You have a logo, a website and a Facebook page, so, you have a brand, right? Sorry, Charlie, these elements in and of themselves do not create a brand. To say a brand is little more than the presence of your logo, website and social media accounts would be a serious understatement. Unfortunately, this is quite possibly one of the greatest misconceptions of small to mid-sized business owners today and totally limits them from becoming powerful and well-recognized brands in their own markets.
What then, is a brand? A brand is the marketplace perception of your company. A company is said to have a brand if enough people in the marketplace share a similar impression of who your company is and the experiences they have with the products or services you offer. You can help influence and shape that impression, but you can’t define your brand. This is why branding is such an art and why the big companies spend millions of dollars trying to shape their brand in the marketplace every year. Branding gives people the reasons to do business with you, which is why every company should be zeroing in their own branding efforts.
Marketplace perception is your brand
You can’t define your brand. As awesome as you and your products may be, you do not own your brand – and you never will. Your brand is held and defined by the people who have experience with your company. This should go without saying, but hopefully your products and customer service are consistent. If they aren’t, your brand will not be favorable. Based on this alone, one can see how important consistency is in business and in branding.
Here’s a piece of advice that the majority of small to mid-sized companies get wrong – it is critical to understand the basics of branding and to be continuously clarifying and communicating your brand message for your marketing efforts to be successful. And please note – branding and marketing are not the same thing. At all. Successful marketing keeps brand messaging and development at the center of every communication. Before you begin marketing your company, have your brand message established so you can begin to shape and influence your brand in the marketplace through marketing communications.
Shaping and influencing your brand
First things first. Establish your brand message. What does that mean? Your brand message is essentially your value proposition. Your value proposition is not about you. It is the value you provide your customers. Adam Kleinbert’s “3 Steps to Creating Your Brand Message” on Entrepreneur.com explains that your brand message should resonate in the minds of your customers. Let me repeat – you brand message (or your value proposition) is not to be about you, your company, your experience or your achievements. It is the perceivable value your customers find in your product. This brand message then should be at the center of every marketing communication. It needs to be clear and consistent. Each time you communicate with your customers in a way that reinforces your brand message, you are shaping and influencing your brand.
Your brand message is the perceivable value your customers find in your product.
Branding is an art
Truly, branding is an art. It all begins with establishing your brand message. Once you have your brand message in place, you can then begin building your brand through brand strategy, brand design and finally, brand development. Once these are complete – you will be able to successfully create marketing communications about your offering to the marketplace. When companies get out of their own way and good branding is established, the results are like magic. There’s nothing more exciting than seeing a strong, beautifully designed brand at work in the hearts of those who experience and love the brand. A good brand delivers true value – value that can’t be replaced by competitors. Value that is unique, that only your products and your company can offer.
Now that you understand what a brand is, you understand that your brand is so much more than your logo and the existence of a website and social media accounts. It all begins with your brand message. Do you have a brand message? Take an honest look at your marketing efforts. Is every marketing communication centered around that message? Is every communication bolstering that message and helping to shape and influence your brand in the marketplace?
When you sit down and really think about the brands you love, that have influenced your own life, you can begin to feel the power, the energy they create and you can tap into the feelings that resonate within you when you experience those brands. Take this knowledge and start creating something magical with your own brand.
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Jungbauer Design Studio can help you become one of the most powerful brands in your market. We’ve developed a simple, process-oriented workflow to keep your project on track to help you meet your objectives. Call us today at 630-251-1040
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Jungbauer Design Studio is a design, branding and marketing firm passionate about helping companies in the Chicagoland area establish differentiation in their market segments. Our brand process, integrated marketing communications, high-quality design work and outstanding project management skills offer a unique experience to companies looking to establish, or increase the quality of their brand, marketing tools and overall sales. This integrated model offers insight into the benefits of branding and marketing, a better understanding of the design process, a clear roadmap for cost and time expectations and a seamless process from the first consultative conversation to final execution. We aim to raise the bar in everything we do for our employees and for our clients. For more information, visit jungbauerstudio.com.