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What is branding?

It is interesting how many non-marketing professionals use the term branding incorrectly. Branding is a powerful strategy and marketing objective. When implemented and created effectively, the brand can become a real competitive advantage.

Branding involves the analysis of four areas:
  1. your capabilities relative to your competition for your target market and customers,

  2. your marketing message that communicates your capabilities that are different and more desirable for your target market and customers,

  3. the decoded marketing message understood by your target market and customers,

  4. and, your target market's and customers' perception of your product and or service quality.

Branding is the mental and emotional connection that the consumer, customer, prospect or user of your product and or service has associated with your name. This connection could be good or bad.

A strong branding strategy is more than just creating an attention-getting advertising campaign or slogan. The communication campaign should infer a promise of a certain quality level. That quality level now becomes the expected quality for the consumer. So the company must at least deliver, but preferably exceed, that expected level of quality. The communications campaign should also position your company, product or service to differentiate it from your competition. The final component is delivering quality. That quality is the perceived quality of the customer. You must deliver better value, image, or solutions than what your competition can deliver. The use or your product or service will also convey a message and will help stimulate perceived quality.

If you miss the mark on any of these, you certainly do not have a strong brand and some might even argue that you have no brand.

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