Branding can be a very ambiguous term.
Most entrepreneurs will automatically think about a logo or tagline as this is the most common definition in the business world. Ranchers or farmers would likely respond that it’s simply shoving an extremely hot piece of metal onto the hide of livestock so they can identify whom they belong too. Younger people may respond that it has to do with tattoos or scarification to the flesh. And all these answers would be correct! For this conversation however, I want to discuss branding in the realm of business because for most of us, this is the world in which we will relate to it.
What is Branding?
In the truest form, branding is all about an emotional connection to your brand or company. The connection could be made from a logo or tagline, but most of the time it will come from various touch points with your business including social media, how you answer your phone, your marketing materials, interaction with your employees, and how you deliver your products or services. In short, branding is the total experience that a customer will have with you and that’s why it’s important to make positive impressions every opportunity you can. And if you don’t think of yourself as a brand, think again! Every time you present yourself to a market or a client, they will form an opinion about you and you will be “branded.”
Why Branding is Vital for Your Business
Based on the definition of branding above, you could easily see why branding IS vital for your small business. When you make a positive connection with clients or customers, you can build your business. If people believe in your product or service, they will buy from you and perhaps tell others about you as well. And the more unique or special you make the experience, the greater your brand will become! We’ve likely heard stories about the amazing customer service that Zappos provides or something more local like how awesome Eischen’s Chicken in Okarche, Oklahoma is. When you do something different, people will talk — and this is building your brand. Memorable brands will build profitable, sustainable businesses.
Start Building Your Brand!
Branding isn’t just for Nike, Harley Davidson, Apple, Starbucks, or BMW. It’s for you and your company as well. Start thinking through how you can deliver the best possible experience to your customers or clients today. Brainstorm ways in how you can differentiate yourself from the competition or do something off the wall that people will talk about. And finally, be true to WHO YOU ARE and what you are really about. Fake brands die just as fast as bad ones.