Brand, branding, brand awareness. Very common expressions in today’s modern business world and everyday life. But what do we actually know about branding? What is brand anyway? Does having a good brand mean having a nice and memorable logo? Well, there is much more to it, than just logo.
I`ve looked up the definition of the word “brand” in a Business Dictionary and this is what it says :
Unique design, sign, symbol, words, or a combination of these, employed in creating an image that identifies a product and differentiates it from its competitors. Over time, this image becomes associated with a level of credibility, quality, and satisfaction in the consumer’s mind (see positioning). Thus, brands help harried consumers in crowded and complex marketplace, by standing for certain benefits and value. Legal name for a brand is trademark and, when it identifies or represents a firm, it is called a brand name. (Source)
I`m sure many of us are taught that a brand is just the first sentence of this definition. It`s not just about having a nice logo and that`s it – I have a brand. This is just the tip of it, just a nice cover of a big book you have to read and understand. If you go deeper, you will see that brand becomes part of everything your business represents and stands for. If you can’t recognize your brand in this definition, you are doing something wrong.
BUILDING A BRAND
To start, we`ll need to divide all parts of our brand definition:
Unique design, sign, symbol, words. This will become your logo and your company’s moto, goal, catch phrase whatever you like to call it. You have to carefully work on these to create an image that will represent your work.
You certainly remember: Nike – Just do it, or Nokia – Connecting people. It doesn’t even have to be very serious, check out IKEA – they throw in extra parts just to mess with you.
Well these brands didn’t grow over night and it took more than just making a good logo and catchy phrase to make them as big as they are now.
People behind these trademarks worked for years on their level of credibility by providing the best solutions to their potential client’s problems and needs for a reasonable price.
Those solutions had to show Quality and with that comes Satisfaction. If your clients are happy with the result, you will justify their decision of choosing you and you will gain their Trust.
By building trust, they will come back to you and become Loyal. Loyalty is something you can’t buy or design. Just like with friendships, or any emotional relationships, you have to work hard, make compromises and fulfill your promises.
Think of all the brands you are loyal to. When you go grocery shopping you know which toothpaste you want, what shampoo you use, what coffee you like, or what are your children`s favorite cookies. Why are you loyal to these brands? Because you are satisfied with the result they are giving. If you add a nice branding wrap around it, you have a perfect package.
BUILDING BRAND AWARENESS
Now how do we go from creating a brand to building awareness. Your trademark alone is nothing if your audience is not aware of it. You need recognition if you want results. On the other hand, your beautiful, unique logo and catchphrase can’t do you much help if your delivery isn’t efficient and your product is poor quality.
To build awareness you need marketing. There`s more to it than just hiring a designer who will create a logo, that you will put on the website and your business card and be done with it. No. You need quality product and service behind it, but this also won’t be enough if no one is ever heard of you. To finish your successful strategy you will need MARKETING, because without it, building brand awareness is impossible.
I`v attended a very interesting and useful lecture held by a Business Coach, Colin Sprake, and one of many great things he said was the one where he compared brand with an Architect and marketing with the Builder, or Constructor. Branding will create ways to differentiate your business from others, but marketing will build it and help people to notice you. What is the use of an Architect if his plans stay on the paper. You need to get it out there and show it.
Here is where marketing strategies come to place. Especially if you are new in the business, you need to promote, promote, promote. If you have years of experience, then keep on promoting and changing. Create pages on social networks and fill them with interesting posts. Host giveaways, attend events, spread your business cards, flyers, brochures, work offline as much as you do online.
In each of these steps you will show your brand, people will start seeing your logo everywhere and remember it. It will become your company’s identity. On the other hand, it`s not enough just to be seen if you don`t cause a reaction. Branding will play a major role in creating a reaction and you need to make sure it is a positive one. You don`t want to wrap empty promises into shiny paper. Sure the shiny paper will draw attention, but the thing underneath it is what really matters.
One day you want to be the brand that all similar products, or services are called by. Like when someone asks for “Kleenex” when they have runny nose. But they aren’t asking precisely for Kleenex, no they just want any paper tissue.
This is what good branding of quality products combined with smart marketing strategies creates. To get there you need to work hard and be patient, you have to be willing to make changes constantly, to be innovative, competitive, up to date and most of all, you need to listen to your client’s necessities. Watch, listen and deliver trustworthy and quality results that your target market needs.