The term “branding” is one concept often confused or conflated with other ideas, and we'd like to clarify the concept. According to The American Marketing Association, “a brand is a name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.” In any marketing campaign, there are a variety of brand inputs or elements that influence how a brand is formed, shifted, and perceived. When you are considering how your brand has changed, these brand inputs undoubtedly played huge roles.
These are the people responsible for the protection and success of the brand. This may include executives of a business, board members, or key members of your team. In a way, any employee is an ambassador of the brand, and that makes them a stakeholder. They have a vested interest in the success of the company. Stakeholders often know the brand better than anyone. They might believe they know the customer better than anyone, but they could be too close to the brand to see what is happening.
An audience refers to the company, group, or individual to whom your marketing or brand communications are intended to reach. This includes, but is not limited to, customers, influencers, and internal audiences. Understanding the motivations of the audience, especially the customer that will buy your product, helps you to find a connection between your goals and theirs. For example, a fast food restaurant wants to provide quick service at a high volume. A mother, on her way to drop the kids off at soccer practice, wants to get an affordable meal for her children and be on time for practice. While their goals sound very different, they are in alignment. This informs the fast food company how they should structure their service and what they should communicate within their brand marketing to help their consumers get what they want while also achieving their own goals as a business.
The marketplace consists of opportunities, risks, common themes and competition. Every company says they are innovative. Many claim to have great quality, great people, and good customer service. These are not differentiators. To develop a successful message, you’ll need to be distinctive within the marketplace to be noticeable. You can identify the commonalities and differences by observing market trends, noting competitors, and taking note of common themes. We note things like common language, voice, marketing approach, and colors.
Using these brand inputs, you can form a message that targets an outcome, driving toward the goal of the stakeholders, in the voice of the audience, and distinctive within the marketplace.
Branding is Action Oriented
Remember, your brand is multi-faceted. It refers to several contributors and beliefs people hold in regard to you. The whole of all those things create expectations with your audience, which build feelings and emotions. Branding is the proactive effort to influence that feeling. That means you must proactively communicate your brand’s message, positioning, and promise to the marketplace. In other words, marketing is essential. Marketing is a tool used to communicate your brand to the world.
We care about our partners’ success and are ready to help you rethink your branding and marketing strategy. We created a free resource to help you take control.
Download this free resource today to maximize your brand impact.
The Brand Manager's Toolkit
What every marketer needs in their toolbelt.