Branding 101

When you hear the word branding, do you think of red hot irons and the burnt backsides of cows? If so, it might be time to brush up on just what branding in the 21st century means.

What is branding?

The world of commerce did derive its concept of branding from the cattle industry, with a similar concept of a ‘branded’ logo creating an inseparable link between a product and the provider; however, branding is not just a logo and corporate identity. Corporate branding is an actual business strategy. It encompasses the principles and values upon which your company is built and relays to the public what you stand for. This is something that cannot be changed overnight or by simply updating your logo or creating a catchy slogan. Branding is also what the consumer thinks and feels about your product or service based on how it has been presented.

Why is it important?

It differentiates your company, product, or service from the competition: Branding will help you fill a niche in the marketplace. It is not only about getting your target market to choose you over the competition; it is about getting prospects to see you as the solution to their problem.

It creates user loyalty: What kind of coffee do you drink? What brand name of shoes do you prefer? Chances are, your preferences are a result of branding strategy, and while a satisfied customer may take his/her business elsewhere at some point, a loyal customer is much less likely to do so

How to start:

The main goal of corporate branding is to create the personality of your company and associate that character with your brand. Start small, and remember that this process will affect every aspect of your organization, so it is best not to rush.

Promise: What kind of promise will you make to your client or audience? Know your product lines and/or services backwards and forwards so you can establish their benefits as well as how they do or do not meet customer needs.

Position: What is unique about your organization? What do you have to offer that other companies don’t? Think about your competitors and ask yourself what they do or do not do well. This will help you determine where the needs are not being met in the marketplace and create a plan to meet them.

Personality: What is the attitude of your organization and what stories do you have to share that make your company special? Whatever sets you apart, make a point of letting others know.

Simplicity: When choosing a business name, selecting key messages, or creating a logo or other visuals for your business, remember to keep it simple. You want something memorable and something not likely to get confused with other products or services in your market. If people can’t remember what your logo looks like or what your business is named, they won’t recognize it and they won’t remember your brand. A good example of a simple yet memorable logo and name is McDonald’s and their globally recognizable ‘M’.

Consistency: Be consistent in your interactions with employees and your customers. You must also be consistent in the message on all of your marketing materials (your logo, brochures, web site, etc.). Decide how you want to be viewed as a company and make certain your actions remain in line with that. Walking the talk is important.

Reinforce your brand:

So how do you establish a strong link between your brand and the product or service it represents? Along with being consistent in your message and actions, the best way to reinforce your brand is to make sure it appears everywhere and often. The more people see your brand, the more they are likely to remember it. You want to have the brand name that is foremost in everyone’s minds.

If you don’t, they will:

If you don’t brand yourself, others will. The fact is that the general public is already creating impressions and drawing conclusions about your company, and thus your brand. That alone is a big enough reason to make certain you are portraying an image that will benefit your company and living up to customer expectations. If you are a small company, branding becomes that much more important in a crowded marketplace. Creating positive and memorable positioning of your product or service in the minds of current and potential customers will help you to rise above the competition.

corecubed can help.

Having a skilled media relations professional who understands branding and the best ways to communicate your key messages is crucial. corecubed communications has experts on demand who will help you create and implement a branding strategy. We specialize in integrating your business needs with the best strategies for success using marketing+design+PR to provide business communications that sell. Our team of marketing and PR professionals provides quality services that are unsurpassed at any agency price.

Our strategic marketing communications capabilities range from strategic planning to full implementation of marketing and public relations plans, including total design across all media. We can fulfill all of your communication needs.