Consider these important questions about branding and the brutally honest answers that could help you sell more and save you lots of money that is typically wasted on branding. If you sell yourself as a branding expert – you might not like these answers. These are frank answers that demystify branding.
1. What is branding? Branding is the ongoing process of creating and enhancing the brand. The brand is the emotional connection that encourages your clients to cling to the organization, product or person. It is important for you to understand that branding is an emotional connection. And emotion is devoid of logic.
2. Why is branding important to business? Effective branding builds that emotional connection. The more emotional that your clients are about you, your company and your product – the easier it will be for you to sell to those clients. You can appeal to emotions instead of logic. Emotions, although more complicated, are easier to influence than logic.
3. What mistakes do companies make with branding? Many entrepreneurs get confused about branding. They believe that branding is about logos, fonts and pantone colors. That happens because graphic designers and advertising agencies, masquerading as marketing experts, claim that branding is about image.
Often bad marketing decisions and wasted money are justified with the phrase, “It’s good for branding.” Branding is not the goal – it is a tool. The goal is to sell more.
Many corporations fall into this trap. The corporate branding police insist that every PowerPoint slide be a particular color, including the company logo and in the company fonts. Readability and purpose are thrown out the window by the branding police because they lose sight of the purpose and focus on the tool. Maybe they should be fired.
4. How can business build a strong brand? A strong brand is about feelings. First you need to decide the feelings that you want to evoke from your customers. You need to be clear on your intended message and the mindset of your best customers. You can build feelings by the way you treat your customers. You need to treat them in a manner that stands out from the competition. Southwest and WestJet airlines demonstrate this well.
5. Give an example of successful brands. Nike and Coke are companies that built strong brands because of huge marketing budgets and mass marketing over time. That’s the most common way that most well-known brands were built. Unfortunately it’s too often emulated by small business as the only way.
Harley Davidson and Buckley’s cough medicine are examples of branding built on creative positioning. That method is the smarter choice for businesses without multimillion dollar advertising budgets.
6. Is branding the best marketing approach? No. Branding is only one approach to marketing. Marketing is about making customers want your product. Branding is about building an emotional bond with your customers. It takes time to build that bond. And branding requires one of two things in abundance – money or creativity.
7. What is the alternative to branding for small business? Small business can do something that’s better than branding. They can build real relationships with their clients. Big corporations can’t do that. That’s why big corporations spend millions of dollars on branding. Small business has a better tool. They can build real relationships. When you are building your brand ask the important questions and get the straight answers about branding.