If you pay any attention to comprehensive marketing in your small business (and of course you do), chances are you’ve heard the terms “brand” and “branding” thrown around a lot. Proper development of these two principles requires knowing how they are related, but more importantly, that they are distinct, different things. I know – they should’ve maybe picked more unique names. No worries, here’s a breakdown of what you need to know.
Your company’s brand is the overall impression you present to clients or customers. A brand is built (using branding, but wait, we’ll get to that in a minute) using a combination of what your company actually does or produces, with supporting elements like language, visual components, and other aesthetic components.
Parts of your small business brand include:
- What you do
- What you make
- How you describe yourself (through written online content, marketing materials like brochures, and advertising.)
- Visual elements
- Color schemes
Some of these, especially the visual elements, can appear inconsequential to someone who isn’t familiar with how a brand is built and how even the smallest parts of what a company presents to the public help contribute to the overall way they’re perceived. Something as detailed as which colors you pick, what fonts appear in your written materials and website, and how your logo looks can make a tremendous difference in what energy your public presence puts off – which can have a huge impact on the success of your company.
Branding is the verb to accompany the noun that is “brand”. In other words, it’s the process of strategizing what you want your brand to be, making choices that support your brand goal, and implementing the many components throughout your company that achieve that goal. The process, when done correctly, should be a fairly time-consuming thing. For most small businesses, enlisting the help of a branding expert can not only make this a much easier project to take on, but will make your branding efforts hit the mark with greater accuracy, yielding far better results. Understanding the emotional connotations of every detail of your company’s image is a thing that comes naturally to these people. This quality, mixed with lots of experiencing carrying brands into the public market, makes them a powerful professional ally to have.
The good news: even if taking on a branding or re-branding campaign can cost time and money, it usually doesn’t have to happen but a few times in the lifespan of a business, especially if it’s done right.