Upside-Down Thinking by Patric Fransko
by Patric Fransko
February 1st, 2017

What is Your Brand?

Right now, many of you might be ready to tune out this article. Brand?! I am a small, local business, not Nike. Why should I worry about brand? Well, in this article I want to define what branding is and tell you why you should be intentional about it with your company.

  1. What is brand/branding – What first comes to your mind might be the brands that have infiltrated most of our lives: Apple, Nike, Nordstrom, Amazon, etc. Those are all brands for sure, but every company has a brand, whether they are actively managing it or not. Simply put, a brand is a name, symbol, personality, reputation, feature, etc. that distinguishes your product from others.You probably never included things like personality or reputation when you thought about branding, did you? However, in my opinion, they are at the very core of how your brand is defined. Sure, Apple’s brand is known all over the world. However, the reason that brand resonates with so many people is a result of the personality and reputation that company has built. The actual logo is just an outward symbol of those things. The same can be said of Nordstrom. I couldn’t even tell you exactly what their logo looks like or any slogan, etc. that they have used. However, I can tell you stories I have heard of how customer-centric they are and the lengths they will go to make a customer happy. That reputation and personality is what defines their brand.
  2. Why is brand/branding important – In a day where all the information you could ever want is right at your fingertips via a phone, tablet or laptop, branding is more critical than ever. Many of the products being offered by your company and the competition are similar in nature. This can be both useful and confusing to a consumer. Everyone looks the same. In order to stand out, you can’t just rely on the products that you offer. Your company needs to cultivate a distinct brand. What does doing business with your company represent? Great customer service? Best price? Highest quality installation? Giving back to the community? Only you can decide what your company will represent, but it is imperative that you define something that makes you unique from the competition.In addition, the brand should be true to who you really are. Consumers are pretty savvy and they can smell a fraud a mile away. If you represent your brand as caring about the community, the staff needs to believe that and demonstrate that in how they interact with members of the community. If your brand is that “quality is the #1 priority,” the entire staff needs to be dedicated to providing the best quality possible in each customer interaction. You can’t fake this. If it’s not who you and your staff really are and you’re just trying to use it as a sales tactic, the truth will come out and your brand will be tarnished.

 

I hope this article helps you understand that each of you has a brand, whether you have been conscious of it or not. With that said, you need to determine what you want your brand to represent and then be true to that brand promise. Defining, managing and caring for your brand is what will help you cut through the noise and differentiate you from the competition.

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