What is a Brand

“Branding” is a word often thrown around in business marketing meetings. You understand it is important, but often you wonder if the benefits are worth investment. “A brand that captures your mind gains behavior. A brand that captures your heart gains commitment.” says marketing expert, Kent Huffman.

Heart, that’s right. Effective branding is about emotion, not logos on stationary head or products on billboards. Of course you want to be memorable, but in actuality, a specific combination of logo, words, type font, and colors denotes a promise. Returning to Ken’s idea, a great brand forces engagement with your company. When it elicits an emotional response, you have lifelong customers and boundless ROI.

Think about the emotions you feel when looking at any of the following logos. What are you assured they will deliver? Performance? Safety? Consistency?

Recall even the most mundane of trips to the grocery store to pick up toilet paper or paper towels. Despite lower price point alternatives, you will be inclined to “squeeze the Charmin” or absorb that “quicker picker upper,” Bounty. Fantastic branding prompts a gut reaction, gaining an edge over competitors.

Additional Benefits of Branding

  • Forms an emotional relationship with customers.
  • Increases sales through responsiveness.
  • Builds word-of-mouth marketing.
  • Serves as an internal compass of standards for employees.
  • Promotes self-awareness and stronger business identity.
  • Establishes staying power. (30% of the world’s brands were created before the 1900s)

Branding and Your Business Story

A formidable brand, Apple, has mirrored founder Steve Jobs’ highs and lows. Even after his death, Apple is still closely aligned with Jobs and the simple, intuitive advancements he promoted. His phoenix-like rise made him the main character in a transformative journey. It was aspirational!  When writing your brand story, remember the arc must have a definitive beginning, middle and end. Of course the story needs to make the client feel something. Jobs the person was an innovative, rebellious leader. Apple the brand is aligned with these same characteristics.

As Forbes Contributor, Lois Gellar points out, “If you’re going to develop your brand, the last thing you want to do is follow the beaten path. You want to head down your own road. Your brand has to plant itself in the hearts and minds (especially hearts) of prospects and customers.”

Memorability is one element of branding advertising attempts to deliver, but what makes your business unique? Other elements of branding are: promise, personality, look, voice, and service. Brainstorm how you stand apart in one or several of these areas. Can you make in indelible stamp on the heart?

Branding and Social Media

Lastly, consider how your “humanized brand” will court your target community. Social media has made interaction with brands simpler. In fact 58% of Facebook users have liked a brand on Facebook. Don’t think of social media as simply another publishing platform. Strive to make customers laugh, smile, or feel inspired. Take a lesson from Allstate’s Mayhem. After all, you are more than just a stuffy insurance company!

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