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28 June 2019

Branding - The Definition of Branding

To understand what branding is, you must first understand that a brand does not exist in a marketing department, a PR team or a company directors office. A brand exists only in the minds of your customers.

A brand’s success can be measured by the amount of interactions a customer has with you, your company and your products. Each one of these interactions tells a story. If a customer believes your product to be new and innovative, those attributes become part of your brand. If your packaging is sophisticated, your brand will be considered elite. If your print materials are poor, your customer will perceive your brand as cheap.

Branding is a marketing practice in which a company, in the first instance, creates a name, symbol or design that is easily associated with that business. This helps to identify a product or service which distinguishes that company from other competitors. More importantly however, it not only makes a memorable impression on consumers, but also allows your customers to know what to expect from your company.

Branding is vital to a business. It can change how people perceive your brand, drive new business and increase brand awareness. Are you innovative? Are you experienced? Are you reliable? Are you the high cost option, or the low cost option? Your branding should be based to some extent on what your target customer wants and expects of you.

Defining your brand can be difficult and time-consuming, but it is a vital part of the branding process. Areas you need to think about are what is your company’s mission statement, the benefits and features of your products or services, customer feedback and the qualities you wish to be associated with your business.

Once you have defined your brand, the next step is communication. How can this be achieved? The following areas are most simple and best ways to get the word out to your customers.

1. A logo. This is the most important element of branding as essentially it is the face of your company.

2. A mission statement. This is the key message you want to communicate about your brand. Every employee should be aware of this statement.

3. Brand values. Successful brands carefully select their values and integrate them into each and every aspect of the company, team, message, sales, marketing, service, and offerings. These can cover all aspects of your company from how you answer the phones, what you wear, customer service, email signatures etc. As long as your company understands your brand values, a consistent message is portrayed to your customer or client helping to strengthen their perception of your brand.

4. Brand voice. If your brand was a person, how would you describe it to someone? Is it passionate? Is it fun? Is it trustworthy? This voice should be applied to all communications and visual imagery connected with your brand.

5. Tagline. A concise phrase or sentence can be written to capture the essence of your brand. This can link back to both your brand values and voice.

6. Brand identity. Guidelines should be put in place to cover everything from logo usage, colour palettes, typefaces and packaging, through to signage and retail. This will help to drive a consistent brand message through to your customer. Without consistency a brand can easily fail.

7. Finally, be true to your brand. Customer’s won’t continue to use your service or refer you to someone else if you fail to deliver your brand values.

Therefore, branding is not just a logo or a name or a symbol. These are part of a brand, but branding is much more. It is about your company values and mission statement which should be cascaded down to your employees so that they can ultimately pass them on to your customers. Consistent branding results in strong brand awareness.

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