branding

What exactly is branding? And why is it important to your business? This post will answer those questions. In the next one, I’ll discuss what you need to do to successfully brand your company.

Let’s start by defining the word. The American Marketing Association defines brand/branding as “a customer experience represented by a collection of images and ideas; often, it refers to a symbol such as a name, logo, slogan, and design scheme. Brand recognition and other reactions are created by the accumulation of experiences with the specific product or service, both directly relating to its use, and through the influence of advertising, design, and media commentary.”

Whew. That’s a mouthful. For more clarity, let’s see how some marketing and advertising experts define brand and branding.

Brand is the sum total of how someone perceives a particular organization. Branding is about shaping that perception. –Ashley Friedlein

A brand is a singular idea or concept that you own inside the mind of a prospect. –Al Ries

A brand is a reason to choose. –Cheryl Burgess

A brand is essentially a container for a customer’s complete experience with the product or company. –Sergio Zyman

Brand is the image people have of your company or product. It’s who people think you are. –Ann Handley

Branding is the art of aligning what you want people to think about your company with what people actually do think about your company. And vice-versa. –Jay Baer

Branding is the representation of your organization as a personality. Branding is who you are that differentiates you. –Dave Kerpen

Successful branding is what you do, not what you say or show. Successful branding requires your delivering consistently positive experiences for your constituents. –Jim Siegel

Now that we know what branding is, why is it important? In a word, competition.

The history of brands shows that, whether buying a car or carpet, today’s consumer enjoys more choices than ever before. Plus, factors like improved production processes and government standards make the quality difference between one product and another less discernible, almost negligible in many categories.

As a result, having a good product no longer ensures success. Companies must do more to differentiate themselves from the competition. And they have to accomplish this in an environment of Twitter and twerking, where virtually everyone and everything fights for attention.

Branding offers a way to do that. It breaks marketing down to its bare essential: a one-on-one experience. It’s your promise to your customer: “Here is what you can expect from me, and here is why that makes me more desirable than my competition.”

Branding levels a marketing playing field once dominated by big ad budgets, huge sales forces and expansive distribution networks. Any business can now successfully build and maintain a brand. All it takes is knowing how. And that’s what I’ll cover in my next post.