The words brand and branding have become lost in everyday translation. Both words have been overused, misused and used as synonyms and replacements of other words such as marketing and advertising.
A brand is actually the meeting of minds, a promise made and kept. It is powered by the personality of the company or individual who made the promise and is usually based on repeated exposure to the fulfilled promise.
Branding is the utilization of certain tools to introduce the promise, gain awareness and after fulfillment, enjoy the attributes of being a promise keeper.
For this post, we will focus on what a brand is not.
1. A brand is not a logo.
The logo represents the brand and whether it is present or not, the brand can and should be recognized.
2. A brand is not marketing.
Your brand and its maintenance is the core of your marketing strategy. If people trust your brand they will buy from you and even refer others; basically doing your marketing for you.
3. A brand is not being on social media.
Having a Facebook business page, a twitter account, a company blog, LinkedIn page, Instagram and the like, is cool but these are channels used to help construct an unforgettable image in the mind of those who come in contact with your business.
4. A brand is not your business name, card or website.
If you do it right, one day in the near future, these items will be synonymous with what you represent. For today, you need to build them up.
5. A brand is not celebrity endorsement.
The celebrity has built up their name, kept some promises and are recognized for both who they are and what they do. Their presence in your promotional material is you looking for trouble if you can’t fulfill the promise of your brand.
6. A brand is not a tagline.
There is a line from one of the Mission Impossible movies, “It is mission impossible, difficult is supposed to be a walk in the park for you”. That is a fantastic line that brings name recognition to the movie franchise. Each movie in the franchise however has built on the success of the previous and sought to establish its own place in the halls of movie history. Your tagline may be catchy, but you need to back it up with fulfilled promises.
7. A brand is not a one off setup event.
The building of your brand is an ongoing effort. It should permeate your processes, your personal or corporate culture and your eventual development as a business. On this journey, total dedication and absolute loyalty are required, in order to eventually acquire brand ambassadors who have simply followed you from first contact.
In conclusion, every individual or company can have a brand, be a brand. This is based on the impression people have of you upon contact. Ensure that you are communicating the right message so they will form the correct impression.