I have a coffee addiction. There are more coffee mugs than any other kind of drink-wear in my home. Not to mention the several coffee subscriptions. The addiction came to light when my four year old daughter (who can’t read full words) said: “There’s a Starbucks!”
BAM! It hit me. The realization that my daughter was aware of my coffee addiction. More interesting though, was her ability to identify Starbucks. So how could a small child recognize a corporate brand? Grab a cup of coffee and let’s dig in.
What is branding?
Branding is much more than logo design. It’s a set of rules used to create a certain look and feel for marketing and promotional materials. These rules include color choice, font selection, photography, and even architectural design. While branding should always begin with a good logo, that’s only the first step.
Why is branding important?
I’m glad you asked! So let’s think back to my opening statement. How can a child (who’s unable to read) identify a national coffee chain? The answer: Successful Branding. Over the past few decades, Starbucks has created a powerful brand for themselves. Let’s look at the logo itself.
Starbucks began their branding expedition in 1987 by going green – literally. Since then, the black and green Mermaid has seen a few changes, but the essence remains the same.
How do promotional materials affect branding?
Establishing visual continuity across all your marketing efforts is key. Now that we’ve seen the logo, let’s see how Starbucks represents itself across the board.
Each of the examples came from different email campaigns spanning three years. Would you have known that by looking at them? Probably not – which is exactly the point! Color choice, product lighting, and layout all work together to create a family-look. This visual consistency is what has made the Starbucks brand so strong. Did you notice that there’s no Starbucks logo on any of the images? Yet it’s obvious who they belong to.
What makes branding successful?
- Logo first: A strong logo is the cornerstone for building a strong brand
- Be intentional: Make sure your font and color selections are thoughtful and meaningful
- Plan ahead: Visualize your brand ten years from now (advertising, promotional materials, etc)
- Keep it simple: Successful brands are those that embrace simplicity; don’t overthink it
- Target audience: Don’t be all things to all people; know who your audience is and what they want/expect
Branding is the most important thing to consider when building your business. Don’t let it be an afterthought. Be intentional. Make a statement. Tell the world who you are and how you’re going to enrich their lives!