B is for Brand.
It is difficult to choose one key marketing tool for the letter B because there really are so many… blogging, bounce-rates, just to name a few. However in the grand scheme of things, if I have to choose just one ‘B’ tool that you must have it has to be your BRAND.
A brand is defined by dictionary.com as:
|1.||a particular product or a characteristic that serves to identify a particular product|
|2.||a trade name or trademark|
But what does this mean, really? In short, your brand is the sum total of the feelings, emotions and reactions that are elicited by customers and prospects when they see your logo, visit your store, meet you, hear about you, think about you and (ideally!) refer you. Your brand is the symbol, word or words that you use to identify yourself, your products, and/or your services. It is a promise made that must be kept if you are to develop essential revenue-generating customer loyalty.
Your logo isn’t your Brand!
But wait… you say… I thought my logo was my brand! Your brand is more than just your logo, although it is a key component of your brand because it becomes your visual identity in the eyes and minds of your audience. But your brand is so much more than just a cool logo, with flashy colours, and a wicked tagline. Your brand encompasses your business’ vision, culture, and customer service policies. Your brand is a part of who you hire, who you partner with, who you refer. Your brand encompasses all that you stand for. It is your reputation.
When is a Brand like a tool?
Your brand has to be a reflection of the intention of your business. To be an effective tool for your marketing strategy your brand has to be real, authentic (see previous post), and truly reflective of what you, your product/service, and your business represent. Your brand is the feeling that is generated when your audience:
- Reaches out to contact you via a form (web or paper) or over the phone.
- Who in your organization is responding, and what do they say? That’s your brand.
- Sees your ad on a billboard or in a newspaper.
- Do they want to connect with you? That’s your brand.
- Meets you or one of your employees at an event.
- Are people happy to see you, or do they avert their eyes, turn, and walk quickly the other way? That’s your brand.
- Finds your website.
- Does your site help them, or does it hinder them from solving their problem(s)? That’s…well, you get the picture.
These are but a few of the touchpoints where your brand can be effective as a marketing tool that drives your business forward in the hearts and minds of your audience, or where you brand becomes a marketing machete that makes mincemeat of your reputation.
Create with care and caution.
Your brand is your identity, and it needs to be shaped and crafted carefully and thoughtfully. It is critically important to develop an overall brand message that serves as the cornerstone for all of your marketing activities. This takes time, and requires more than just cool graphics, and neato colours. But with patience, some guidance and intention, you can be well on your way to a business-building brand in no time!
So… do you love what your brand says about you? Do you know what your brand says about you?
Leave a comment below and let me know how you feel about your brand, or how you feel about other brands.
[image courtesy of penn-olsen.com]