The word branding is one that gets tossed around a lot in the world of marketing and advertising, or at least it used to. I tend to hear it more these days in relation to celebrities and social media. Where people instead of products, companies, or businesses have their own brand. By the definition of the word brand I suppose a person can have their own. However, not in the same way a product, company, or business creates a brand.
As much as marketing experts today will tell you that brand driven strategies are ineffective and expensive compared to online or technology based advertising, there is still a very real need to create and promote your brand in all of advertising. Wikipedia defines a brand as, “a name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.” I can agree with Wikipedia that a brand is definitely something that sets you apart from your competitors. However, a brand needs to be so much more than that.
Your brand needs to be the designs, symbols, and features that set you apart, but it also needs to be a feeling or emotion that is triggered in the mind of potential customers. How do people feel or react when they see your logo, or hear the name of your company on the radio? When your company name pops up in a Google search, or a digital ad appears on a customers go to news site, how do they feel? Do they respond in a positive way, or is the first thought that pops into their head a negative one? As much as the logo, slogan, or design plays a huge role in the marketing of your brand, the experience you provide customers contributes to the feeling they get when they interact with your company.
Each of us has a circle of influence of roughly 200 people. These people aren’t the sole reason for the decisions or purchases we make, but we do ask them about their experience with certain companies or brands in order to gain knowledge and do research before we make a purchase. These people tell us how they feel about products or companies based upon the experiences they have had. So what does this teach us about branding?
It is important to protect your brand! Protect it in your marketing and advertising by ensuring that your logo is displayed correctly, your company slogan is always included, and the color scheme is just right. However, do not neglect your brand inside your own walls. Protect your brand with fantastic customer experiences! Treat every person who interacts with you or your staff whether it is inside the building, on your website, or through social media as if they are your only customer. Make every customer want to tell all 200 people in their circle of influence about what you and your company do. Make them rant and rave about how awesome you are, and you will never have to worry about your business. If you fail to protect your brand by providing a negative experience then that feeling people get when they see or hear your company name will also be a negative one.
Whatever you choose to do to develop and build your brand should be unique to your company or product. That feeling or emotion that potential customers experience when they interact with your brand should also be unique. How can your brand impact and influence potential customers in a positive way? Stay tuned for next week’s edition of the Marketing Minute to find out.