Powering Up People & Brands

Marketing, Branding, What Does It Really Mean?

Brand building focus

A clear purpose: Building your brand

Last year I was introduced to an audience as a Brand Expert then the moderator promptly proceeded to say that she did not think of me as “marketing”. That sounded strange to me! After all, isn’t marketing about building brands? Was “building brands” more or less than “marketing” in her mind?

Then I realised that I always talked about many business activities which all affected the way the market experiences a brand, but a lot of these are not traditionally associated with marketing in the mind of many people. This was a great reminder that your audience may not see things as you do and that their experience of “you”/your brand builds up an image and an understanding of your brand that you need to monitor.

Marketing your brand – There is more to it than you think!

For a lot of small business owners, managers and even business advisors, marketing seems to have a very narrow image. “Ah, you are in marketing, so you make ads, you do brochures, you do websites…”. Of course I do all these things, of course I launch products, create packaging that stands out on the shelf, all these activities typically coming to mind when people think of marketing. But as a Brand Specialist I am having a lot more fun than that!

When I say “brand” I mean equally corporate brand, product or service brand or personal brand. In all those cases the same principles apply to building your brand. Take a bit of Art (= Creativity, vision, passion), a good dose of Common Sense (= staying down to earth and practical) and a dash of Science (= following a structured process so you don’t miss anything that is really important to bringing your brand to life and achieving lasting success)!

Your project is “Building your brand”

Think about it this way: The brand-building or marketing process is not different from project management. It starts with knowing who your customer is, needs and wants, knowing also where you stand, having a clear vision of where you want to be, what you want to be for your market and how you want them to think of you! That perception comes from what the market experiences in every way when coming into contact with your brand directly and indirectly.

Then you can develop a well articulated strategy or set of strategies, translate these into detailed plans that will build your brand through a brand experience that matches your vision! You can’t do it on your own, you need the right people, you need to communicate your vision to them, develop them into your “brand ambassadors”, get other support in place like technology and finance.

There is no point in having it all planned and not making it happen. Precise and dynamic implementation is crucial, so is monitoring what is happening so you can fix what is not working out as expected and you keep forging ahead, eyes firmly set on your market, your vision and your strategy.

This not theory, “brand magic” is managed and it works

if you don’t include in your thinking ALL that impacts the way your market will experience your brand, you may get short term wins but you may also hit problems and you will miss out on important opportunities to stay ahead of your competitors. If you don’t prepare well, including putting yourself in the shoes of your customer, you put your brand and your business at risk sooner or later.

I see many cases where time and money were lost because someone got into “Action mode” without having considered all that actually mattered. Fortunately I also see a lot of business owners who intuitively know that their brand is important, who care wonderfully about their brand and teach their people how to care about it, who consider internal operational issues with their brand in mind. They are successful, their people are proud of their brand and of the business, they go the extra mile and their customers remember the brand and spread the good word.

Yes, there are many important “details” across many facets of business behind what someone called “Brand Magic”. Don’t say you have not got the time or that only price sells in your market. How long can you survive in a price war? Building your brand matters. And at the heart of it, is your customer!

Contact us to talk about how our BrandFirst© programs can make it easier for you to focus your marketing and get better results.

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