What are some tangible elements of branding?
A lot of abstract work goes into defining your brand. But you also need concrete representations of it. Two ways to really bring your brand to life are your logo and tagline.
A brand’s logo is a snapshot of what the brand represents. The logo is made up of colors, shapes, images, fonts, and positioning choices that set a product apart the moment someone sees the logo.
One of the most popular branding examples of how logos can be used to convey different messages is the comparison between Coca-Cola and Pepsi.
While Coca-Cola and Pepsi are both popular cola soft drinks with similar flavors, their logos are completely different. Each difference aligns with a feeling or value the company is trying to evoke.
Coca-Cola’s logo uses a slightly darker red than Pepsi’s, hinting at a classic, slightly more serious tone. Pepsi’s red is brighter. Pepsi also uses red, white, and blue, which helps draw an association with American values.
The Coca-Cola font has classic swoops and curves reminiscent of its original font. This may evoke a feeling of tradition and treasured memories.
While early Pepsi logos also had cursive swirls, their most recent iterations consist of plain sans serif letters. The lines are clean and minimalistic. Pepsi’s logo has a more modern feel to it, one that is devoted to what’s hot now as opposed to what resonated for past generations.
The shapes each logo uses are also symbolic and related to the feelings they may be trying to inspire in consumers.
The swooping ribbon under the “Coca-Cola” is shaped like it just came off a gift. This may make the consumer feel like having a Coke is a special occasion. They can enjoy it while reminiscing about times spent with family—or making new memories during a special moment.
Pepsi uses a very different shape to inspire a feeling. The red, white, and blue circle to the left of the word “Pepsi” is known as the “Pepsi smile.” You can see it as either a charmingly lopsided grin that speaks of friendship and connection.
Granted, when it comes to logos, perception is reality, and we don’t always know what the designer was aiming for. But your logo can instill a sense of trust and familiarity in your customers and demonstrate that your brand aligns with their values.
A tagline is a short statement or expression that conveys a message central to your branding strategy. It can be addressed to the customer, or it can be something you want the customer to say as they use or consume your product. Popular past and current taglines include:
- Nike: Just Do It
- Ford: Go Further
- Apple: Think Different
- McDonald’s: I’m Lovin’ It
- Burger King: Be Your Way
A look at Burger King’s and McDonald’s taglines shows how they can help differentiate your product.
McDonald’s: “I’m Lovin’ It”
McDonald’s famous tagline has stood the test of time—it’s been around for almost 20 years—primarily because it sends a message many people can connect with: the love of food. McDonald’s put their tagline in the first person, so anyone saying it would be making a declaration about how they feel about the McDonald’s experience: They love it. Further, dropping the “g” at the end of “loving” gives the phrase a down-to-earth, casual feel.
Burger King: “Be Your Way”
Burger King’s slogan used to be “Have It Your Way,” which promoted their willingness to customize orders and embraced the idea of being different. “Be Your Way” has a similar message of welcoming individuality and personal choice. The slogan was launched in conjunction with an ad campaign aimed at millennials, a group that allegedly likes to have things happen on their terms.