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There are so many definitions as to what a brand and branding are that it can be confusing for anyone to attempt to make any sense of it. This post was designed to clear up some of that confusion.

What Is A Brand?

The many definitions floating out into the ether for what a brand is has drawn so much confusion. A brand is not tangible and is highly subjective. Many people use the term brand interchangeably with a company, product, or service. Associating this word as only a product, service, or company is only part of what the term means.

A brand is a concept based upon the identity of a company, a product, and or service and its impression. For an organization to begin developing a brand, it must first clearly understand what it stands for—its true essence, mission, vision, brand promise, and business philosophy. The idea of this understanding is imperative so that the organization can communicate those values from the inside out. So, for me, a brand has a twofold meaning. It starts with who an organization is and then is validated by its impact.

A brand also delivers a distinct experience for those interacting with your business in various forms. It encompasses all the touchpoints in your business from the inside out. A touchpoint could be:

  • An app that you developed,
  • The way that your business relates to your customers in social media,
  • The approach that your customer service team takes to handle customer complaints,
  • The employees’ behavior as they interact with each other
  • The type of paper that you use for your business’s print collateral,
  • The visuals used in your marketing materials
  • The way your business speaks to its customers in its marketing campaigns, and so on.

You get the point.

Your brand encompasses your company’s nature, everything within it, how it’s expressed to the world, and how people inside and outside of the company perceives it. While a company cannot control what others think or feel about it, it can try its best to communicate strategically who it is through branding and marketing.

What Is A Brand’s Purpose?

The purpose of a brand is to help your business stand out from other businesses that offer the same or similar products/services. It serves as a point of differentiation in the marketplace. A well-structured brand not only gives your business a point of differentiation, but it also gives you a framework for running your business.

  • It sets the tone and serves as a roadmap for your business—from your internal operations and brand culture to the external in creating a connection with your customers.
  • Branding comes from you understanding your business’s value proposition and your core values. (Please note that I stated “you.” A brand does not come from any branding agency or design firm. If anyone tells you otherwise, they’re lying to you. What branding agencies or design firms do is use who you are or help you uncover and or dig deeper into who you are and help you to strategize and move forward in your business with your brand.)
  • A well-structured brand and strategy will cause you to be less susceptible to distractions. You’ll know what situations, tactics, or strategies to avoid because they do not line up with your brand’s essence.
  • Your brand gives you a point of understanding for your customer—who they are and what they want or need.
  • Once you develop, deeply understand, and connect with your brand, it’ll be easier to make an emotional connection with your audience and your marketing efforts will be more relevant and consistent.

Branding is an ongoing, organic process of creating and using your business’s differentiation in the marketplace.

What Is Branding?

The art of branding is where logic, intuition, and emotion intersect. Branding is an ongoing, organic process of creating and using your business’s differentiation in the marketplace. It requires focused discipline and time which starts from the inside out.

Branding uses marketing activities to position a business’s brand which then persuades or influences customers and potential customers to be aware of, to know, and to trust and like your business. It also involves relevancy, consistency, and connection. And really, the only way to communicate that effectively is focusing inward outward. It is only then through the clear understanding that you can be consistent, relevant, and speak in one voice successfully delivering your brand’s promise(s) to your audience.
When you don’t take the time to make sure that your brand is effectively communicating what you stand for, people get confused or don’t remember you. Without consistency holding your messaging, your look, or your promises together the result is a characterless, unmemorable brand. There’s so much noise in the world that it’s pretty easy to have your business’s voice drowned out in the crowd.

Do you need help in creating a stand out brand?

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Marcia McCray

Author Marcia McCray

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