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So what is this branding everybody talks about this days? To put it in simple words, it is a lengthy process that involves a lot of effort in creating a physical and mental image in your current and potential customers. The image mentioned above should consist of everything that’s good and worthy of your sold product and/or your company. So when a customer will buy or use your service at least once he will have a reason to want to visit again.

Let’s look at what branding consists of and cover some basics. Your company brand should be made mostly of three things: a company name, logo, artistic design, also additionally it is worth to have also a unique slogan. The main goal of branding is that customers recognize you as soon as they read (a slogan) see (a logo) hear (a name) and feels comfortable at looking at you page layout (design).

We need to clarify one thing, as it is commonly misunderstood – branding actions and campaigns are not the same things as marketing campaigns.

Branding is being confused with marketing by many people who do not fully understand what branding really is. As a result, they perceive branding as a vague and not relevant concept that they should not be concerned with. So let’s look at what branding really is and why you should care about it.

First, things first – to understand branding, it is important to distinguish between brand name and a brand. Think of a big brand let’s say, Mercedes. I am guessing that you not only know its logo but also that you associate Mercedes with luxury cars, famous for their reliability and design. In this case, the brand name is just that- a name and a logo, but the image that springs to your mind and how you ‘feel’ about Mercedes cars is a brand. It’s the perception of the company and its products. Even if you never had a Mercedes car and even if you don’t plan on buying one, you know that Mercedes cars stand for luxury and reliability.

You probably have some sort of an image when you think about other companies like Starbucks, Coca-Cola etc. How we ‘feel’ about different brands is just a perception. A carefully planned and executed branding strategy.

As you can see branding is much more than just creating a company logo. It is about differentiating from competitors, building a reputation and successfully promoting it. Success is achieved when consumers associate your brand with the values that you stand for. (Mercedes = reliability and luxury cars, Ryanair = cheap flights). Creating such image requires a lot of careful planning and deliberation. It requires an understanding of the market, but also defining company’s values and committing to them.

“Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.”~ Jeff Bezos

Brand awareness:

We live in a world that very easily notices false advertising and it’s stuffed with marketing slogans and images. Everything that is ordinary and just blends in it is  just passed and unnoticed. It becomes a struggle to focus customers attention to what you think is important because of all the other things that are going on their social media wall or feed.

Our advice is to think ahead and start planning. The sooner you will come up with a strategy the better it will be implemented in the long term. Yes, the “long term”, because braniding isn’t something that you do once, when you will begin, you will have spend time to tend it and adjust your approach, just to find the best way to show your brand to the potential customer.

Let’s look for example on Influencers that can promote your company or products. There are two ways it can be done. First add your logo and or company name on a banner or link post or video description, that’s the non-aggressive approach. The second method is to get the influencer to mention or use your products. Remember – don’t try to fit in every situation and please all customers, just focus on your strengths and be consistent in what you present, always.

Why is consistency important?

You should always be true to what your company should be identified with, because nothing sends a strong signal like being professional in the thing you are doing. Your customers mostly like when things are stable, predictable and clear. Don’t get me wrong, nothing is better than an incredible surprise from time to time but don’t overdue it. Choose a field that is your main priority to expand on, then choose 2-3 ones related to your business but also in a way unique things you can invest in. Here is a example of Ford, a well known US car company that builds family cars. That is their main focus – everyday vehicles that you use to get to work and home. The second field Ford choose to expand are car rallies! It’s a business different from their initial company concept but still fits the bigger picture as in expanding car projects and overcoming the limits. The most important in this example is that their product users can identify with both fields in some way and don’t feel lost by the company actions. Also they use all their marketing channels to promote their rally team successes and this is a very good thing to do – involve marketing actions around branding.

So to summarize: you will have to think about creating a long term, consistent strategy that will make use of all the possible channels to get the attention of you customer to form a bond with them.

Branding and Marketing symbiosis

As we stated in the beginning of this article branding and marketing are not and never will be the same. Both have the same goal which is to grow and expand even more your company. That said branding is fundamental to your company overall process of image building and as such it should also be the inspiration for marketing activities like TV adverts, billboard campaigns, newspaper ads – those just contribute to the strategy and help to build a strong brand. It’s not a secret that people more willingly will choose a product well known for his brand than another one less known, even if the second would be better. So in other words, good branding and brand awareness generates more revenue for your company and makes marketing campaigns more flexible, as they can focus on products strengths instead of wasting time on building exposure.

Let’s summon here the example of Heinz ketchup and their branding narrative. As you will watch Heinz TV commercials you will notice one thing – all of them shows a big, solid glass bottle with the same white and green plaque on front. This one always looks good but they are not only producing and selling those. In most cases you will come across a Heinz ketchup in a convenient, plastic bottle (with the plaque of course)  that in the terms of image looks worse. Nonetheless you can without any hesitation purchase it because you know Heinz is a trustworthy company that makes good ketchup. The same is with the less promoted but still popular other Heinz products that probably you would just ignore, but you see Heinz’s logo there, so automatically think – it must be good and you still buy it without them even advertise it!

That said successful branding makes use of marketing, but it is also required that other elements of your company are to be present and working clockwise like customer care, quality control, business strategy, website, logo, uniforms etc. This creates a long chain of attractive looking mechanisms that the customer can experience 24/7. Even in a case they have an issue with your service or product, they feel obligated to contact your company and report it, because they know yo can fix it and solve their problem. Also they will not complain on the forms about the issue before they report it to you and that in today’s reality is very compelling