This a question that has befuddled many business owners. As business people, we know we’re supposed to have a brand, but knowing we’re supposed to brand our business and defining branding can be worlds apart.
What is Branding? It’s who you are!
Branding is your business’s identity. It’s the emotional message your audience conjures up when they hear your company’s name — what is branding? It’s your company’s image.
Not image in the sense of a visual logo, although logos reinforce a business’s brand, but image in that your brand is, as verbal branding expert Steve Cecil put it, “the promise you make to the world.” Basically, your brand is what your audience “expects” from you, based upon a combination of your marketing message, their personal experience with your business, and word of mouth marketing buzz that your target audience has heard about you.
What is branding supposed to do for a company?
A brand should be simple, memorable, and customer-focused. It’s based to define your brand before you start marketing your company’s products and services. Determine how you want to answer the question, “What is Branding?” in relation to your company.
Your company’s brand not only identifies you and your business, it differentiates you from your competition.
The three steps to answering the “Who am I?” part of what is branding are:
- Determine your company’s desired brand
- Discover what your target audience thinks about your brand
- Distinguish your company from the others in your market
What is branding? It’s what you do!
Branding isn’t simply a concept or idea – it’s an action!
What is branding’s “What you do?” made up of?
Typically, your brand consists of your marketing message, your logo, your website, your tagline, packaging, communications, signage — everything you do to promote your company reinforces your brand identity, plus the reputation your company has among your market.
A company’s brand not only stems from your marketing efforts, but it is driven by your target audience. Your brand is both the company identity you wish to portray to the world and your market’s perception of your company. The closer these two ideas align, the stronger your brand.
What you do to answer the what is branding question consists of three parts:
- Visual (your company’s images and designs)
- Voice (your marketing message and tagline)
- Vocabulary (your company’s connection to your audience’s market-speech)
Examples of some famous brands
Some companies have answered well the “What is Branding?” question. When you think of certain companies, a definite image forms in your mind. Some of the strongest company brands include: Coca-Cola (quite possibly the most recognized company name in the world), Disney, Nike. Who wouldn’t put Nike among the top “What is Branding?” success stories? The simple swoosh says it all — with no need to include the company’s name!
Some company brands are more easily recognized by their logos, others by their taglines. For example, when Wendy’s launched the “Where’s the Beef?” marketing campaign, the phrase caught on and soon spawned many other “Where’s the ___ ?” phrases. ”
While some logos are obscure, making it difficult to ascertain the branding message, a catchy tagline is a great way to reinforce your company’s “What is branding?” image. A tagline should convey exactly what needs of your target audience that your company is providing solutions for.
Here are some great customer-needs-focused taglines:
- Can you hear me now? (Verizon)
- Problem: No cell phone service
- Solution: Larger service area
- Say it with flowers (FTD)
- Problem: What to say?
- Solution: Use flowers instead of words.
What is branding? It’s how you do it!
How do you connect with your target audience? How do you promote your brand in order to collect more leads? How to you launch products? How do you develop marketing campaigns? What types of advertising, if any, do you use? How do you use social media? Email? Your blog?
All those questions are pieces of the “what is branding?” puzzle.
What is branding saying to the world about YOUR company?