What is Branding?

Personal Brand, Corporate Brand, Brand Identity, Brand Development, Brand Strategy, Brand Design…

There are a lot of words that all come back to one main core thing...so let's make it plain and simple shall we? Branding.



Like most things, before you dive into the details of your Brand, you need to fully understand what Branding truly is. Once you’re there, then you get to dive in and cultivate an awesome Brand you’re proud of.


So let’s talk about the confusion of Branding.

I surveyed people from all different backgrounds in business and in different age groups, and I asked them one question:

“What is Branding?”

I heard back answers like:

  • Your logo
  • Your website
  • Your overall look
  • How cohesive your business is
  • The way you present your business
  • Your color scheme, logo, fonts and stuff…

Overwhelming people came back with the look of their brand. But unfortunately this is only part of the puzzle. It’s most definitely the prettiest part, most people don’t want to do all the other stuff that goes into your brand...but it’s essential you do if you want a solid brand that you’re confident in.


What is Branding?

Branding is the entire experience someone has with you/your business.

Branding is an experience! (Which is my favorite part). I’ve never been the kind of person to only look at the aesthetics, I liked to be immersed in an entire world. My favorite brands (and some of the best brands out there) do this better than anyone.


Just to name a few:

  • Disneyland/world (whether you’re a fan of Disney or not, you can’t deny their brand is an experience from top to bottom and it’s a pretty magical one too! #disneynerdforlife)
  • Starbucks
  • Anthropologie
  • Apple


When you think of these brands, what’s your very first thought? (I’ll guess it’s not their logo) Although their logos are prominent and a huge part of each of these businesses, you think of an experience first thing.


For instance, when I think of Starbucks I actually think of New York. I was there for a week in November and it was the day of the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade. Everywhere was PACKED and I was starving…(we were running around the city so much, I was burning calories left and right). It was early in the morning and people were lining the streets to get their spot for the parade or at least jam their way in. Then like a golden beam of light a Starbucks appeared. I knew exactly what they would have available and without hesitation I ran in grabbed an awake tea and a piece of pumpkin bread. In no time flat I was able to rejoin my group and watch the huge balloons go by (we couldn’t see anything else).


The point here is I knew exactly what Starbucks had to offer, I didn’t have to question or guess or look at the menu, and they appeared right when I needed them (because they’re everywhere as you know). It was convenient, easy and comforting to have something familiar when I was getting uncomfortably hangry.

It’s all about the experience.

Starbucks is setup to make you feel at ease. Once you’ve been there it’s familiar, because every other Starbucks is (basically) the same. They have the same menu items and the same look and feel in their stores. You know the layout and there’s a comfort in that. That’s their goal! They want you to feel comfortable, at ease and welcomed with a warm (or in my case stifling hot) coffee/tea. They want you to feel at home and be part of the Starbucks family.


Branding is the entire experience.


Another example is the magic kingdom itself, Disneyland. I’m a big kid at heart, so this happens to me every time, but even if you’re not have you ever watched a child’s face as they enter Disneyland for the first, fifth or umpteenth time? The excitement and wonder doesn’t change. Their eyes always grow bigger and their energy starts to pick-up. They hold your hand tighter or start skipping and jumping toward town center. Sometimes they’ll just look up and enjoy the details around them or the bolt away want to jump on a ride as quickly possible.

Whatever the experience is, that’s exactly the point. It’s an experience. The magic, the wonder and the impeccable details and cleanliness (thank you for that Disney) are all a part of the experience.


Their logo is still plastered on EVERYTHING around you, but you hardly even pay attention to it. You know it, you see it there, it’s incredibly recognizable but it doesn’t matter to you. You the consumer, the one paying obscene amounts of money to get some magical exercise (bring your steps tracker here, you’ll get ALL the steps you need for a week in one day). :)


Branding is an experience. It’s very particularly the experience a consumer or potential consumer has with you/your business.

The other day I was meeting with a new Brand client and I told her that she already has a fantastic Brand we just want to streamline it, give it a little more purpose/clarity and then create a design that draws people to it.

She looked at me a little concerned and said, but I don’t really like my current Brand that’s why I wanted to bring you in.

This is the perfect case in point. Up until hiring me she had believed that her brand was just her visuals and to her they felt outdated and not quite right.


I told her that was spot on! Her visuals didn’t match her Brand. A Brand she had been cultivating for many years. People LOVED working with her, she had a reputation of being one of the best in customer service and a business that was already doing really well.


The visual part didn’t quite feel right and she didn’t know why or at least not more than she just didn’t like it anymore.

This is an awesome observation, because she already had a Brand and she knew something was off. It wasn’t her whole Brand, it was simply her visuals. It was time for an upgrade and a little clarity to help her see what she had already created. For years she had been cultivating her Branding through the experience she provided others.


So here we are, back at the basics.

Before you jump in too soon to how your Brand “looks” think about your brand’s experience. How can you improve? What would you like it to look like?

Write it down, get a game plan together, ask your friends or past clients for feedback.

Then it’s time to get together with a Brand Coach and hash it all out.


I would be doing both you and myself a disservice if I didn’t let you know that this is what I do. ;)

My absolute favorite part of my job is getting to help others see their potential and get clear on their Branding. (Then we can jump into Brand Design…when you’re ready of course).


If you’d like to schedule an inquiry meeting with me to see if I would be a good fit to help you with this, click here:

Clicking this button will take you to a scheduling page where you can schedule 30 mins with me via phone or video chat. I'm excited to connect with you!

Clicking this button will take you to a scheduling page where you can schedule 30 mins with me via phone or video chat. I'm excited to connect with you!


I currently offer a 4-Week Brand Strategy Coaching Package or a more simple Brand Audit, click here to learn more: http://www.brightlyandco.com/coaching

“Authentic brands don't emerge from marketing cubicles or advertising agencies. They emanate from everything the company does...” - Howard Schultz, Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time


I’d love to hear from you now.

Comment below and tell me:

  1. What’s always been your first impression when you think of Branding?
  2. Where do you struggle the most with cultivating your whole Brand experience?