What Is Branding And Why It’s Important There is a lot of confusion around branding and there are multiple definitions, so what is branding? Decades ago, branding was defined as a name, slogan, sign, a symbol or design, the elements that identify products or services of a company. The brand was identified of the elements that differentiated the goods and or service from the competition. Today, branding is a bit more complex and even more important in today’s world of marketing. It’s the perception that a consumer has when they hear or think of your company name, service, or product. That being said the word “brand” or “branding” is a moving target and evolves with the behavior of consumers, I think of it as the mental picture of who you as a company represents to consumers. It’s influenced by the elements, words, and creativity that surround it. What Should a Brand Do? Branding is not only about getting your target market to select you over the competition, but about getting your prospects to see you as the sole provider of a solution to their needs. Establishing yourself as the authority in your field, you want to be what’s in their mind when they think of your industry. The objectives that a good brand will achieve include: Clearly delivering the message Confirming your credibility Emotionally connecting your target prospects with your product and service Motivating the buyer to buy Creating User Loyalty Branding and Understanding Your Customer To succeed in branding, you must understand the needs and wants of your customers. It is achieved by integrating your brand strategies through your company at every single point of public contact, whether it be marketing, posting online, emails, etc. Think of branding as the expression of who your company or organization is and what you have to offer to customers. Think of it like this, if a brand could speak, it would say: I am ________________. I exist because ________________. If you relate to who I am and why I exist you might like me, you can buy me, and you can tell others about me. As consumers begin to identify with you, your brand will live within the hearts and minds of customers, clients, and prospects. It is the sum total of their experiences and perceptions, some of which you can influence, and some that you cannot. The Importance of Branding A strong brand is invaluable as the battle for customers intensifies as more and more businesses join the digital marketing world. It’s important to spend time investing in researching, defining, and building your brand. After all, your brand is the source of a promise to your consumer! Your brand is a fundamental piece of your marketing communications, and one you do not want to be without. Branding is strategic, while marketing is tactical and what you use to get your brand in front of consumers. That’s why it carries a great deal of importance within a business. “Marketing is the engine to your business and branding is the fuel.” Brand serves as a guide to understanding the purpose of business objectives. It enables you to align a marketing plan with those objectives and fulfill the strategy. The effectiveness of brand doesn’t just happen before the purchase, but it’s also about the life of the brand and the experiences it gives a consumer. Did the product or service perform above and beyond? Was the quality as good as promised or over-delivered? How was the experience? If you can get positive answers to these questions, you have created a loyal customer. Brand not only creates loyal customers, but it creates loyal employees. Brand gives them something to believe in, something to stand behind. It helps them understand the purpose of the organization or the business. A Basic Checklist For Your Brand Branding can be confusing, so how do you know if your brand is strong enough to give you the internal and external value that you need in your marketing? Does your brand relate to your target audience? Will they instantly understand it without too much thought? Does your brand share the uniqueness of what you offer to customers? Does it reflect the brand promise that you are making to your targeted and existing customers? Does your brand reflect the values that you want to represent? Let these questions serve as a guideline in the development of your brand strategy. If the answers are not clear, return to the drawing board and refine the branding process. Your brand should be an instant “ah-ha” moment that requires very little thought to the consumer. If you are having issues brainstorming a brand strategy, take a look at our 10 Step Brand Development.