Branding is the marketing practice of actively shaping your brand. That’s the basic definition, but there is so much more that goes into it.
Branding is what your business needs to break through the clutter and grab your ideal customer’s attention. It’s what transforms first-time buyers into lifetime customers and turns an indifferent audience into brand evangelists. It’s what you need to stand out, make an impact and take your business to the next level.
In other words, if you want your business to succeed, branding is non-negotiable.
But why, exactly, is branding so important? What does it entail? And how do you brand your business in a way that’s going to have a real impact on your audience? In this article, we’re going to explore what branding is and how your business can reap its benefits in the most effective way.
What does branding mean?
Branding has been around since 350 A.D and is derived from the word “Brandr”, meaning “to burn” in Ancient Norse language. By the 1500s, it had come to mean the mark that ranchers burned on cattle to signify ownership—a precursor of the modern logo.
Yet branding today is so much more than just a look or a logo. It has come to signify the emotional “gut feeling” reaction a company can elicit from its customers.
Your brand is the set of perceptions people have about your company. But branding is the set of actions you take to cultivate that brand.
In other words, your brand is a noun, but branding is a verb. When you design a logo, that’s branding. When you develop your brand voice, that’s branding. When you get together with your marketing team to brainstorm an ad campaign, that’s branding.
Any action you take to shape your brand is, in a nutshell, branding.
A better brand means better marketing
As a general rule, products have limited life cycles, but brands—if managed well—last forever. And once you’ve nailed down exactly who you are as a brand, it becomes much easier to market it.
Your brand guidelines, coupled with ongoing market research and analysis, should give you a tactical advantage in determining the best way to market your products. Do you focus on traditional marketing like radio and billboard, or is your potential customer more swayed by viral Youtube videos and Snapchat filters? Marketing can be a mix and match of tactics, but be careful of spreading yourself too thin. By continually consulting your brand guide, you should be able to focus your efforts on the tactics that really matter.
At the end of the day, marketing is the process that brings you the leads and sales, but branding is the foundation upon which you build your reputation and customer loyalty.
Empower your business with branding
The one thing you’ll want to remember is that branding is a verb. It is an action. So while it might seem daunting at first—considering all of the planning, assets and personnel that go into cultivating an unforgettable brand—it is also empowering. Rather than letting others tell your story, you are speaking up with branding.
If you ever feel lost in the process, remember that support is always at hand. Once you have established your branding vision, get in touch with a professional designer help to bring your branding to life.