What is Branding (and How Do You Do It?)

by Kimberly Bordonaro May 9th, 2012 

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Wouldn't it be nice if your ideal customers felt as strongly about you as you do for your favorite childhood cereal or the dream car you watched glide across the television screen during a commercial break?

That feeling you experienced is branding.

With the rise of social media and online marketing, the term branding has become a buzzword among the small business community. Yet, it is often confused as simply being a logo or website design and erroneously interchanged with the meaning of the words marketing and advertising.

What is a brand?

The American Marketing Associations technical definition of the term brand is a "Name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.

Simply put: your brand is the personality of your company and the perceived value that resides in the mind of your target market.

A strong brand directly impacts your business success because it is what differentiates you from your competitors; it is typically the deciding factor of whether or not your customer will purchase from you.

What makes up a brand?

Brands are composed of elements that play to the five senses and may include: names, logos, graphics, taglines/phrases, sounds, tastes, colors, and even movements.

For instance, when you think of Kellogg's Rice Krispies, you may think of:

  • The cereals shape and taste
  • Its blue box adorned with three cartoon characters
  • Snap, crackle, pop!– Its tagline and the sound it makes when you pour milk over it.
  • The nostalgic memory of creating Rice Krispy treats with your mom

All of these components make up the personality of this brand.

Kellogg's didn't regard the branding of this product as an afterthought. They carefully determined what they wanted the brand to mean to their audience, conducted market research for what their audience wanted, and crafted a branding campaign to achieve these results.

How do you create a brand strategy?

Branding is not reserved solely for large companies with equally large marketing budgets. Small businesses and entrepreneurs can harness the same principles used by larger corporations to create their brands.

For starters, you will want to develop your brand around the following key areas:

  • Architecture: What are the foundational elements of your brand in terms of its vision, value, emotional benefits, and target audience?
  • Story: How is the brand positioned? What is the brands message?
  • Experience: What is the brands personality? What is its promise of value? How can you incorporate the brand into the five senses?

In upcoming posts we will dive into deeper discussions with practical, how-to branding advice for entrepreneurs and small businesses.

Good Reads On Branding:

Kimberly Bordonaro

Kimberly Bordonaro is a brand strategist and the founder of Brandspiration, a blog that uses ridiculously fun lyrical references to explain how everyday entrepreneurs can create their distinctive brands.

Brandspiration Blog

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4 Responses to “What is Branding (and How Do You Do It?)”

  1. Leo says:

    Liked the post. As an internet marketer, I well and truly understand and realize the importance of good branding! Especially one that is synonymous with all my marketing strategies and projects my businesses offline and on the internet. Looking forward to the upcoming posts.

  2. John Cooper says:

    A lot of companies have marketing departments, while some have advertising departments – but none of them have brand departments. They might have brand managers, but brand development does NOT happen internally. There needs to be an objective view to develop brand strategy that grows or corners market share. To be effective, it must be given free rein to challenge everything, and that includes all preconceived notions or corporate beliefs. Brand is so critical to success that it is nearly impossible to see it objectively when you are on the “inside”, part of the company culture. This is THE number one fatal flaw that pushes brand onto the corner as only a slight name change or a necessary process of product launch.