The word “brand” is one of those words often thrown around very casually by people who don’t truly understand the meaning of the word. They understand the importance of a brand, but their definition of the word is unclear.
Before we talk about what a brand is, it’s probably helpful to talk about what a brand is not.
A brand is not a logo.
The word “brand” originated in the 1800s when cattle ranchers used branding irons to identify their animals. The unique design on the end of branding iron was that rancher’s mark.
This is why a brand is often confused with a logo. Your logo is a consistent visual representation of your brand. It helps people identify your business, and the various elements of the design should reinforce how people feel about your business.
A logo is obviously a very important part of your brand, but a logo by itself isn’t a brand.
A brand is not a slogan.
A slogan is a memorable phrase or tag line designed to drive home one important aspect of a company or product. Slogans can be direct, explicit descriptions, or they can be metaphorical.
When you think about it, we can quote the best slogans of all time like we can sing along to our favorite songs. Of course, slogans are often used in jingles that are forever tattooed in our brains.
Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.
Apple. Think different.
KFC. It’s finger lickin’ good.
Save money. Live better. Walmart.
Nike. Just do it.
A slogan reinforces the brand, and it can be used for individual advertising campaigns. But, like a logo, a slogan alone is not a brand.
A brand is not a company or product name.
Just like the cattle ranchers who wanted to identify their animals, businesses eventually began differentiating themselves from all other businesses offering similar products by using unique names.
Some of the most successful company and product names are used interchangeably with all similar products. For example, in some parts of the country, all tissues are referred to as “Kleenex” and all sodas are referred to as “Coke.”
When referring to a particular company or product, the word “brand” is simply a shortened version of “brand name.”
A brand is a promise.
A brand is a promise that your company makes to its customers. A promise to solve a particular problem, fill a particular need, make their lives better in some fashion, or help them feel a certain way.
A primary goal of everything you do on a daily basis should be to show you can deliver on this promise. Every ad, every blog post, every phone call, every email, every Tweet and every conversation should support this promise.
By identifying and effectively communication your company’s brand, you can shape perceptions, set expectations, differentiate your business from the competition and better control your reputation.
When you successfully fulfill this promise, you build a stronger relationship with your customers. You earn their trust and loyalty. And they become brand ambassadors – people who love to talk about how wonderful your business is.
Of course, failing to live up this promise and meet expectations does the opposite. It creates negative perceptions, hurts your reputation and gives people a reason to seek an alternative.
What is your brand? Are you supporting that brand and delivering on that promise in everything you do?
Shore Creative Group can help you identify, establish and communicate your brand to make your company more profitable. For a free consultation, call 732-229-7100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.