The Ultimate Guide to Branding

Discover how to create and manage a brand that helps your business become known, loved, and preferred

Author: Allie Decker, Hubspot



Products are never justproducts, right?

Coca-Cola is more than a soda. Starbucks is more than a coffee. Ray-Ban is more than a pair of sunglasses. Glossier is more than a tube of concealer.


Interacting with these products provide experiences, and we buy them with that experience in mind. Better yet, the companies that create and market them know exactly the experience they want you to have when you make (or consider) a purchase. That’s why they create a brand.


From the language in their Instagram caption to the color palette on their latest billboard to the material used in their packaging, companies who create strong brands know that their brand needs to live everywhere. They know their names extend far beyond the label.


The result? These brands are known, loved, and chosen out of a long lineup of options.

Who doesn’t want that? I know I do. That’s why we built this guide — to equip you to create and manage a strong brand that’ll help your business be admired, remembered, and preferred.


What’s a brand?

Before I dive into the importance of branding and how to build a brand, let’s go back to basics: What is a brand?

A brandis a feature or set of features that distinguish one organization from another. A brand is typically comprised of a name, tagline, logo or symbol, design, brand voice, and more. It also refers to the overall experience a customer undergoes when interacting with a business — as a shopper, customer, social media follower, or mere passerby.


What is branding?

Branding is the process of researching, developing, and applying a distinctive feature or set of features to your organization so that consumers can begin to associate your brand with your products or services.

Branding is an iterative process and requires getting in touch with the heart of your customers and your business. It’s important for a variety of reasons — I dive into these next.


Branding can be the deciding factor for consumerswhen they make a purchase decision. In a 2015 global Nielsen survey, almost 60% of shoppers said they actively buy from brands they know, and 21% said they bought a product because they liked the brand.


Branding gives your business an identitybeyond its product or service. It gives consumers something to relate to and connect with.


Branding makes your business memorable. It’s the face of your company and helps consumers distinguish your business across every medium (which I discuss later).

Branding supports your marketing and advertising efforts. It helps your promotion pack that extra punch with added recognition and impact.


Branding brings your employees pride. When you brand your company, you’re not only giving your business identity, you’re also creating a reputable, highly-regarded workplace. Strong branding brings in strong employees.


Brand awareness

Brand awarenessrefers to how familiar the general public and your target audience is with your brand. High brand awareness leads to brands being referred to as “trending,” “buzzworthy, or “popular.” Brand awareness is important because consumers can’t consider purchasing from your brand if they’re not aware of it.


Brand extension

Brand extensionsare when companies “extend” their brand to develop new products in new industries and markets. Consider Honda lawn mowersor Martha Stewart bedding. Brand extensions allow companies (or individuals) to leverage brand awareness and equity to create more revenue streams and diversify product lines.


Brand identity

Brand identityis the personality of your business and the promise you make to your customers. It’s what you want your customers to walk away with after they interact with your brand. Your brand identityis typically comprised of your values, how you communicate your product or service, and what you want people to feel when they interact with it.


Brand management

Brand management refers to the process of creating and maintaining your brand. It includes managing the tangible elements of your brand (style guide, packaging, color palette) and the intangible elements (how it's perceived by your target audience and customer base). Your brand is a living, breathing asset, and it should be managed as such.


Brand recognition

Brand recognition is how well a consumer (ideally in your target audience) can recognize and identify your brand withoutseeing your business name — through your logo, tagline, jingle, packaging, or advertising. This concept goes hand-in-hand with brand recall, which is the ability to think of a brand without any visual or auditory identifiers.


Brand trust

Brand trust refers to how strongly customers and consumers believe in your brand. Do you deliver on your marketing promises? Do your salespeople and customer service go above and beyond? These things can create trust among your customers, which is important in a world where a mere 25% of peoplefeel confident in large businesses.


Brand valuation

Brand valuation is the commercial valuation of your brand derived from consumer perception, recognition, and trust. This concept goes hand-in-hand with brand equity. A powerful brand can make your business invaluable to investors, shareholders, and potential buyers.