What is Branding?
Branding seems to be a term we as Marketers usequite frequently yet use haphazardly. If you were asked by someone to define and simply explain 5 aspects of Branding, would you be able to? Thought so. No need to find yourself in a lurch. Here are 5 key elements that help define Branding as it relates to a product, company, movement, or even yourself.
When branding, without being bold, an entity would be lost in the clutter of the crowd. We are not suggesting being brazen in the sense of offending others, but it isrecommended that you make a statement and an unwavering statement. Think about Apple, Starbucks, and VirginAmerica. They have all been bold in their branding visually and through their communications. In some respect, these and other brands have even created a new category for others to follow. Brand in a way to clearly identify a product and differentiate it from the norm.
Consumers can smell a rotten fish miles away. If you veer off the authentic path with your brand, you have created naysayer community for a long time. Remember that branding is also about creating relationships with your core target audience. Be real and people will follow.
A: Always On
Branding is a 24/7 necessity. Every point of outreach, communications, and tactile experience needs to breathe your brand. Colors, taglines, tone, and brand essence needs to be prominent. Employees also need to embrace and breath the brand. Create an environment where the brand translates across multiple mediums and tactics. Also, think about where your brand will be within 6 years. How will it last from now until then? Make it relevant and easily adaptable across the years.
N: Never Compromise
Along with being real, do not compromise your brand for the sake of trying to be something just to be something. Be true to the essence of what you set your goals to be for the product. Do not compromise the brand values to surpass the competition. Starbucks did not compromise the essence of a quality experience for its brand. Every element within a Starbucks location reflects an experience – from Seattle to Japan. It ladders up to the brand values. Nothing in a store, product, or communications is compromised by Starbucks. Think about it.
Brands have followers from all age groups, beliefs, communities, and lifestyles. If you polarize your brand, expect to have a fraction of followers who only relate to your brand beliefs. Chik-fil-a and WalMart are two brands that polarize their brand from the masses. Both are strong and financially successful brands yet do isolate themselves. Evaluate where and how you want to grow your brand before you express opinions.
Overall, branding is an intricate yet essentialelement in an identification process. The brand and its positioning are the guideposts for the business success. Using the above 5 elements are a great starting point for you in figuring out the brand and how you want to succeed.
About Jen Brady:
Jen Brady is the Founder & CEO of Fred & Associates, an independent boutique agency focused on marketing and media strategy and implementation. Jen is highly regarded as an expert in all areas of digital marketing and is recognized as one of Chicago’s Top Woman Entrepreneurs.
Jen’s career spans over 15+years of senior marketing with positions focused on brand marketing, strategy development, and ultimately leveraging digital approaches to address business needs. Her career includes key positions at Pets.com and Starcom MediaVest.
A highly regarded visionary in marketing and media circles, Jen contributes regularly to the industry as speaker, networker, and content contributor.
Jen is University of Michigan alum, President and Board Member for the Chicago Association of Direct Marketing (CADM), committee member of NAWBO (National Association of Women Business Owners), member of the Northern Illinois University Interactive Advisory Board, and the former President of the Chicago Interactive Marketing Association (CIMA). She is on the Young Professional Board for the Legal Assistance Foundation (LAF) and donates her time to support the Bucktown Community Organization’s marketing efforts in addition to the Chicago Advertising Federation (CAF).
Fred & Associates, Inc.