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Understanding Branding: Key Elements and Importance in Marketing


Understanding Branding: Key Elements and Importance in Marketing

Branding is what your customers see as the brand. According to the American Marketing Association, “a brand is any distinctive feature like a name, term, design, or symbol that identifies goods or services.” So, when you hear “Just do it,” what company comes to mind? Nike. When you see that red, yellow, green and blue “G,” Google comes to mind. Branding plays an important role in marketing and customer perception. Let’s explore it a little more.

Understanding Branding

Branding is often misunderstood. It’s larger than just those slogans or symbols we mentioned. To truly utilize branding, it needs to have a part in the entire business. It is what makes a memorable impression on customers and allows them to know what to expect from the company.

Branding never stops because companies and customers never stay the same. Plus, your competition always changes. Look at Nike, mentioned earlier. They have shifted their focus away from golf while building their focus on running. They have built a larger focus on their running brand with a step away from golf.

Any business needs to focus on branding because of its overall impact on your company. It can change how people perceive your brand, bring in new business and affect the brand’s value. A bad brand can lead to a decrease in value and perception.

Key Elements of Branding

  • Brand Values. Your brand’s values are an important element in keeping everything cohesive. It ties in with your business’s vision and mission. You can’t have value without it being part of the brand’s and leadership’s mission.
  • Brand Voice. Establishing the brand’s voice gives your brand a unique personality that is presented to the world. This voice needs to be consistent through all customer touchpoints. A strong brand voice can help a business stand out from its competitors while resonating with customers.
  • Brand Positioning. Your business’s positioning statement becomes your brand identity. This is how the brand presents itself to its customers. According to Phil Kotler, it’s “the act of designing the company’s offering and image to occupy a distinctive place in the mind of the target market.
  • Brand Identity. This is a collection of visual elements that a company uses to create its brand image. These are created with the company’s mission, values, goals and target audiences in mind. This includes the company’s name, logo, colors and visuals. All of this is often collected in a brand audit ( which you learn how to create in our Brand Equity Management course!).
  • Brand Messaging. It’s the way your brand communicates its unique positioning statement and personality through its messaging. This includes language, tone, design and events.

Creating a Brand

To create or rebrand a company, you need to understand the brand’s origin story, determine your business’s target audience, establish a mission statement, define values, create visual elements and find your brand voice.

Once each of these elements are together, you need to put the branding to work. It needs to be integrated into every inch of your business. Consistency matters. It's also an important element of your company's marketing plan.

Having a well-developed brand creates loyal customers, can improve your marketing, builds trust and makes your business recognizable.

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Meet the Author

Stefanie Moore

Stefanie Moore
Marketing Manager

Stefanie is a marketing manager in the Marketing Communications Online Programs through the College of Creative Arts and Media at West Virginia University. She is an alumna of WVU's M.S. in Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) and has been working in marketing for over 6 years after beginning her career in the newspaper business. She's a marathon runner and she has ran a qualifying time for the Boston Marathon.

Marcom Today

Marketing Communications Today is a collection of resources for marketing communications professionals filled with industry research, marketing trends, and career information about integrated marketing and data-driven communications. Learn industry insights through the Marketing Communications Today blog, podcast, as well as Integrate Online.

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