What is Branding and How it's Different from a Logo and Marketing
When you think of brands you probably think of big names, and the big named products you see every day.
But what exactly is a brand? What does it mean? How is your brand communicated?
When talking with entrepreneurs, I get a sense there's a lot of confusion on what exactly branding is. After reading this article, you'll be well informed on some of the common terminologies you hear like brand positioning, why a brand is not just a logo and what to do if you suspect your brand needs a makeover.
A brand is more than just a logo, tagline, website or jingle. It's the total experience of working with you.
Every touch-point a customer has with you shapes your brand. Whether favourable or not, the overall perception the public has about you and your business makes up your brand.
Your brand encompasses a visual look and feel through the use of colours, logos, imagery and typography. There is also verbal branding depicted through your core values, vision statement, jingle or tagline.
But your brand also includes the results of experiences with you, your team and your company in general through shopping, networking, customer service, your website, and social media channels.
The Difference Between Marketing and Branding
Many people think marketing and branding are the same thing but this is not the case. Here's a story to help you understand the example:
– A guy walks into a party and sees a girl he likes. He walks over to her and says “I am a great dancer.”
That's marketing. He's sharing a message with the prospect I hopes to move her to action.
– A guy walks into a party and sees a girl he likes. He walks over to her and says “Hey, I'll dance with you for the low price of one dollar.”
That's sales. He is offering an opportunity for money to a prospect.
– A guy walks into a party and sees a girl he likes. The girl walks over to him and says “those girls tell me you are a great dancer.”
That's branding. Through the girl's experience, she formed a favourable brand impression that moved into action.
What Makes a Good Brand?
Many businesses try to appeal to a wide audience. But strong brands have a polarizing effect. They appeal to a smaller niche audience.
Today's customers are craving more transparency and authenticity with their favourite brands. They want to know the REAL person behind the company.
Who are they?
What inspires them?
How did they get into business?
What matters to them?
What causes do they represent?
What do they do in their personal time?
Moreover, multimedia is shifting consumers to having more kinds of experiences with their brand. The use of interactive websites, Facebook live feeds, social media responses and live cams all help shape a brand.
In fact, millions (including me) are watching April the Giraffe on a live video cam (as of March 14, 2017) as she prepares to give birth to a baby calf. The Animal Adventure Park is exponentially increasing their brand reach and awareness just through this one tactic alone.
A business can be very organic and as times goes by, the original brand you started with may not fit anymore. This has happened to several of our clients where, after several years, they realize their original brand is no longer consistent with their current business model and the market they are serving.
Conducting a brand assessment allows you to evaluate the strength of your brand, understand its value with customers, and how to reposition the brand, if needed, to reflect any changes.
So it's important to periodically do a check to see if your logo, website, bios, headshots, tagline, and other branding elements are still a fit. If you look back at McDonald's, they have had numerous slogans over the years. You may remember “You deserve a break today” (1971), or “We do it all for you” (1975), or the current one “Lovin' Beats Hatin'” (2015).
As consumers changed, they updated their image and brand messaging to stay fresh and relevant with their audience.
Does Your Brand Need a Makeover?
Often as a business grows, a rebrand is needed to upscale messaging to fit with the newer level of success. Or a business could be changing its focus when launching a new product/service or appealing to a new target audience.
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