The word branding began simply as a way to tell one person’s cattle from another by means of a hot iron stamp. Unless you are selling cattle, the branding we are referring to here is a little different. Wikipedia defines it this way: A brand can take many forms, including a name, sign, symbol, color combination, or slogan. The word brand has continued to evolve to encompass identity — it affects the personality of a product, company or service.
The American Marketing Association defines a brand as a “name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s goods or services as distinct from those of other sellers.”
If you ask someone to give an example of a brand, the most likely answers will be: Coca-Cola, Disney, Starbucks, Google, and Apple, among a few select others. While most companies don’t have the budgets and resources to build brand awareness like these large corporations do, it is still important to understand why building a brand is important for companies of every size.
What are the advantages of building a brand name?
Let’s take a look at a few examples. People willingly and gladly pay four dollars for a cup of coffee at Starbucks, when they could pay a lot less at many other places. Coke products have been imitated by many companies, yet they can still charge a healthy premium over the other brands. Apple has built legions of loyal customers who stay in line overnight to be the first ones to purchase their latest products. That is the power of having a brand name.
Still think this only applies to big companies? Think again. Every company has a brand of some sort. Your brand is your reputation in the marketplace, and it is being defined every day by your customers, your prospects, and even your competitors.
How do you build your brand?
Fulfill the promises that your company makes. Every time. Each time you do this successfully, you are building your brand. When you do this consistently over time, you build trust. Trust leads to word of mouth. Word of mouth leads to more customers and longevity. Do that long enough, and your company will be the next overnight sensation with a powerful brand name everyone can remember.