When discussing marketing objectives for any size enterprise, from a large corporation to a neighborhood restaurant, often the words “brand” or “branding” are thrown out liberally in the conversation as an element to improve or change. But, what really is branding? And, how can you use it to improve your business?
What is a Brand?
A brand is a set of associations that a person makes with a company, product, service, individual, or organization. A “brand” is what one thinks of when he considers a corporate name. For example, what comes to mind when I say, “Coca-Cola?” Or, “Nike.” Their logo and how you feel about them come to mind, don’t they? Those associations that come to mind are what set them apart from their competition. And that is exactly why every company needs to develop a strong brand.
Branding is the process of clearly highlighting what makes a company’s offer different from, and more desirable than, anyone else’s. Effective branding elevates a product or organization from being just one commodity among many identical commodities, to becoming something with a unique character and promise. It can create an emotional resonance in the minds of consumers.
What sets your company apart from your competition? Do you have a logo that comes to the mind of your potential customer? Does your business card, website, and any brochures that you hand out communicate clearly what you do and how you are different from the competition? Is your brand appropriate for your line of business, and is it aimed at your target market?
If you’re thinking about how to rebrand your business, its products or services, here are a few key aspects you should consider:
- Your Big Idea. What makes your company different? What is your offer? Is there a gap in the market that you could fill?
- Values. What does your company believe in?
- Vision. Where is your company going?
- Personality. How do you want your company to come across?
- Demographic. Who is your target market, and what are they attracted to?
Once you begin to answer these questions with clarity and consistency, you have the basis for developing a strong brand.