by Megan Full
What is “branding”?
“Branding” is a buzzword in the marketing world – but what exactly is it? The easiest way to describe a company’s “brand” is with a simple analogy:
Branding is to a business what reputation is to an individual.
Piece of cake, right?
Unfortunately, defining a company’s brand takes more than designing a memorable logo or drafting a tagline. To establish an enduring brand identity, be prepared to carve out a substantial amount of time researching and questioning your customers and employees to truly understand what defines your company.
What makes a great brand?
A company’s “brand” is a collection of the thoughts and emotions that come to someone’s mind when they see your logo or hear your slogan.
Think Apple – the word innovation comes to mind immediately. What about Disney? They’re known as “The Happiest Place on Earth.” It’s no surprise that both companies landed spots on Forbes’ list of the world’s most valuable brands – but what makes them so great?
A great brand is one that is broadly-known, highly-respected and stands the test of time. Meanwhile, a poor brand is one that’s little-known, not respected or doesn’t have any lasting value.
How do you begin to define your brand?
Deciding on a company brand can be a daunting task. Your reputation has the ability to make or break your business – so how can you possibly land on one idea that completely defines your organization?
Start by digging out a pen and paper for a brainstorming session and ask yourself questions like:
- Why do people choose us over some other product or provider?
- What characteristics make us stand out? What do we want to be known for?
- What is unique about our customers? How do our products or services compare to competitors’?
The Ancient Greeks were onto something with the aphorism “know thyself”: only after you’ve determined your meaningful differentiators can you begin communicating your brand identity.
The Importance of Your Company’s Brand
People gravitate towards companies they perceive as being high in quality and character. A great brand acts like a magnet for attracting customers and creates a lasting emotional connection with your audience. Brands have the power to encourage customer loyalty and attract the employees committed to carrying out the essence of your brand each and every day.
When embarking on a brand strategy, aim for a brand that is malleable enough to evolve with society, yet reliable enough to maintain your unique identity. As they say, perception is reality – before settling on a brand identity, do your research and be honest with yourself to make sure it leads to the perception you intended.