Brand and branding, the most overused but yet misused terms in marketing & advertising. We hear it over and over, I like that brand, I only buy that brand or they have a good strong brand. What really makes up a brand? How is the brand different from branding? A brand is the message of promise based upon principles; what we tell people and what we want them to believe from their first exposure. The message of promise is created from the personality of the company that becomes the brand persona. Branding, is the utilization of the tools to introduce the message to consumers, gaining awareness and asking them to create their own brand identity. So why all the confusion and misuse? As new channels are introduced to the marketplace to expose consumers to a brand and create the actual branding, the idea of what a brand is gets lost in the translation and technology.
5 Things a Brand is Not
1. Name. The first impression that starts to define and identify the company. The name is eventually what you want you want to be synopsis to the “only one” in the minds of consumers.
2. Logo. A logo brings the company to life artistically. A painted picture to embed in the minds of consumers to identify with when they hear your name, see your product or even see a logo that is similar. The logo sets the stage for the corporate identity and the graphic standards by identify the colors that represent your company.
3. Business Card, Brochure, Signage, etc. These are extensions of the corporate identity that supports your colors and product/service benefits.
4. Website. A website is the receiver of your marketing and advertising efforts while expanding upon the corporate identity through content marketing. Websites are where the meat of the content is located as large brochures become coffee table books that collect dust where engagement levels online continue to grow.
5. Controlled by Consumers. If a brand is a message how can consumers control that? They influence it but never do they control it. Social media marketing brought an entirely new wave of the consumer controlling the brand. Did companies talk to customers face to face prior to social media? Did the consumer control the message then? No, they did not, so now that the audience is broader how can the consumer control the message?
Consumers control sales. If they like you, they buy from you, if not they do not see where you fit into their lives or did not receive and develop a positive brand identity. When you hear that consumers control the brand, especially with the implementation of social media think of this: bladder cancer – it is a brand, it is something we all have heard of it so we are aware, so then we control what they say and do? I am pretty sure that if we did, it would be obsolete. Agree? So why would we think that we as consumers would control any brand? Do we sit in the room and write the message? Nah, we influence it but never control it. Ever.
Agree? Your thoughts? Anything else that is a brand is not that I missed?
photo credit: Kevin Dooley