What Exactly is Branding?
When many businesses think of the term “brand” they think of design, logos, graphics, website look & feel, social media and online presence.
Smart marketers know branding is much more than a logo. In reality, the logo is the easy part and only one small yet very important component of your brand. Brand Strategists understand the importance of building a brand architecture inclusive of the brand identity with supporting visuals, language and more. The colours, language and visuals are supporting elements, not “the” brand itself.
Your brand is your promise and value you offer customers, your community and all who come in contact with your company. It’s a promise delivered. It’s value received. It’s community. It’s relationship. It’s empowerment, inspiration, education and the list goes on.
Are you influencing brand perception in a positive way? Your brand is your personality, communication, tone of voice and perceptions of all who experience it. At the root of your brand are a set of experiences.
You cannot control perception. You can however influence it if you know how to build, launch and manage your brand architecture. Every brand touch-point is an opportunity to influence perception and to build your reputation. At the core, your brand is rooted in who you are and how you care about others. It’s not just about you. It’s not just about pretty colours or a logo you pay a marketing or branding agency lots of money to design. Your brand is the foundation and one of the most important aspects of your business. Regardless of the size of your business, you have one chance to make a first, second and third impression. You are either earning trust, building through leadership, or you are not!
Branding is not only about getting your target market to select you over the competition, but it is 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
To succeed in branding, you must understand the needs and wants of your customers and prospects. This is achieved by integrating your brand strategies through your company.
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 customers. That’s why it carries a great deal of importance within a business or organisation.
Brand serves as a guide to understanding the purpose of business objectives. It enables you to align a marketing plan with those objectives and fulfil 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.
By defining who your brand is you create the foundation for all other components to build on. Your brand definition will serve as your measuring stick in evaluating any and all marketing materials and strategies. You will begin this process by answering the questions below.
- What products and/or services do you offer? Define the qualities of these services and/or products.
- What are the core values of your products and services? What are the core values of your company?
- What is the mission of your company?
- What does your company specialise in?
- Who is your target market? Who do your products and services attract?
- What is the tagline of your company? What message does your tagline send to your prospects?
- Using the information from the previous steps create a personality or character for your company that represents your products or services. What is the character like? What qualities stand out? Is the personality of your company innovative, creative, energetic, or sophisticated?
- Use the personality that you created in the previous step and build a relationship with your target market that you defined in Step 5. How does that personality react to target audience? What characteristics stand out? Which characteristics and qualities get the attention of your prospects.
- Review the answers to the questions above and create a profile of your brand. Describe the personality or character with words just as if you were writing a biography or personal ad. Be creative.
Focus on your target audiences when answering the above questions. Work with your team and it will take you no more than a couple of hours to come up with the framework for your brand architecture.