Branding is more than your logo. It is the perception that people have of your business as a result of the experience you created for them.
Everyone has a brand. From a personal perspective, your brand is your values and distinctive qualities. You can be an introvert or an extrovert; it doesn’t matter. It’s not about trying to be something you are not, but about being true to yourself — authentic. What does matter is how you use your values and distinctive qualities to make a difference in the lives of others.
From a business perspective, the basics of branding are the same. Your brand foundation comes from your core values and distinctive qualities. But in the case of your business, it is critical that you rally people around your purpose and mission, and lead with authentic alignment with your company’s brand foundation. Your business brand is based on the sum of all experiences your customers have with your company. These experiences create the perceptions that determine your customers’ impressions of you and their next decision. Your ability to make what you do distinctive and relevant to your target audience is what creates the success or failure of your business brand.
Think of your brand as DNA
Simply stated, DNA is the genetic code used in the development and function of all living organisms. A strong brand also has a code — your values, purpose, vision and mission. This brand code is what a business leverages to create their culture, hire the right staff, use as a benchmark for determining customer relations and build a thriving business.
Does everyone associated with your organization and, even more importantly, those in your organization know your brand code? Share your brand values, vision, promise, positioning, personality and mission with all employees and company stakeholders. Have clear and concise statements that your actions and outcomes can pay back to. Be clear about the difference you would like to make in the lives of others.
Weave your brand code into everything you do, and it will help rally people around your purpose and drive every part of your business success.
Your brand is:
- The source of a relationship
- The source of a promise to a customer
- The uniqueness of your products and services
- The perception of your business, that you will own, inside the minds of your customers
- The sum-total of every experience associated with your company
With your brand code, you’ll build a distinctive difference that is relevant to your customers, and most importantly, delivers your brand experiences consistently, creating a thriving business.
Here are four main definitions to help guide you through the complexities of branding:
Brand equity: the value of all associations and expectations (both positive and negative) that people have with your company and its products and services over time.
Brand identity: the combination of visual, auditory and other sensory components that create recognition, represent your brand promise, provide differentiation, create communication synergy and are proprietary.
Brand image: the perceptions resulting from all experiences with and knowledge of your brand. It is how your customers and prospects perceive your brand.
Brand promise: the positioning of your company in the market. Your brand must promise benefits that are distinctively different from others’ in the same field, relevant and compelling to your customer.
Branding to a company is as important as air is to humans — without it you cannot thrive.