Who Are you? Really!
If your branding is not consistent, then how are your customers going to recognize you in a sea of competition? You have to know who you are, before you decide what you look like. If you need help with branding, we have a team of professionals ready to create a new brand or re-brand what you have. Let us show you a look that says who you are; we can help you find yourself, or re-define yourself.
People frequently misuse the term “brand” by interchanging it with advertising, marketing, naming or design. These improper applications have caused much confusion as to what branding is and how it works. Business consultancies, marketing companies, advertising agencies, public relations firms and graphic/web design studios each define brand within their own frame of reference and expertise. As such, “branding” has become a bit of a buzz word. But, what does it really mean and how does it work? Where did all start and how can it create value? To benefit from the effects of branding, a common understanding of “brand” must first be established.
Let’s begin with the etymology of the word “brand.”
According to the Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins: “brands/trademarks. The practice of branding animals for the purpose of identification is so old that its exact origins are unknown. We do know, however, that brands were first used on humans—criminals and slaves. According to the Oxford Dictionary, the practice of branding animals to indicate ownership was well established in England before Shakespeare’s time and the term trademark for the word or symbol chosen by a manufacturer to identify and distinguish his product was in use before 1838. Official registration of trademarks by the U.S. Patent Office did not begin, however, until 1870.”
Why A Brand Matters
A brand is a promise. Think of some top brands and you immediately know what they promise: McDonald’s, Coca Cola, Budweiser, Ford, Apple, MetLife. You know what you’re going to get with a well-branded product or service.
A brand is a specific combination of logo, words, type font, design, colors, personality, price, service, etc. It’s also a bundle of attributes. Think of Volvo, for instance, and your first thoughts are probably going to be something like “well built, comfortable, Swedish” and, most of all, “safety.”
The Brand, The Promise, The Look, The Personality and attributes can eventually acquire a special impression or appearance of what is called “the me” appeal. Buying a certain brand says something about the person who buys it! If you’re going to develop your brand, the last thing you want to do is follow the beaten path. You want to head down your own path. Your brand has to plant itself in the hearts and minds of clients and future customers. Your brand is the focus of all its marketing efforts. When you think about your brand, think about all its parts like promise, personality, look, voice, service, attributes and memorability.
“BRAND” DEFINED AND PRACTICED
From a Legal Perspective
A brand is a trademark. It can be defined as a name, sign, symbol, device, or a combination thereof, intended to identify and differentiate the goods and services of one seller from those of other sellers, or group of sellers, within the same category. The owner or licensee of a trademark (brand) has the right to exclude others from using that trademark by being the first to use it within the marketplace and registering that trademark with the U.S. patent and trademark office.
From a Business Perspective
A brand is a tool by which the company promotes goods and services to secure future earnings. As viewed by consumers a brand is the promise and delivery of an experience throughout every point of contact. When managed properly brands create sustainable long-term value for the organization.
In Everyday Practice
A brand is an experience living at the intersection of promise and expectation. Here’s how it works. A company expresses its brand as a promise, both overt and implied. That promise lives in consumers’ hearts and minds as an expectation. When brand promise and consumers’ expectations reflect one another, the brand holds tremendous value for both parties. It is through this co-creation (consumer and brand) that true brand value is created. Yet, business and consumer each see their brand from their own point-of-view. Brand expression verses brand image, seller verses buyer. Without brands there would be no signals to illustrate the differences between the vast array of choices other than size and price. No name, no unique package, nothing.
We live in a world where consumers have a system for differentiating products and services as well as tracking their experiences. Brands provide a method of classification, differentiation and identification which allow you, as the consumer, to simplify your buying decisions and experience.
The Brand Value
It is important to note that “Value” is defined differently depending on how you measure it. Businesses measure brand value in terms of margin, market share and goodwill. Consumers place value on many factors ranging from emotional to rational, from exclusivity and rarity to the safety of commonality. No matter how brand value is measured, if your brand does not deliver its value, it is merely an empty promise. Without a trusting customer base, a brand is nothing more than a legally-protectable name, sign or symbol.
By defining a realistic and manageable promise of what your brand will deliver and what consumers can expect of your brand, branding has become the backbone of modern business strategy. “Brand” drives consumer purchase decisions and affects nearly every functional area of a business.