In its simplest terms, branding is having the courage to stand for something, ensuring, of course, that the target market both wants it and, preferably, is not currently getting it. This is the basis for a long-term relationship that the most successful brands understand connects on both a rational – “I want it because of what it does” – and emotional – “I want it because of how it makes me feel” – basis.
In its simplest terms, marketing is the communication bridge between your target audience and your brand. So once you’ve taken the critical first step and nailed down what you stand for as a brand, you then need to determine how you want to engage with your target market. This process of consumer engagement represents your brand communication strategy, and consists of four key parts.
Before all is said and done, and you’re about to layout a roadmap for your brand, I believe there are five rules in building a brand you should know and, hopefully, follow. I’ve listed them in order of importance, as follows, and while the rules are relevant for any-size company, I’ve written them from the perspective of the start-up or smaller company.
I once went to a speech given by the then-CEO of P&G, and he said something that I knew instinctively was true, and I’ve followed his advice ever since: Every brand has a story, and it’s your responsibility as the head of a company or marketing director, to tell it.
What is a brand? It seems everyone has their own definition, and I have mine. It’s sometimes easiest to say what it isn’t, especially in an area where there appears to be the most confusion, so here goes – a brand is not a name, logo or package design. These are important, of course, but are really outward reflections of what the brand is rather than embodying its core essence.