Simply put, your "brand" or corporate image is the impression formed at every point of contact with your prospects and clients.
The dictionary definition of "branding" usually refers to the name and image of a product or service. However, in the business world we take it a few steps further.
BNET defines branding as:
a means of distinguishing one firm's products or services from another's and of creating and maintaining an image that encourages confidence in the quality and performance of that firm's products or services.
We like this definition much better! It accurately describes the overall effect, goals and purpose of branding.
So how does branding affect marketing?
Ah, the great marketing/branding debate. We at ImageWorks Studio have long argued that marketing and branding are very similar and are, in fact, dependent on one another. We prefer the term "Brarketing," a successful fusion of branding and marketing to promote and create value in a company's products and services. Branding has slowly moved away from packaging and naming, into the realm of marketing.
After all, to successfully brand a product or service, you have to market it well, and vice versa. Hence "Brarketing."
The American Marketing Association's new definition of marketing is as follows. (Notice that it sounds a LOT like branding.
Marketing is an organizational function and a set of processes for creating, communicating and delivering value to customers and for managing customer relationships in ways that benefit the organization and its stakeholders.
So think of branding as the creation/re-creation of tools and media used for marketing purposes and marketing as the planned execution of those tools and media.
Corporate Identity and the Importance of Branding
Perception is everything in the business world. Advertising professionals call it "outside perception" when it's in the eyes of the customer. Everything that comes in contact with customers ? brochures, direct mail, Web sites, advertisements, presentations, e-mails, signs, exhibits, salespeople, etc. ? helps them form an opinion, good or bad, of your company.
Your brand begins with your logo, also known as your "mark."
"Your logo is often where a prospect's first impression of your business starts, and sadly, in many cases, ends."
Scott Margenau, President of ImageWorks Studio
A prospect should be impressed by your logo and be able to easily figure out what your company does.
Your tag line should further define your market niche and stimulate the prospect's curiosity.
A successful branding program is multidimensional, emphasizing the total customer experience. Companies often focus on a specific marketing project and forget the total package. Your brand must convince your prospects that you are the clear-cut choice to fulfill their expectations. This leads to credibility and anticipation, which will give you a huge advantage when it comes to converting sales.
ImageWorks can help you build a brand from the ground up or to rebrand a "tired" or outdated corporate image.
Follow the links below to get started. To contact ImageWorks visit them at www.brandsthatsell.
Scott C. Margenau is president of ImageWorks Studio, an award-winning marketing, branding and advertisng firm specializing in online and off-line media specializng in web design, web development, brand development and promotion