Branding is an important element you need to always keep top of mind as a business owner.
When most people think about branding they are really thinking about visual branding, a subset of branding that includes your business design – logo, colours, signage etc.
Oxford Dictionary’s definition of branding is not that helpful:
The promotion of a particular product or company by means of advertising and distinctive design.
Distinctive design is a nod to visual branding but then only mentioning the advertising element does not really fit with how I view branding – which is much larger than advertising.
Entrepreneur.com’s definition is more useful:
The marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products.
Branding includes the marketing (and thus advertising) element but it also encompasses:
- How you position your business relative to your competitors
- Product design
- How you do customer service
- Where you locate your business
Your brand is how your customers feel about your company. How they perceive your business might be different than how you perceive your business. What your customers think is the reality.
How do you create and manage your brand? That question leads into branding strategy, which I will handle in future posts.
Going back to the Oxford definition, you can use marketing to attempt to influence what others feel about your business but in today’s social media, ultra-informed customer age, that task is becoming more and more difficult.
What you should instead focus on is who you want to be as a business and then making sure it is reflected in every element of your business.
If you want to be known as the disruptive force in your industry then you need to be disruptive.
If you want to be known as the company that is customer focused then every element of your business should be focused on your customers needs.
If you don’t walk the walk, your talk will be mocked.