What is branding anyway? It’s not only a logo – though we do plenty of great ones.
But your logo is only the tip of the iceberg.
Perceptions of your brand happen in the minds of the target market. A brand is the aggregate perception the market has of a particular company, product or service in relation to their perceptions of the competitors in the same category.
So brand positioning will happen whether or not your company’s management is proactive, reactive or passive about the on-going process of evolving your brand. It happens automatically.
But, if you define your story and tell it to the world with a clear, single voice, you can positively affect the perceptions of any market. You can shape the conversation. You can develop marketing that strongly aligns your vision.
Companies like yours get busy doing what you do well. You are busy succeeding, growing and acquiring new business. The busier you are, the more likely you could neglect to tell your own brand story. This leads to the market making up the story for you. In effect, your brand is at the mercy of a rumor mill, and untruths often take hold in the minds of consumers. This can be devastating to any brand image.
Branding is how companies create an image or identity in the minds of a target market for its product, brand, or organization. If your brand is not defined clearly, your design group will design you a logo that is X. Then your PR group will write up a you that is Y. Then your ad agency will define you as Z. No matter how good they are, they are telling different stories of you. You are now X, Y and Z, not YOU. Your communications do not reflect the company’s brand essence. Your target does not know what to think of you.
Branding is the first step to smart, effective communications. It is the common ground for a company’s team of advertising and public relations. The most effective brands look, feel, talk, and think like a unique entity. Think of great brands: Apple, Virgin, BMW, and FedEx, to name a few. Every single one of them began with defining their brand and building a worldwide team of communicators that always stay true to that brand.
Branding needs to be done when a company launches a new brand. Brands are like people. They are always growing, learning, acquiring new areas of business, and constantly changing. As a company expands in size and into new markets, the brand should be revisited to keep it on track.
It always starts with branding. If everyone in your communications chain is telling the same story and, if that story is true to your brand, the market will believe it.