What does branding mean to you, and why does it matter?
When I’m talking about branding to new business owners, I often remember attending a cattle branding when I was five years old. My dad (a complete non-cowboy) had taken me to this “party” and I was shocked at what the main entertainment was. These poor little calves were caught and held while someone branded them. My alarm was apparent to some of the adults around me, who tried to persuade me that the calves didn’t really feel it. From the calves’ reactions to the branding, it seemed to me that they did, in fact, feel it very much. Or maybe they just didn’t like the lack of control while they were held down. Either way, they didn’t appear to enjoy being branded against their will.
Branding is like that. You and your business get branded whether you like it or not. People form opinions about you. Luckily, with personal and business branding, you can formulate a plan and make sure those opinions are positive, accurate and helpful to your bottom line. You can control your branding to a much larger extent than most people realize or take responsibility for.
Most experts define “branding” as the combined efforts of figuring out what strengths you should emphasize and on emphasizing those strengths in word and design.
We may think of the Nike “swoosh” or the Apple icon when we think of branding, but as you probably know, there is so much more to branding than just a logo or even a “look and feel”. In wise branding, you first determine your marketing basics, such as SWOTs, USPs, etc. These necessities set you up for better branding success.
Branding activities can include:
- Studying your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses.
- Looking for unrealized opportunities in your targeted markets.
- Discussing what your corporate strengths are.
- Discussing what your product strengths are.
- Deciding what you want your corporate strengths and product strengths to be.
- Deciphering the emotions and words that are currently associated with your brand.
- Determining the emotions and words that you want to come to mind associated with your brand.
- Developing an overall brand strategy.
- Developing a look and feel that supports your overall brand strategy.
- Developing a logo that supports your look and feel AND your overall brand strategy.
- Creating a brand guidelines document to ensure consistent use of your branding.
What You Can Do
You are already a brand. It may be a well known brand or not known yet, but already you exist and people associate certain things with you.
You can change yourself completely or you can tweak things to focus on your strengths and slowly get rid of your weaknesses.
Either way, the results improve when you purposefully think about your branding instead of not being aware of your brand or what your customers think about you.
If You Get Stuck
We can do everything from an external review on your branding plan to competitor branding research to a full branding solution. If you get stuck, we are here to help in any way you need. Drop us a note and let us know what your goals are. We’ll help you get there.