What is a Brand?

It is impossible to overestimate the importance of branding when it comes to your business.  Establishing and marketing your brand can be the difference between success and failure.  The first thing you need to know is what a brand is and how it works.

Your brand is based upon any combination of name, symbol, design or terms which tell the world who you are and what you do.  A successful brand should be concise and easy to understand.  It is not simply a question of what your business does, but what it is that your business offers that sets it apart from your competitors.  You will need to make sure that your company’s brand is reliable and obvious – if your company is going to be competitive in the marketplace, people need to understand what it is that should make you their first choice.  Once you prove yourself repeatedly, your brand will have real staying power.

While branding is tied to marketing, it is not precisely the same thing.  Marketing does help you to establish your brand, but your brand, once firmly in place, is worth more than any marketing campaign.  Through careful and coordinated efforts, you can position your company in the marketplace as the one that offers something specific that your potential customers will want.  Ideally, a brand can be summed up in one word.  However, the important thing is that your brand be clear, motivational and will inspire loyalty.

Examples of successful branding are all around you.  There are a lot of fast food chains, but only one is known for, say the golden arches in their logo.  While most fast food restaurants offer basically the same food, the most successful ones have managed to succeed because they inspire brand loyalty.  Whether it be quick service or good food or a combination of different factors, these businesses are able to compete on an international level because they have established and protected their brand over the course of many years.  This is how branding can work for your business.  By focusing on what makes your company unique, rather than what you have in common with your competitors, you can offer your company as a viable alternative in terms of quality, reliability, whatever factor it is that makes you stand out from the crowd.  If you are honest and able to back up your claims, your brand will inspire repeat business and customer loyalty.

It is essential that during any type of contact with the public, branding is a factor.  This means that TV and radio advertisements, public announcements, print campaigns, newsletters, your website, all these should be concentrated on establishing your company’s brand, so that people will think of you when they have need of the types of goods or services your company can provide.

In short, branding is the difference between being a business that offers some goods or services and being the business that people turn to when they need those goods and/or services.  Successful branding means that you identify your company as closely as possible with the business you are in.  You want your company name and logo to be synonymous with what you offer in the public mind.  To that end, any company should focus on branding from the very beginning and remain focused on branding through marketing.  Protecting your brand and reputation will be the measure of success and failure for any business.

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