Who you are will be defined by why you want to know.
Apologies for the Yoda-like heading above but the answer to the question does change depending on why you are looking. Branding has so many different definitions, and even those have just as many interpretations, so how can we help?
Well, firstly, why are you looking?
Academic: I am researching branding, its history and its application.
Pragmatic: I have an understanding but want to challenge and quantify it.
Practical: I am looking for a branding agency and want to qualify their understanding of branding.
Specific: I have an issue with my branding, and I am looking for insight on how to solve it.
Unknown: I am just interested in branding for some other reason.
Which one are you?
We will try and answer what branding is and why it is crucial to every one of you:
This is an incredible subject to research and learns about, with no shortage of peer-reviewed texts, books and videos online to bring the subject to life. We have not come across a single blog or resource that can cover it all, but we have written our piece focusing on the history and how this has impacted businesses.
In it, we cover the earliest origins of branding, the origins of the name, and examples of ancient cattle branding through to modern-day applications. It is not a definitive history but focuses on why it was used and how it benefited individuals and businesses. Every designer has a bookshelf (or two) dedicated to branding, but I would recommend “What is Branding?” by Mathew Healey as an excellent example to check out.
Be Social: Here at Toast, we have our bookshelves filled with creative resources, but we are always looking for more, so please follow us on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest and let us know with a post or tag about any great examples or blogs that you find (and we will do the same).
This would suggest you have more than a passing interest and are either studying one of the creative arts or specialising in branding and communications. If you are a student, we can help, but we are working, so please consider what you ask of us and how. If we can help, we will, but if we are busy, we will have to put it on the back burner, so bear with us.
If you have specific questions, then ask Simon [[email protected]] rather than emailing the whole team; these emails can often get lost or filtered out of our inbox. As long as it doesn’t include a 1000-page questionnaire or the creation of free design material, we will try our best to help.
For some of us, our college days are a fond but distant memory, but we still remember what it is like to try and get out of the library and get some industry opinions.
If you are looking to qualify Toast’s knowledge and expertise in branding, I would suggest you check out the services pages, which are supported with detailed case studies. You will find a whole range of branding services, from naming workshops to branded WordPress websites, and the case studies will lay out where we have successfully applied those services and their results.
The best way to truly qualify Toast and our passion for branding are to talk to us, so if you have seen our work and are interested in how we can either create a new brand, refresh an existing one or even just apply your existing identity effectively then get in touch.
Important Note: The critical thing to consider when assessing branding examples is that they were created with specific personas in mind, which you may or may not match. If you ever come across brands that you do not like or don’t resonate with, you must challenge if you were meant to. You might be the wrong age, gender, income bracket etc. Bad branding is when it doesn’t resonate with its target audience, not when it doesn’t resonate with everyone.
If you have a specific problem or problem that can’t quite put your finger on, then Toast can help. Whether you have a clearly defined brief outlining the issue or want us to work with you to identify the challenge and write a brief to address it we can help.
Too many branding agencies are happy to ‘throw the baby out with the bathwater ‘ with the desire to create a brand new brand from scratch rather than ascertain which elements are working and which could work harder.
If a complete rebrand is needed, then that should be a decision made by you and in the brand’s best interest (not the agency). Fixing and refining a faulting brand is a more challenging project, but the outcomes are far better for the brand and its customers.
If in doubt, we can work with you through a one to one meetings, research or workshops to discover the very best solution to your precise problem.
If you want to talk to Toast about the challenges your branding is facing, get in touch today.
Nice to meet you. As you can see from the above, Toast loves branding, whether examples (good and bad), the latest developments, the history of branding, or specific brands.
Our blog is a gold mine of valuable hints, thoughts and examples of every element from logos, naming, guidelines or bringing to life through branded communications.
You might also want to see how we walk the walk and check out how we use branding to promote our full-service offering, branding specifically for food brands or WordPress websites.
Check out more branding posts on our blog.