When you think of the word “brand” or “branding”, what do you think of? How do you define a brand?

This is an important question because how your customers feel about your brand isn’t a casual question; it’s the crucial question, customers are the most important part of your business, this is why we recommend visiting websites like https://www.qualtrics.com/research-services/ to learn how to deliver an overall great experience which will help you retain long time customers.

It seems like everyone has a different idea of what branding is and what it isn’t. I’m sure you’ve heard this one… “a brand is not a logo, slogan or your overall creative elements “. Or, how about, “a brand is a promise”. What does that even mean? Making the promise isn’t the hard part; it’s delivering on the promise that’s most important.

Most of my favorite definitions of what branding is have one thing in common: simplicity. I’ve found that part of the confusion that small businesses have with marketing in general are the ridiculously complex and confusing terms that are throw around by so-called experts.

My all-time favorite definition of branding comes from John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing fame:

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Marketing is getting people who have a specific need or problem to know, like and trust you.

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“Branding”, then, can be viewed as all the activities that help you with the know, like and trust of your customers. This is a much broader view than most people have. A lot of people relate branding to “advertising” (i.e. print ads, television and radio spots, billboards, etc). These elements may help you with getting known (although their impact is diminishing), but factors like how easy it is to do business with you, your process, your employees uniforms for work, your customer service and marketing materials, and, most importantly, if you exceed expectations and deliver on your promises, make the biggest impact on the like and the trust components of branding.

Here are a few of my other favorite (simple) explanations of branding:

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A brand is an expectation of someone or something delivering a certain feeling by way of an experience (I love the fact that this one introduces the fact that the actual “experiences” that prospects or customer have with your brand, product or service are critical to the like and trust components). Experience(s) is becoming the new marketing.

Branding = using marketing to influence peoples’ attitudes towards, and perceptions of, the brand.

Brand = collectively, what people say, feel & think about your product, service or company.

Brands are about feelings, not facts. Buying decisions are made on promises that transcend products, and promises are rooted in human emotions. Quite simply, brands are built on trust. Making and keeping promises builds trust which is among the most basic of human emotions.

Branding is a journey, not a destination.

Branding is a verb, not a noun.

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Hopefully this helps you get your arms around what branding is and isn’t and provides a foundation for building or strengthening your brand.


3 Responses to “What does branding mean to you?”

  1. Chad on October 7th, 2008 12:31 am

    Great post!

    Just to throw my two cents in:

    The foundational values and beliefs of organizations are manifested in cultural elements and reflected in ritual and ceremony that defines the inner truth of each organization. These beliefs are carried in symbolic frames that consciously and unconsciously reflect corporate culture through icons, myths, anecdotes, ceremonies, and other symbolic forms. Brands are our most modern interpretation of these frames, holding the values and purposes of their companies within their structure.

    By building on internal strengths and addressing any weaknesses, companies can ensure that their brand lives strongly in and out of their organization!

    Cheers!

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