So What Exactly is Branding & How Does It Differ From Brand?
Branding can be seen as early as 350 A.D. and is derived from the Norse word ‘Brandr,’ which means “to burn.” By the 1500s, ranchers were using this practice to signify ownership of their cattle by burning their mark into cattle. This was the precursor of what we know today as the modern logo.
Very simply, brand is the way you, as a company, are PERCEIVED by those who experience any of your visual and verbal elements (voice, logo, color, type, etc).
“A lot of people talk about it.
Yet very few people understand it.
Even fewer know how to manage it.
Still, everyone wants it. Branding, of course -
arguably the most powerful business
tool since the spreadsheet.”
— MARTY NEUMEIER
Today branding isn’t so literal, and has much less to do with the logo, colors, or fonts that a brand uses, and has a whole lot more to do with the gut feeling that people have about a brand’s product, service, and organization. Branding gives a brand it’s voice in the marketplace, which allows the brand to tell their story and talk about who they are so people will want to connect with them. Branding is an opportunity to create lasting impact and is absolutely key to survival in an ever-changing retail environment.
That means that branding is the deliberate act that you take to shape your image and cultivate your brand before it ever interacts with your customer. Whether it’s a logo design, developing brand voice, brainstorming a marketing campaign, etc — all of it is branding, and all of it contributes to the authentic experiences your customers are having with you. Deliberate branding helps you create more than a surface appearance, it helps you elicit feeling and emotional responses with customers, which creates lasting impressions, and ultimately, brand loyalty.
““Each person creates his or her own version of it [brand].
While companies can’t control this process,
they can influence it by communicating the qualities that
make this product different than that product.
When enough individuals arrive at the same gut feeling,
a company can said to have a brand. In other
words, a brand is not what you say it is.
It’s what they say it is.”
— NEUMEIR. THE BRAND GAP.
Why Does Branding Matter?
Branding is an investment in time, energy — and beyond the act of building it, its a major investment in growing and maintaining it. However, it is the single most important asset you should invest in if you want to see sustained growth and utilization of your brand.
Branding of a company happens either re-actively or proactively, and most companies fall into the reactive category. Reactive branding occurs when brands let themselves be dictated and shaped by outside forces, and on the surface most companies don’t realize they are engaging in reactive brand practices, as it feels productive in nature. Reactive branding occurs for many reasons, but most often is because of threat or change — both reasons put pressure on a company to respond immediately, and this pressure causes choices to be made with no foresight or vision, which means brand’s fail to adapt (i.e. low engagement, plummeting sales, etc).
Proactive branding is a deliberate act that a company chooses to consistently invest in and practice. Proactive branding makes decisions about shaping the brand from a place of strategy, and strategy allows a brand to adapt to change and threats, but more importantly allows them to see opportunities for growth. Do you know which type of branding you engage in?
The main reasons why brand matters
- Branding builds confidence.
- Branding tells a your unique story to create an emotional connection.
- Branding gives you purpose and direction.
- Branding attracts your ideal customer