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How to Build a Branding Team That Grows Your Business

Discover how a branding team can help boost your business: Learn how to structure your branding team to achieve successful outcomes.

8 min read

October 27, 2022

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Walk into any large marketing department and ask everyone to define branding, and you’ll receive a flurry of different answers. Graphic designers are apt to say that branding is about visual identity. Meanwhile, copywriters will probably focus on voice and tone as definitive, and a few people might utter something about customer perception.

Branding describes the strategies, disciplines, and methods used to differentiate your company from its competition.

While none of these answers are wrong, they’re somewhat incomplete. The reality is that branding encompasses all of these topics and more, which is why it’s often misunderstood or confused with the responsibilities of marketing team members. But branding is far more than logo design, color theory, style guides, and even customer perceptions. 

Simply put, branding describes the strategies, disciplines, and methods used to differentiate your company from its competition.

What is the role of branding in business?

As the brand strategist and author Alina Wheeler writes in her book, Designing Brand Identity, the major functions of great brands are:

  • Navigation: Brands help their customers choose from the countless solutions available by standing apart from other brands.
  • Reassurance: Brands consistently communicate their values through their products, services, marketing, and actions.
  • Engagement: Brands leverage communication channels to engage with and form relationships with their audiences. 

You can see how marketing is easily confused with branding, since branding is about differentiating from the competition. But branding actually comes before marketing — marketing needs something to market, after all. Likewise, customer perception plays a definitive role. 

Branding is the art of developing a memorable identity through these customer perceptions. And while every business is a brand, whether they have a branding team or not, great brands don’t leave the sculpting of their identity to customer perceptions alone. It’s a two-way street. 

The role of branding in business, then, is about standing apart from the competition, leveraging communication channels with audiences, and establishing relationships with customers in a consistent and trustworthy way. 

That said, the work of a branding team isn’t simple by any means.

Branding is the art of developing a memorable identity through these customer perceptions.

What does a branding team do?

One of the first things a branding team does is define a company’s identity and values. It then works to create and revise branding guidelines based on these values and ensures they’re adhered to at every level of the business.

While branding is usually associated with customer perception, it’s also concerned with internal company culture. If the goal is to influence customers and project consistency, that consistency must also come from within. 

Just a few of a branding team’s responsibilities include:

  • Establishing brand consistency: Branding teams work to establish consistency at every level of the business, from internal documentation to brand voice on website copy. They might define what words or topics to avoid and provide guidance for customer interactions.
  • Visual identity: This same level of consistency applies to visual identity, which is why branding is often confused with marketing. The branding team’s job is to ensure all media represents the overall brand strategy and company values across advertisements, websites, apps, and any other customer touchpoint.
  • Marketing: Since marketing is the voice of a brand, branding teams have tight-knit partnerships with marketing departments to ensure strategies reflect brand identity and values. 
  • Research, analytics, and case studies: Since branding is a two-way street, and a continuous one at that, branding teams consistently gauge the success of their branding strategies. This includes plenty of user surveys and research to understand how the target audience perceives the brand.

Taken together, a branding team researches consumer perceptions, creates strategies to alter the perceptions that aren’t conducive, and uses those strategies to develop branding guidelines for the entire business.

In short, a branding team helps businesses develop a clear, concise message that resonates with their ideal customers.

Why hire a branding team?

An overview of a branding team’s activities doesn’t necessarily demonstrate why those activities are so beneficial. As the old business saying goes, a great product sells itself. Why worry about a brand if you have an amazing product and fantastic sales teams?

The truth is, great products are everywhere, and there’s no shortage of excellent salespeople touting them. In the information age, businesses no longer compete on quality and price — they differentiate through branding.

✨ Branding enhances marketing

A marketing strategy without cohesive branding is akin to shouting into a void. Your message might reach a few people, but it won’t be apparent. And there’s a good chance the few it does reach are the wrong people.

A talented branding team creates consistency across marketing channels by creating a focused message that communicates a team branding statement and values while making sure it adheres to the brand’s identity. In doing so, campaigns not only stand out as unique to the brand, but they’re also more likely to land with the right potential customers.

