informal about what a brand is. In many of these conversations with business owners, their response is often that they already have a brand based on the fact that their business has a logo and they have this logo on stationary and business cards.
Sadly, however, they could not be farther than the truth.
A BRAND IS NOT YOUR LOGO
A BRAND IS NOT YOUR CORPORATE IDENTITY
A BRAND IS NOT EVEN YOUR PRODUCT OR SERVICE.
So if all these do not make a brand, what then is a brand?
Simply put, a brand is the sum total of feelings or the perception people have about anything – be it a product, service, organization, idea or a person.
Let me further illustrate:
Say you find yourself in a new town and you are quite hungry. You see a popular fast-food eatery (Mr. Biggs, Chicken Republic, Mama Cass, etc.) and also an array of local restaurants; in the brief moments you have to make a decision before you die of hunger, which one are you more likely to choose?
Your guess is as good as mine – it will be one of the popular fast-food eateries you have already heard of before. It might be that Mama Risikat’s Buka at the far junction has got better tasting food than the eatery, but you do not know that. However, you already know what to expect from the eatery: standard of food, pricing, ambience, etc.
Branding is the number one reason we pick one product over another, vote one candidate over another, patronize one service over another, respond more to one idea than the other, and desire to work in organization more than another.
This means that branding is not a stand-alone aspect of your product, service, organization or person. It is all-encompassing as this perception that will be heard of you is built by every interaction had with the product/service/organization/person.
It is formed by the identity design (logo, stationaries, etc.), advertising, quality of the product/service, pricing, location, customer service, etc. These are called customer touch-points and if they are not done with a conscious effort towards building a particular perception, you will have a poor brand or a brand quite different from what you had in mind.
Another popular misconception is that branding is only for big organizations and multinational companies, but this could not be more wrong. Branding is a tool that can be applied by everybody and should be most especially applied by small and medium-sized companies.
This is because strong brands cut down the cost of selling your business, builds customer loyalty and repeated purchases, and best of all, generate word-of-mouth selling from your dedicated customers.
So how then can a small or medium-sized business build their brands without breaking their banks?
This is what I will discuss in my next article.
But before then, I will leave you with an assignment:
Reflect over your business and ask yourself, “What is my brand? How am I perceived?”
Ask a few of your customers the same question.
See you next week.