A brand is a unique personality. It makes you stand out from the crowd and encourages loyalty. This means you gain trust and repeat-business.

Creating a brand identity requires practical design-skills as well as creative drive and flair. You also need a deep understanding of marketing and consumer psychology.

Branding involves:

- research
- defining an audience
- analysing competitors
- creating mood-boards
- naming the brand
- designing the logos
- testing

Brand identity is crucial in the areas of digital media, fashion, advertising, product design, packaging, and retailing.

Brands are a significant part of modern consumer society. And they are used to promote such things as: Clothing (e.g. “cool” jeans), Local Towns (Lossiemouth - “the Jewel of the Moray Firth”) or even the British Royal Family. However, it is not that easy to come to a clear-cut, and satisfactory definition, of exactly what a “brand” is.

You see, brands are much more than just the product you buy; they apply to services and concepts too, or even a “celebrity” (e.g. Lady Ga Ga). To be able to define what a brand is, and does, it is helpful to consider, firstly, why people buy, and what influences their choice of one product over another.

Being a consumer is about identifying one’s needs (some would say “wants”) and satisfying them by choosing, buying, and using a product or service. These needs can be as varied as the consumers themselves, although there are basic requirements that are fundamental for all human beings, namely: food, clothes and shelter.

These basic needs are then followed by more subjective needs. These are defined more by a person’s lifestyle, which, in turn, is pre-determined by their culture, society as a whole, as well as their social-group or “class”.

Purchases in this higher-level category are often driven, not by basic requirements, but more so by individual aspirations and desires. If decking, for example, is to be sold to a target audience of 50 year-olds, the adverts don’t depict planks of wood lying around. Instead an advert will have 30 to 40 year olds, sitting elegantly outside in the soft evening light, having a dinner-party. What is being sold here is aspiration, not bits of wood.

Social pressure (the need to fit in) plays a big part in all this. Some people want to appear more successful than the average person and this is highly influential in their buying decisions. Therefore, understanding why people buy, and the triggers that make them choose one item over another, is the key to designing a brand image for your company.

More on this topic soon ...