Monday, May 17, 2010

Will The Real Definition of "Branding" Please Stand UP

A word of caution before you spend money on advertising & marketing: define your brand identity--your company's "personality". But before you can define it you have to understand it......the actual meaning of the word branding.
When entrepreneurs talk about their marketing & communications efforts, they use words "branding", "advertising", "marketing" & "logo" interchangeably. This reflects the pervasive confusion about the terms. People get the words mixed up all the time, yet they are not all one & the same.
Branding is the most misunderstood concept in all of marketing. It's not advertising, marketing or public relations. It happens BEFORE all of those. First you create the brand then you raise awareness of it through the designing & circulation of your logo with advertising & marketing.

Your product or your service is not your company's brand. Neither is your logo, your business card or the promotional imprinted products you give out. Your brand is the personality of your company; in other words, a combination of all these should reflect your brand.
Think of your brand as a toolbox containing advertising, direct mail, ads on tv & radio, market research, PR, online advertising & webinars, business cards, promotional custom products & whatever else you use to distribute your name among the public.
It's what your company stands for & is known for. Before you do anything with your business or use any of the marketing tools mentioned, you need to define your brand. If you don't, someone else will......most likely your competitors.

Steve Cicil, copywriter & branding expert in San Carlos, CA, defines a brand as a promise & branding as the act of devising that promise your company makes. "Marketing," he goes on to say, "is the strategy that differentiates your brand promise from all the other brand promises in that increasingly crowded house called your catagory."

A brand creates an image among the consumer. It says something about you is worth their attention & hopefully, their business as your loyal customer.
This doesn't happen by magic......don't think that just because you have brand identity, you'll have automatic success. Now you need to promote that message you want the public to see. Once your brand is defined, you must constantly use the necessary tools in the "toolbox" to keep your company visible among your clients & prospective customers. The image & message you want to portray should elicit both an emotional & a rational response from people & it needs to appeal to your targeted audience, not to you.

So the main thing to remember when you think of brand identity, is your marketing, logo & product are not your brand--they are vehicles to get your brand known. Your brand needs to be established before you accomplish any other kind of promotion or advertising with your business.

I hope this helps you understand the term branding & will make it easier for you to find your own brand.
Ronni Sherman

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Thanks! You broke it down so it sounds like someone can actually obtain a brand identity for their company.