Professional Branding

A company’s brand is often the major driver of its success; how it is perceived is equally crucial.

The Origins of Branding

The original purpose of branding was to establish ownership of cattle. Today branding means much more. More interesting is the concept of instant identification. Despite their presentations, some companies need to do little advertising. “This Bud’s for you” is their motto but their brand has actually been an eagle (Anheuser-Busch), but like Coca-Cola, Budweiser has little need to advertise.

Branding is about product consciousness. It sets you apart from your competition. It’s a means to attend to your distinctions.

Branding or Advertising?

How important is business branding? For local products, national “notification” may not needed. The local vendor can use local TV spots, newspaper ads, and lawn signs. National brands do TV ads, but for national audiences.

Choosing Between Branding and Advertising

Which would be better?” Both, but let’s be practical. You want your product or service to appear in the minds of interested customers. The wisest choice will be some hybrid of both. The brand is the sum of your existence. Your customers’ good testimonies will promote your service or product.

How do I brand?

A brand’s value lies in the experiences it creates—with customers, employees, and other groups. It’s the promise of your values of service, quality, attitude, reputation, and products. It’s the sum of what you are and what you do, an expression of trust and reliability.

What are the customers’ needs? The brand may be a business description. Put a view to the brand. A logo painted on a fleet of vehicles helps. A random picture of the motto may identify the firm. Often branding steers away from a face. Allstate puts an actor’s deep voice in the mouth of a cherub who assures her father of “accident forgiveness.”

However, that approach doesn’t always work. Creative branding fills the airwaves in car ads, computer ads, and others. Sometimes they become irrelevant. Remember the contest between Mac and PC?

If you can build prestige into your logo or your motto, do so, but remember: the brand must be relevant and meaningful.

Someone looking on the Internet will enter the service or product—and not your name—and select from the list. Branding key words and keeping your website active are important to keep you and your business on the radar.

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