What is branding, exactly? It’s a question that comes up often with small businesses. Is it a name? A logo? What?
The truth is, a brand goes far beyond a name or great new logo design. In short, a brand is a perception. It is a mental perception (or shortcut) about your business held by people outside of your company. Your brand is what they think when they think about you or your company. And it is influenced by every facet of your business. How you answer the phone… to what someone hears when you put them on hold.
Scores of books have been written on the subject of branding and how you as a business owner or marketing person can positively influence your brand or perceptions about your business. But of all those books (and I’ve certainly read a few over the years), branding can be distilled into a very simple concept. And applied properly, it can have a significant impact on how well your business gets noticed, remembered, and ultimately perceived, by prospective customers and clients.
To illustrate the single most important factor that impacts what branding is, I’ve created an infographic that highlights the key concept… and provides four simple ways you can think about enhancing your personal or business brand.
Differentiation is the key element in branding. Differentiation is what helps your business stand out from the crowd, get noticed and be remembered. Without differentiation you blend in. And in a sea of information and marketing overload, blending in means being invisible to your business prospects or target customers.
Consider for a moment where the term branding came from. Cattle ranchers, right. Now if a rancher were to use a similar name or symbol to brand their steers, it be a heck of a lot harder discerning which cattle belonged to whom, wouldn’t it? Ranchers developed unique symbols to brand with, so they could easily differentiate their cattle from their neighboring rancher’s cattle.
Here’s four ways to think about differentiating your brand:
- Differentiate your product or service offering
- Differentiate your pricing model
- Differentiate the visual identity of your business or products so they stand apart
- Differentiate your company’s marketing and messaging
So be different! Find as many ways to differentiate your business as possible. Whether you’re creating a new advertising campaign, sales presentation, or selecting the hold music for your phone system, that uniqueness will enable your business to stand out from the crowd, to get noticed and be remembered.
And let me know how it goes : )
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