🤝 Good branding establishes trust

Trust is an essential ingredient to business growth — it doesn’t matter whether it’s a startup or a megacorporation. Trust is essential to every brand, but without effective branding strategies, it’s difficult to maintain. Even with amazing products and services, if your customer experience varies wildly or your messaging is inconsistent, your customers perceive your business as unreliable.

Good branding teams establish consistency across the entire business, communicating trust and reliability. This is often what lures prospective customers into becoming actual customers. And when a branding team has done its job well, those customers are delighted and tend to stick around.

❤️ Trust leads to customer loyalty

Remarkable brands, by definition, possess immense customer loyalty. Think of companies such as Apple and Google — two of the world’s most valuable brands. Many of their customers are intensely loyal, rarely straying from their brand, regardless of how rosy the competition looks. These brands are more than a product or service to their customers — they’re part of the customer's identities. 

This is what great branding does. It humanizes your company, so your target audience connects and relates to it. This is the basis through which your brand builds lasting relationships, rather than casual buyers. When you have lasting relationships with your customers, they care about your brand — not just the products or services you provide. 

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How to structure a branding team

The exact structure of a branding team depends on the size of the business and its available resources. Large companies with great brands likely have considerable teams managing their brands. Branding for smaller businesses requires more strategy, but that doesn’t mean a small team can’t have great branding. Plenty of wildly successful boutique businesses have strong brand identities. Even personal branding can use the following template for success.

✔️ Brand Marketing Management

The most important role of a branding team is the individual who oversees branding initiatives. They create the overall brand strategies, including the guidelines that define customer interactions, messaging, and visual identity. These strategies determine everything from the brand’s mission statement and unique value proposition to its style guides and content marketing. 

Most importantly, a brand manager requires strong support from company stakeholders. The strongest brands are the result of expert brand management backed by senior leadership, whether it’s a CEO or CMO.

✔️ Content Production 

While the type of content a brand uses depends largely on the business and the overall brand strategy, every brand needs a content production team. Without content, your brand isn’t communicating with its audience.

For some brands, this may be a team of writers and editors producing impactful blog posts and thought leadership. For others, it might be illustrators and videographers creating content on YouTube and other social channels. 

While this falls largely in the realm of marketing, it’s up to the branding team to ensure the content reflects the brand consistently and accurately.

✔️ Brand Designers

Even if your company already has a creative team, great branding teams have designers dedicated to ensuring certain deliverables adhere to brand guidelines. 

They might also play a strong role in developing this content so it stands apart from a competitor’s content. Stunning illustrations and graphics can do wonders in differentiating a company’s blog.

✔️ User and Data Analysis

As mentioned above, a branding team needs strong analytics to gauge customer feedback and perceptions. In turn, these metrics guide further strategy development or course correction for the brand.

Measurement is especially important since branding isn’t a one-off project. Customer needs and desires shift, and competitors come and go. In short, business climates change constantly, and the best brands are always performing market research and tweaking their strategies to maintain their presence.

✔️ Public Relations 

PR people are essentially the interface between a brand and the public. While large companies usually have an entire department of PR people interfacing with customers or the media, thanks to social media, smaller brands can manage customer relationships quite effectively. A dedicated brand ambassador on Twitter or LinkedIn is also great for gauging public perceptions and collecting valuable feedback.

✔️ External Agencies

Lastly, it’s unlikely every brand has a team capable of executing on every facet of a great branding strategy. Especially for smaller companies, hiring outside agencies and freelancers can enhance brand efficiency by leveraging experts without the overhead of bringing them on full-time. A strong branding team knows its limitations and brings in mercenaries when necessary. 

Build a strong branding team

Creating a strong impression on your customers and target audience takes a lot of talent, hard work, and buy-in from top to bottom. But with so much competition, leaving your branding to chance isn’t a bet with odds in your favor. 

Are you ready to build the best possible branding team for your company? Find world-class branding pros, designers, content creators, and marketing specialists, and bring your team together on Dribbble.

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