According to Investopedia, a brand is an identifying symbol, mark, logo, name, word, and/or sentence that companies use to distinguish their product from others. A combination of one or more of those elements can be utilized to create a brand identity. Legal protection given to a brand name is called a trademark.
Your brand is the single most important investment you can make in your business.
- Steve Forbes Editor-in-Chief of business magazine Forbes.
Your brand is the way in which you present your business to potential clients, it speaks of your qualities, strength, the personality of your business. It is the way that customers recognise your business and is represented in your customer service style, your promotional material, like your business cards, FB, LinkedIn and Instagram accounts. Branding is way more than a logo. Its your business’ story. Your passion!
It is very important to create a strong brand from the get go. It requires learning who your potential clients will be, getting to know your potential client, basically getting inside his or her head. So for example, my clients are women entrepreneurs between the ages of 25 and 65. They are entrepreneurs, they are ambitious, determined. They know their worth. They have modern tastes, have a knowledge of trends. They want to push boundaries. They are busy, have full days, be it kids or a full time job — all the while working on the dream of personal business success. They are loyal to brands that they trust.
Once you have identified him or her, their friends will follow. So it might appear that you are being too ‘niche’ in your description of your potential client, but, that is the only way to stay focused on who they are. To develop a successful brand you need to be speaking to that person. As Damien O’Farrell (Ultimate Italy) once said, “If you’re speaking to everyone, then you’re speaking to no one” That was an eye opener for me! When you work with me on your branding, we will explore who exactly your client is — to the point of creating his or her story in a essayed or graphic way — which you will keep in a prominent place to remind you each time you are speaking about your brand.
Successful brands also have a strong sense of their vision. Who they are, what their future goal is and how they will achieve it. A strong vision will help you to answer many of the questions around your branding because it helps to clarify the why and how.
The original vision statement for Microsoft was the following ‘There will be a personal computer on every desk running Microsoft software.’ A hugely ambitious, long term goal. Bill Gates and Paul Allen certainly knew where they were aiming and remained focussed on that. Success!
When developing a brand it is important know who you are competing with. It’s always a good idea to see how they present their brand, is it successful? Does it represent who they are in reality? How will your business do it better? Knowing your competitors builds into the story of your brand because it allows you to develop a path forward, Damien, again, says that in order to be successful you have to do the same thing as your competitors, differently, better. You shouldn’t ever be competing on price, you’re competing on talent, service and reputation. Your brand has to tell this story.
So in closing a brand is a representation of who you are, how you will go forward and what you represent. Presented in a format that is easily recognisable and memorable. A brand is therefore more than a logo.
“A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.”
- Seth Godin Marketing and leadership expert Seth Godin is a best-selling author, entrepreneur, blogger, speaker.
“If people believe they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to the brand.”
- Howard Schultz Businessman and billionaire Howard Schultz is the former CEO of Starbucks and former owner of the Seattle SuperSonics.
Jacci Freimond Rudling