In this new marketing series , we will try and tackle branding. This article being the primer will talk briefly about what branding is, and how to start thinking about your brand.
From the wild west:
The earliest references for brand comes from the back of cattle! The cowboys of the wild west would carry a branding iron on their horses when they were out on the ranch and whenever they found a new calf without their brand(a mark on the side to identify the owner), they would brand it before letting it loose again!
Branding at that time too meant a symbol that stood for an organization; a mark of a certain person – or brand!
Today, we use Branding or Brand as an all-encompassing word to mean “what we think of ; the feeling we get when we think of a particular Commercial Enterprise or Individual“. In marketing, this word is truly all-encompassing. This is because we purchase not the features of a product, but the benefits that the product and bring us.
To be clearer, we don’t really buy a product for its listed features. We don’t normally buy a car because it has 4 seats and a steering wheel and it has the capacity to take us somewhere. Most often when we buy a car, we buy it because we identify with what the company stands for – the safety record of the cars, the luxury perception, the performance quotient etc.
What does this mean to you as an Entrepreneur? That is Brand You!
For an entrepreneur newly starting out in business, the number one thing in your mind is sales – which makes sense. After all if you are unable to make sales, your business is as good as dead in the water!
However, you must start thinking of your brand before you make your first sale. This is because everything you do before the sale, during and after your sale, goes into creating your brand in the minds of your customer.
The description of your product, the price you charge, the package you put your product in, the person that picks up the phone in your office, how you handle exchanges or refunds… In short, every interaction you have with your customer affects your brand perception directly.
A good brand is worth its weight in gold, where as a brand that has lost its sheen is often dead in the water and a drag on the resources of its owner.
Branding starts with your business name, your logo and even your place of business. Branding is affected by whether you are online or purely offline or both.
Hence, it is rather important for business owners to think actively about creating your brand. If you don’t a brand will be created for you – and you will have no control over what it looks like. To build a big business – rather to make a profitable business, it is very important that you create a positive brand around you, and then utilize it and nurture it for the service of your customers.
Over the next few posts, we will discuss in more detail how to carve a brand for yourself!
Summary: Brand Perception is the feeling your name/logo etc invokes in a prospect or a customer. The time to think of branding is before you make your first sale.