There is a common misconception about the meaning of “brand”, and what branding can do for a business. A brand is more than a company’s name and logo that’s printed on stationery and marketing materials. Your brand must reflect your business philosophy, your values, culture and corporate mission. It is your company’s identity, heart and soul. Everything your company produces, publishes, sells and promotes falls under the broad meaning of your brand.
In order to build a successful brand, you must first understand your target audience. Focus on the group you are trying to reach: What is their economical level? Their age group? What are their values and spending habits? And most importantly, how does your marketable product fit into the scheme? Without the understanding of the audience you want to reach, you run the risk of barking up the wrong tree with your brand.
The next step is determining what sets your business apart from your competitors. Incorporating these unique qualities into your brand will help you stand out in the crowd, attracting your desirable customers. One thing to remember is that the marketplace is ever-changing. To keep your brand fresh, it must evolve over time. Monitoring the marketplace and your brand messages is key to a successful, long-lasting brand.
Consistently reflecting your brand in everything you do will build brand awareness and recognition. The most powerful quality of a good brand is the immediate association it creates with its product. For example, Apple Computers uses technological innovation along with streamlined, simple design as its main brand recognition.
Now that you have a good understanding of branding and the value it brings to your business, you can evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your company’s brand. Remember: brand happens, with or without your help. If you do not define your brand, your company runs the risk of mistaken identity, or worse—becoming a wallflower in a highly saturated, competitive marketplace.