Branding is the process of developing a strong business identity. Let’s do an exercise to demonstrate. Complete these taglines:
- 15 Minutes Can Save You ___ __ ____ __ ___ ________
- Fan Food Not ____ ____
- Expect More. Pay ____
- What’s In Your ______ ?
- Nothing Runs Like a _____
- Every Kiss Begins ____ ___
- Beef. It’s what’s ___ ______
Now, name the brand based only on their tagline:
- Think Different.
- It’s Everywhere you Want to Be.
- Where the Pets go.
- The mark of a man.
How’d you do? If you didn’t get them all right, I am willing to bet you nailed 90% or more (see answers at the end of this blog). This, in a nutshell, is branding.
What is Branding?
Branding is often defined as "the marketing practice of creating a name, symbol, or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products." It could be a tagline, as demonstrated above – but it could be a lot more than that. Icons, logos, colors, words, jingles and more can play into how you brand your product or business - and how your audience recognizes you. For example:
Your brand should be a direct promise to your customers. It is a symbol of both the quality of your product or service, and a stamp of authority on your industry that is unmatched by others.
A recognizable brand is something you build – and not overnight. Once you define your brand, that message must shine through in everything you do – marketing, customer interactions, sponsorships, products you provide, services you offer, and so on.
Mini Case Studies: Building a Great Local Brand
Branding, and brand recognition, is as important for local businesses as it is for national brands. Let’s look at a few examples:
Bradshaw & Bryant, PLLC
Bradshaw & Bryant is a recognizable brand throughout Minnesota. They are personal injury lawyers – but more importantly they seek “justice for the injured.” And they do it by:
- Employing a large staff (i.e. paralegals) so clients have more than one lawyer working on their case, and someone always available to contact if they have questions or concerns
- Free, in-person meetings with their clients to fully understand their story; Clients will not pay for the lawyer fees out-of-pocket – lawyer payment comes out of the settlement
- Educational online videos, TV commercials and radio advertisements that feature recognizable music and the jingle, “Seeking justice for the injured – Bradshaw & Bryant”
Central Minnesota Credit Union
This local, central Minnesota brand has promised to be, “Centered on You.” Here’s some of their supporting text:
Simply put, our banking products and services are focused on you and your goals. You will find everything you need at Central Minnesota Credit Union, where our employees make the difference by placing you at the center of our attention.
This message carries throughout their organization – from the services they offer, the events they host and/or sponsor, their friendly and helpful staff, and through all of their marketing efforts.
The Importance of Branding
I hope I’ve answered your question, “What is branding?” – but I also hope I’ve emphasized the importance of it. Being recognizable and memorable in the minds of your audience is the key to success. Your brand is what gets customers in your doors and keeps them coming back, and choosing you over your competitors.
Once you have your brand, then you can begin communicating it through all types of advertising and marketing mediums. That is what is called your brand strategy. Download our checklist to get your brand shining through all elements of your business:
Complete the tagline:
- 15 Minutes Can Save You 15% or More on Car Insurance.
- Fan Food Not Fast Food
- Expect More. Pay Less
- What’s In Your Wallet?
- Nothing Runs Like a Deere
- Every Kiss Begins with Kay
- Beef. It’s what’s for dinner.
Name the brand:
- Think Different. Apple
- It’s Everywhere you Want to Be. Visa
- Where the Pets go. Petco
- The mark of a man. Old Spice