What do we really mean when we say “brand”?

Marketing is how we communicate to audiences, promoting our businesses and services. We know that. And while branding is related to marketing, it’s certainly not the same thing. In a word, branding is who you are. When you think about it, branding is bigger than marketing.

Think of a clothing company, one that’s has a valuable brand. Their brand is known for being hip and trendy above all else.

You might see their fliers and their advertisements on TV. You might have a crumpled up coupon in your pocket, and you might have been to their website a time or two. But even after you’ve forgotten all about these advertisements and marketing approaches, you still have an attitude and a general feeling about that clothing store– that feeling, that attitude, is the result of their brand. You still remember them as the hip and trendy clothing store that was always up to date on the latest fashions, even after all the marketing ploys have faded from your mind. You remember them for their distinct style and niche too– as the brand for hipsters, or the brand for the preps.

Branding is the overall sense of identity that is communicated to customers. Branding tells customers who they are and why they’re different than their competitors. Branding is what tells a customer whether they can rely upon a company or not.

Branding is how customers know that Apple computers are different and offer better applications for creative computer users. It’s how customers know that Coca-Cola is a tried-and-tested all-American soda that will taste just like they’ve always remembered it. It’s how car buyers know that a Ford truck will be reliable and tough. These are all statements that people would generally agree with not because they’ve tried all the other products on the market and know the name-brands to be best, but because the branding has been very strong and successful. You don’t know Coca-Cola is the best cola on the market– but you’re pretty certain it is, because they’ve excelled at branding for so many years.

The best thing a company can do for themselves is put in some long hours of serious thought figuring out what they want to brand themselves as, why they want to, and how they can do it. With an idea of what makes your company unique and valuable, a strong brand can guide your marketing strategies to success. Think you might need a new brand strategy? PGN is here to help! Give us a call or email anytime.