Why Your Brand is the Most Important Thing to Consider in Your Business
There are a lot of misconceptions about what a brand really is. So, I’m going to attempt to define it in the simplest terms possible, as well as explain why it is so important for your business.
What is a Brand?
Branding started simply as a symbol of ownership – think of the way farmers brand cattle. However, the term branding has evolved over time into a much larger concept in business and marketing.
It’s not a Logo
The most common misconception is that a brand is a logo. Actually, a logo is a graphical representation of your brand, but the brand itself is much broader.
The way we relate to a brand is very similar to the way we relate to other human beings. A person makes an initial judgement about another person based on their face or profile. If you appear smiling and pleasant, they may assume you are a kind person. If your hair appears unkept, they may think you’re messy or disorganized. It’s the same way with a logo. A logo is usually the first thing somebody sees in relation to your business, and they will make a judgement about your company based on that.
And it’s not only just about them making a positive or negative judgement—they will hopefully make a correct judgement about what kind of company you are and what you do. A logo can have a professional and a pretty design but still misrepresent your brand.
Let’s say you’re scrolling through Facebook, and you stumble across a profile for a man that appears to be a rugged, Harley-riding biker guy. Eventually, you get the chance to meet this person; but to your surprise, this guy doesn’t even know how to ride a motorcycle! Wouldn’t you feel confused, and maybe even misled? In the same way, it’s important that your logo tells the right story about who you are.
This is probably why most people tend to associate branding with logos, because it’s so crucial to the way people view the business.
I’ve identified three major components to brand. Brand Identity is one of them.
A logo falls within this category. Going back to our human analogy, it’s not just their face, but also their clothing, their weight, their posture, etc. Translate that into a business setting: it’s your website, your marketing materials, your physical product, your user interface, your store sign, your employee uniforms. Every visual and physical component of your brand is called your Identity. It’s what people see.
But we as humans are not just physical. We also have an unseen aspect to us. Some call it a soul or a spirit. It is your personality, your experiences, your goals, your philosophy and beliefs.
Your business has a “soul” as well. It’s more accurately called a “business culture”, or the way you conduct business. This is something that can be shaped with time and care. It is why companies have mission and vision statements to keep them focused on the culture they aim to have. However, your culture will also be shaped by the personalities of the business owner and the people running it. This is a much harder aspect of culture to change.
As a business, you are offering your clients more than just a product or service. You are offering them an experience. It’s crucial to work towards shaping a culture for your business that provides your clients with a positive desired experience.
The last component, and probably the most important, is your reputation. This is how your clients and the rest of the world perceive your business and your product. Perhaps, as a child your mom told you not to worry about what others think of you. Unfortunately, this principle does not hold up in business. Your reputation can make or break your brand.
In the end, this is the goal of building a brand: earning a positive and accurate reputation. In doing so, you will grow your business and build a customer base that is loyal to you.
I’ve heard someone once describe a brand as “people’s gut feelings about your organization.” Realize that your brand will be built on what you do, not on what you say. It will come from the experiences you deliver to your customer.
Unfortunately, in your brand, you don’t have a lot of control over your reputation. But you do have control to shape your brand identity so that it reflects success and accurately reflects what you’re about as a company. That’s why I’m so passionate about designing brand identity for businesses, because it is a way that I can actually empower them towards their goals.
Understanding the full scope of a brand is not easy because it is such a big subject, but I do hope that I was able to shed some light on the subject, and its importance to your business.
Best of luck to you as you build your brand! Tell us in the comments below what you’re doing to help steer your brand in the right direction.