When people think about “branding,” they consider it to be a logo, carefully selected colors, or a collection of company designs compiled in a style guide. Some think that it’s what they sell, what they do, or how loudly they yell in an already crowded marketplace. These things play a part, but are not the glory of true branding.
Poet Maya Angelou said,
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you do, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
This is especially true for consumers.
Drumroll, please… Branding is who you are and what you stand for. Branding is the consumer’s perception of you.
A contributor to Forbes said it very well:
“It’s a gut feeling about a company, and smart companies know the power of a brand done right. This happens when everything connects through design – from virtual environments like websites to built environments like office spaces – and it all starts with an understanding of why a company matters.”
When trying to create a brand for your company, there are two important questions to ask:
- “Who are we?”
- “Why do we matter?”
Once you’ve defined and answered these questions, your answers must permeate your company and its culture, each and every day. Branding is not an exercise; it’s a mentality that should become a movement, and turn people into believers.
Now that you’ve checked off the “branding” box, it’s time for some marketing…
Wait! What? Marketing? I thought we just did that? Give me a moment to grab my bullhorn and climb onto my soapbox before I tell you that BRANDING IS NOT MARKETING and MARKETING IS NOT BRANDING.
Marketing is the process of actively delivering a message and/or promoting a product or service in order to achieve sales results. In a nutshell. Marketing is what unearths consumers and motivates them to buy. The branding work should come first and be the driver for all of your marketing.
Branding and marketing shouldn’t be perceived as cost centers. In reality, they are an investment in your company, and will ultimately provide a return worth their weight in gold.
But only when done with focus, passion, and persistence. Only when you’ve made your consumers feel something.