Branding es the marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products.
Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers.
An effective brand strategy gives you a major edge in increasingly competitive markets.
But what exactly does branding mean? Simply put, your brand is your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from that of your competitors.
Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be.
Are you the innovative maverick in your industry? Or the experienced, reliable one? Is your product the high-cost, high-quality option, or the low-cost, high-value option? You can't be both, and you can't be all things to all people. Who you are should be based to some extent on who your target customers want and need you to be.
The foundation of your brand is your logo. Your website, packaging and promotional materials communicate your brand.
Your brand strategy is how, what, where, when and to whom you plan on communicating and delivering on your brand messages.
Where you advertise is part of your brand strategy. Your distribution channels are also part of your brand strategy. And what you communicate visually and verbally is part of your brand strategy, too.
Consistent, strategic branding leads to a strong brand equity, which means the added value brought to your company's products or services that allows you to charge more for your brand than what identical, unbranded products command.
The added value intrinsic to brand equity frequently comes in the form of perceived quality or emotional attachment.
Defining your brand is like a journey of business self-discovery. It can be difficult, time-consuming and uncomfortable.
It requires, at the very least, that you answer the questions below:
Do your research and learn the needs, habits and desires of your current and prospective customers.
And don't rely on what you think they think. Know what they think.
Once you've defined your brand, how do you get the word out? Here are a few simple, time-tested tips:
Branding is the use of all the tools at your disposal to make your target audience feel what your company is all about.
Marketing is all the tactics you use to bring your brand to that audience. Marketing can bring in leads, but branding keeps them coming back, because they feel that thing about your company.
They want your gear, your food, and your services, because every time they see one of your brand elements or think about your products and services, they feel that thing, and they remember that your products or services are high-quality or cheap and reliable, or delicious or generous.
A brand exists only in the mind of your customer. It is the sum total of all impressions that your customer gets from all interactions with you, your product, and your company.
Every interaction sends a message.
It is your job, as brand manager, to make sure all of those messages are pointing the right direction to support your brand strategy.
Proper branding elevates your product to be more than just a sum of its parts. People make purchasing decisions based on more than just product features.