JI Design | Branding 101
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Branding 101

 What Is Branding?

Often when people hear the word brand, they think of a logo, but your logo is really just the tip of the iceberg. Your brand is so much more. It is your reputation.

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos says, “Branding is what people say about you when you are not in the room.” It is the foundation that your business is built on, your values and your mission, but most importantly, your actions.  And finally, your brand is your message. It is your story.

An Effective Brand

Photo Credit: https://aksalmonsisters.com


Effective brands are recognizable. Xtratuff boots are a Pacific Northwest staple. If you have spent time on the water, you know them well. They are the Alaska tennis shoe. Recently they expanded their line and teamed up with Salmon Sisters to create a boot targeting women.


Effective brands are valuable. How many times a day do you use Google? It might be a quick online search, sending an email or seeking directions. They have created a brand that is a part of everyday life for most of us.

Symbol of Trust

Effective brands are a symbol of trust. Alaska Airlines is ranked one of the safest airlines in the United States. On Forbes.com, Grant Martin writes that Alaska Airlines ranked as America’s Best Airlines in 2017. On CNN’s website, it is reported that they are the 2nd safest airline in the world! Do you trust them?


Effective brands are inspiring. Look at Nike for example. Our graphic designer Caroline Garriott says it well. “Nike is a nationally recognized brand that has an entire lifestyle and culture built around it. Even if you are naturally inclined to be a couch potato, you might feel motivation and inspiration from Nike’s brand.”


Effective brands are consistent. “Apple is a perfect example of a company that defied expectations, hit a lot of rough patches, yet persevered and continues to dominate the tech and design world. They carefully built their brand from the beginning and have continued to stay true to their character and worth as they constantly evolve.” Another well said quote from Caroline.

Your Brand Promise

Chalk drawing - Concept of brand

Your brand promise is your story or your message. This includes your mission and vision statement and your core values. It should reflect who you really are, not who you want to be. Are you living it every day? Does it connect with your customers?

Mission Statement

At Bplans.com, Jonathan Michael tells readers that “The best example of a mission statement will define a company and its purpose in 30 seconds or less. With your mission statement, you should be sure to cover what the goals of your business are for three primary components: customers, employees, and owners.”

Core Values

American Express shares their core values on their website. Does this reflect who they are?

  • Customer Commitment
  • Quality
  • Integrity
  • Teamwork
  • Respect for People
  • Good Citizenship
  • A Will to Win
  • Personal Accountability


Story Telling

“Storytelling is one of the most powerful ways to breathe life into your brand… A brand is a matter of perception. When you tell a story that embodies human challenges, you create an experience that resonates with your customers.” Excerpt from Using Storytelling to Strengthen Your Brand.

Stories That Work

Patagonia Photo

TOMS and Patagonia both tell stories that work. “With every product you purchase, TOMS will help a person in need. One for One.” TOMS story tells you that they exist to help those in need, to make someone’s life better. They create an emotional response. You trust them. You feel good when you buy their shoes. Patagonia has a website, Worn Wear, where customers can purchase repaired worn clothing and share their stories. Read about coats that have been passed down from grandfathers, epic wilderness adventures, and clothing that lasts and holds memories forever.

The best marketing you can get is your customers telling your story for you.