What Exactly Is A Brand?

Marketing folks talk a lot about Branding - a lot. You may have a general understanding of how branding fits into an overall marketing program, but perhaps you've wondered what that means exactly. Some people think branding is like positioning, but it is different. The main difference is that positioning is a fluid concept. In other words, you can position yourself at different times in different markets as different things. Branding is more set in stone- it's a hard-core recognition factor.

Let's use Nike as an example: their branding is very clear - you can see that swoosh and instantly know that it's Nike because it's always the exact same shape and presented in the same way. Where you see a Nike message is the positioning: they will use their brand to position the company to different audiences - men, women, athletes, youth, etc.

Branding is more about the following of rules because if you don't follow those rules, things don't look the same and people won't remember you. When you put out your marketing pieces, you want to create a similar look and feel so that people remember you. And you want that similar look and feel on every thing you put out. If your logo is red and round, you don't want it to be pink and oval because someone distorted it to make it fit. Don't laugh - I've seen it happen!

The good thing is that you get to make the rules…colors the same, style of lettering the same, logo etc. And there is some flexibility as long as you follow the rules. You can't go too far out of bounds, but you can change some things within the frame of what others can still recognize.

"The way a company brands itself is everything - it will ultimately decide whether a business survives."

Sir Richard Branson

Branding in your marketing has to make you feel something.

Your brand should evoke some type of feeling to your audience. Do you want them to feel happy? Confident? Curious? Empowered?

Branding is just like the old coat of arms that families used to have connected with their name. It would instill respect, fear, and wealth - whatever. Likewise, a country's flag gets people to feel a certain way about their country. Think about what message you want to portray. What do you want recipients of your promotion to think about you? What do you want it to say? That you are a fun, easy going company? That you are a serious professional? That your business is all about children? What image of your company do you want to put out there? That is your brand. When people see you continually as one thing, they begin to expect the same from you and they get used to you. It matters: a technology company can't have an old style font in their logo - you might not think they were very far advanced.

Branding is a marketing technique that has the potential to elevate your business to the top. It involves helping your customers to form a recognizable association with you.
Link your business with a design, logo, slogan, and/or color and observe the positive results.

Brands create a feeling of familiarity.

If customers have seen your logo, insignia, or company name, they are more likely to continue to select your product or service. Also, they are more apt to suggest them to others. Referrals through word of mouth can be an extremely powerful form of advertising. The more often they see your branding - through your social media, website, email marketing, printed materials, apparel, etc. - the stronger that feeling of familiarity becomes.

A brand helps possible customers remember your business.

People may know little about your philosophy or reputation. However, if they can recognize your brand, the chances are greater that they will do business with you. Branding creates memory in the mind of the public.

When the public remembers your brand and familiarizes themselves and others with it, they will come back. Customers are more likely to remain devoted to your business and are apt to buy further products or services from you based on the brand of the initial product with which they had success.

Good branding pays off.

People are willing to pay more for products or services that they highly regard. This means that customers are likely to pass up cheaper prices with competitors if your brand has made a positive impression on them. If clients believe in your product, they will pay for it, AND they will tell their friends and colleagues about you!

When you have distinguished your business through branding, your marketing efforts will bring increased return on investment - more leads, more conversations, more sales. Developing your brand takes time and effort, but it is critical to your long term success. Don't let your competitors outpace you because their branding is on point and yours is not!

Need some help? Visit my website at www.nextlevelad.com for additional tips, tools, and resources to take your brand to the next level!

To your success ~