The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines branding as a “customer experience represented by a collection of images and ideas”. We often, think of a brand in terms of its visual representation or brand mark – a symbol such as a name, logo or slogan. But good branding is so much more than just a pretty picture or catchy phrase. It’s the embodiment of your organization’s values, beliefs, philosophies. It should communicate your unique yet intangible business elements that are just important as the quality of your products and services. In short, your brand is a promise to your customer.
Building an effective brand ensures that you customers better understand your organization’s true identity. Your brand serves as your voice and, telling customers what they can expect. Ultimately your goal is to create an emotional connection to your existing and potential customers, persuading them to consider your products or services, before looking at others.
Keep Your Message Consistent
Every brand communicates a message. But is it the right message? With so many products and services in the market today, customers need a way to distinguish yours from the rest. By developing your brand around your core philosophy you send a consistent message to consumers about your organization’s value proposition; whether it is quality, customer service, functionality, or fun. Your brand itself should consistently communicate exactly what a customer will get when making his/her purchase.
Stand Out From the Rest
A well constructed brand can separate your organization from competitors. Not only does your identity communicate the uniqueness and appeal of your offerings, it provides customers with a glimpse into your company culture. Over time, good customer experiences translate into brand recognition and trust. Eventually this trust turns to loyalty, where customers see you as the standard – choosing your products and services over those of your competitors.
Protect Your Image
It is almost impossible to prevent competitors from offering products or services comparable to yours. However, creating a distinctive identity and trademark will keep a competitor from being able to your company’s brand – whether it’s your name, logo and/or tagline. Now more than ever, it is important that businesses build a solid brand, so they not only stand out from the competition, but are legally protected from infringement.
Facilitate the Development of Your Business
Whether you are starting a business or looking to promote the unique qualities of an existing organization, it’s time to develop your brand. By integrating your brand identity across all segments of your business – from company letterhead to employee emails – you communicate internal and external consistency to consumers and employees alike. A strategically designed brand not only serves as an organization’s foundation, it’s an indicator of where you are headed. Brand building expresses your vested interest in the future of your company.
Craig Johnson is the chief strategist and co-founder of Matchstic, a premier brand identity house. His Atlanta based branding agency helps organizations create passionate brands that are memorable, relevant, and lasting. Specializing in brand development through brand strategy and positioning, brand and product naming and brand identity services, Matchstic’s brand architects forge positive change and accomplish business objectives through creative thinking and smart design.