There is a lot of con­fu­sion around brand­ing, there are mul­ti­ple def­i­n­i­tions, so what is brand­ing? Decades ago brand­ing was defined as a name, slo­gan, sign, sym­bol or design, or a com­bi­na­tion of these ele­ments that iden­ti­fy prod­ucts or ser­vices of a com­pa­ny. The brand was iden­ti­fied of the ele­ments that dif­fer­en­ti­at­ed the goods and or ser­vice from the com­pe­ti­tion. Today brand is a bit more com­plex, but even more impor­tant in today’s world of mar­ket­ing.

It’s the per­cep­tion that a con­sumer has when they hear or think of your com­pa­ny name, ser­vice or prod­uct. That being said the word “brand” or “brand­ing” is a mov­ing tar­get and evolves with the behav­ior of con­sumers, I think of it as the men­tal pic­ture of who you as a com­pa­ny rep­re­sents to con­sumers, it’s influ­enced by the ele­ments, words, and cre­ativ­i­ty that sur­round it.

What Should a Brand Do?

Brand­ing is not only about get­ting your tar­get mar­ket to select you over the com­pe­ti­tion but about get­ting your prospects to see you as the sole provider of a solu­tion to their prob­lem or need.

The objec­tives that a good brand will achieve include:

  • Clear­ly, deliv­ers the mes­sage
  • Con­firms your cred­i­bil­i­ty
  • Emo­tion­al­ly con­nects your tar­get prospects with your prod­uct and or ser­vice.
  • Moti­vates the buy­er to buy
  • Cre­ates User Loy­al­ty

Branding and Understanding Your Customer

To suc­ceed in brand­ing, you must under­stand the needs and wants of your cus­tomers and prospects.

It is achieved by inte­grat­ing your brand strate­gies through your com­pa­ny at every point of pub­lic con­tact. Think of brand­ing as the expres­sion of who you are as a com­pa­ny or orga­ni­za­tion and what you offer. Sound dif­fi­cult? Think of it like this if a brand could speak it would say:

  • I am ________________.
  • I exist because ________________.
  • If you relate to who I am and why I exist you might like me, you can buy me, and you can tell oth­ers about me.

As con­sumers begin to iden­ti­fy with you, your brand will live with­in the hearts and minds of cus­tomers, clients, and prospects. It is the sum total of their expe­ri­ences and per­cep­tions, some of which you can influ­ence, and some that you can­not.

The Importance of Branding

A strong brand is invalu­able as the bat­tle for cus­tomers inten­si­fies day by day. It’s impor­tant to spend time invest­ing in research­ing, defin­ing, and build­ing your brand. After all, your brand is the source of a promise to your con­sumer.

Your­The brand is a foun­da­tion­al piece in your mar­ket­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion and one you do not want to be with­out. Brand is strate­gic and mar­ket­ing is tac­ti­cal and what you use to get your brand in front of con­sumers. That’s why it car­ries a great deal of impor­tance with­in a busi­ness or orga­ni­za­tion as well.

Brand serves as a guide to under­stand­ing the pur­pose of busi­ness objec­tives. It enables you to align a mar­ket­ing plan with those objec­tives and ful­fill the over­ar­ch­ing strat­e­gy.

The effec­tive­ness of brand does­n’t just hap­pen before the pur­chase, but it’s also about the life of the brand of the expe­ri­ence it gives a con­sumer.

Did the prod­uct or ser­vice per­form as expect­ed? Was the qual­i­ty as good as promised or bet­ter? How was the ser­vice expe­ri­ence? If you can get pos­i­tive answers to these ques­tions, you’ve cre­at­ed a loy­al cus­tomer.

Brand not only cre­ates loy­al cus­tomers, but it cre­ates loy­al employ­ees. Brand gives them some­thing to believe in, some­thing to stand behind. It helps them under­stand the pur­pose of the orga­ni­za­tion or the busi­ness.

A Basic Checklist to Evaluate Your Brand

Brand­ing can be con­fus­ing, so how do you know if your brand is strong enough to give you the inter­nal and exter­nal val­ue that you need in your mar­ket­ing?

  • Does your brand relate to your tar­get audi­ence? Will they instant­ly “get it” with­out too much thought?
  • Does your brand share the unique­ness of what you offer and why it’s impor­tant?
  • Does it reflect the brand promise that you are mak­ing to who you are tar­get­ing as well as to your inter­nal audi­ence?
  • Does your brand reflect the val­ues that you want to rep­re­sent as a cus­tomer?

Let these ques­tions serve as a guide­line in the devel­op­ment of your brand. If the answers are not clear you may want to return to the draw­ing board and refine the brand­ing process. A brand should be an instant “ah-ha” it should require very lit­tle thought and con­tem­pla­tion.