Brand and Branding

by | Oct 1, 2020 | Business

So what is a brand? What’s branding? Why is it different from marketing or advertising? We’ll break it down here, and also show you why it’s important to get your branding right, from the start.

What is a brand?

A brand is more than just the visual assets like the company name, logo, tagline or packaging. It encompasses everything that your business exists for; it is how the public perceives your company, products, services, and the values it stands for. In other words, your brand is your reputation.

Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.

Jeff Bezos

What is branding?

Branding is the process by which we create, enhance or change a brand to influence the way the public perceives it. We seek to demonstrate value and desirability for your brand, heighten loyalty, and increase interaction and purchase.

These actions go beyond marketing and advertising; the company’s values are also important. Is it environmentally responsible? Is there workplace diversity and inclusion? Does it support strong social causes? Studies show consumers are increasingly making buying decisions based on the values that brands espouse.

BRAND = BRANDING + INTERACTION / EXPERIENCE

What is marketing?

When you promote your business and build awareness of your products and services, you’re marketing it. Every interaction you have with your customer is a form of marketing. From websites and newspaper ads, to social media, sales material and customer service.

Marketing is the equivalent of asking someone on a date. Branding is the reason they say yes.

Ren Jones

What is advertising?

Advertising is part of marketing. It is the part that is focused on driving sales and acquiring customers through paid campaigns rolled out in various media – online direct marketing, newspapers, magazines, television ads, radio, billboards, etc

What makes a brand successful?

Consistency

Being consistent in your look, tone of voice and messaging through all your customer touchpoints is critical in establishing your brand and reinforcing it in your customer’s mind. Nike’s swoosh logo and ‘Just Do It’ slogan are easily recognised even without the brand name. McDonald’s has its iconic golden arches. Apple stores have their signature white and pale wood décor, high ceilings and ficus trees.

Knowing your audience

Identify your audience and understand what they expect from your brand. Your marketing and advertising is most effective when it is focused. Trying to talk to everyone means you end up talking to no one as your message is too generic and diffuse. Use this site to  develop your customer avatar.

Experiences / connections with your audience

Develop a distinctive personality that resonates with your target audience. Create positive, memorable experiences whenever a customer interacts with your brand. That’s what they return for. Anyone can provide the same product or service as you, but it’s the unique experience you offer that lifts your brand out of the ordinary.

Delivering value and building trust

Stay on brand, always deliver on your promises, and give value. Value can be given in a myriad of ways – from going above and beyond in your customer service, from reaching out to your customers with regular discounts, from promptly fixing any problems, from anticipating their needs. All of these build trust, which is one of the most valuable commodities in this age of social media, cancel culture and fickle audiences.

Lessons to be learned!

Here’s some light reading on branding fails, and marketing campaigns and ads that really missed their mark.