay, how about now?
This is the exact same business, with the same name and they provide the same services. So what is it about the second logo that gives you so much more information? The answer is Active Branding!
Now, please don't get confused. Your logo doesn’t complete your branding, but using the logo as an example, you can clearly see the difference between branding that’s been thought about and a brand created through shortcuts.
YOUR CUSTOMERS HAVE AN IMAGINATION
When I asked you what you thought this company does, what they sell, who they sell to and if you would you buy from them, you didn't have anything to go on but text in a simple font. This lead you to look up into your brain (even if it was just for a second) and use your imagination to develop some answers.
Because of its limited design, it's your imagination that will form the brand of this business and this is the main issue that arises when you don’t brand actively. The last thing you want is for customers to think neutrally about your brand or even worse, negatively about it - we want your brand to stand out in a positive way!
So back to this logo. I took the quiz myself and here is my evaluation of the basic logo;
- LOOKS LAZY, THE LOGO SHOWS THAT IT TOOK 5 SECONDS TO WRITE AND LITTLE THOUGHT WENT INTO IT.
- NO PERSONALITY - THE LOGO COMES ACROSS AS BORING.
- NO CLEAR PURPOSE.
- DOESN'T REPRESENT THE COMPANY WELL.
- UNCLEAR TARGET AUDIENCE.
- LEAVES TOO MUCH UP TO THE IMAGINATION.
Based on this logo alone, like many people, I wouldn't form a connection or be interested in finding out more about the brand and that is a big problem considering they need to be interested to buy into your product or service.
WHAT IS ACTIVE BRANDING?
I used the term 'Active Branding' earlier on. Here at DBJ we refer to Active Branding as branding that is conscious, meaning you have planned it out! Having a good branding strategy and identity ensures you will be connecting with the right people, in the right way. These connections are what will bring you sales and bookings.
Branding is more like a journey as opposed to a final destination, so the aim is for your brand to strengthen over time. However, this doesn't mean that starting a business with poor branding should be part of the process. Unfortunately, a lot of businesses get a logo and call it a day!
INVESTING IN YOUR BRANDING
It's 2021 and let's face it, it seems like more people are starting businesses than ever before. As of this year there are 582 million Entrepreneurs worldwide! (MARKINBLOG.) Whilst this is absolutely fantastic, this also means that regardless of the industry you're joining, it will be competitive!
You need long-term branding that's going to set you apart in an over-saturated market and not just a 'quick fix'. Yes, there are loads of apps that allow you to make graphics and marketing tools to advertise and promote your brand but whether you're selling cakes, writing a blog or running a charity, your brand needs an identity and whilst all of these apps can give you one, there's a number of reasons why graphic designers and brand consultants are still a necessity for your business. (We will cover this thoroughly in a separate post 🤩)
SUMMARY AND LINKS
So to summarise, 'Not Branding' is impossible. But if you don't brand actively your brand qualities will be assumed by the customer.
Visit our resources page for workbooks that'll help you brand ACTIVELY.
Cover Illustration by Icons 8 from Ouch!