You May Be Asking Yourself
What Is Branding
The marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product or service from other products or services.
If your branding strategy is effective it gives you a major edge in increasingly competitive markets. But your asking, what exactly does “branding” mean? The easiest way to define branding is your brand is your promise to your client/customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from that of your competitors. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be.
Are you a creative maverick in your industry? Are you experienced, reliable? Is your product or service the high-cost, high-quality option, or the low-cost, high-value option?
Your brand strategy is how, what, where, when and to whom you plan on communicating and delivering on your brand’s messages.
Where you choose to advertise is part of your brand strategy. Your distribution channels, i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Periscope, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Digg, etc., are also part of your brand strategy. What you communicate visually and verbally is part of your brand strategy, as well.
Consistent, strategic branding leads to a strong brand recognition. One example of this is Pepsi vs. a generic soda. Because Pepsi has built a powerful brand presence, it can charge more for its product–and customers will pay that higher price.
The added value intrinsic to brand recognition often comes in the form of perceived quality or emotional attachment.
In order to define your brand you must go on a journey of business self-discovery. It can be difficult, time-consuming, uncomfortable and requires, at the outset, that you answer these questions:
- What is your company’s mission?
- What are the benefits and features of your products or services?
- What do your customers and prospects already think of your company?
- What qualities do you want them to associate with your company?
This will take research about the needs, habits and desires of your current and prospective customers. And don’t rely on what you think they think. Know what they think. If you are asking “how would I know” the answer is ASK THEM.
Once you’ve defined your brand, how do you get the word out? Here are a few simple, time-tested tips:
- Get a great logo. Use it everywhere.
- Develop a tagline. Write a memorable, meaningful and concise statement that captures the essence of your brand.
- Write down your brand messaging. What are the key messages you want to communicate about your brand?
- Integrate your brand. Branding extends to every aspect of your business–how you answer your phones, what you wear in public and on sales calls, your e-mail signature, your laptop cover, your cell phone case, your tote bag and everything that potential clients/customers will see when you are in pubic.
- Create your brand’s “voice” and apply it to all written and spoken communication. Is your brand friendly?. Is it high-class? Is it formal? It should reflect who you are.
- Design templates and create brand standards for your marketing materials. Use the same color scheme, logo placement, look and feel throughout all of your marketing. Be consistent.
- Be true to your brand. If you don’t deliver on your brand promise, customers won’t return to you–or refer you to anyone else.
- Be consistent. This tip involves all the above and is the most important tip on this list. If you can’t do this, your attempts at establishing a brand will fail.