When you begin searching for marketing advice on the Internet you get a lot of deep conversations and extended thinking. It’s the natural progression of dialogue among professionals. But if you’re just trying to learn this marketing stuff, it can be confusing. It’s best to start with the foundations and thus, The Marketing Spot occasionally likes to get back to the basics. Periodically, I will explain the foundational concepts of the four essential spots of marketing. Here, we start with the often mystical process of branding.
“A brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service, or company.”
Marty Neumeier – The Brand Gap
What is a Brand?
It is the emotional and psychological relationship you have with your customers. Strong brands elicit opinions, emotions, and sometimes physiological responses from customers. Examine the following logos:
Simply looking at these logos elicits an emotional response. You had thoughts and feelings about each company. In fact, when you looked at the Aflac logo, you probably heard the duck in your mind saying “Ah Flack.”
“A brand isn’t a brand to you until it develops an emotional connection with you.”
Daryl Travis – Emotional Branding
Logos are not brands, they are merely representations of brands. They are the entry point and the shortcut to the brand for your mind. Brands are not concrete; they are the thoughts, feelings, and psychological relationships between a business and a customer. And your brand is the foundation of all your marketing activities.
“…brands speak to the mind and heart”
Alina Wheeler – Designing Brand Identity
A Brand is a Cornerstone
What is a brand? The first stone set in the construction of a solid structure is the cornerstone. It is the most important piece of any masonry structure because all other stones will be set in reference to this stone. Your brand will be the blueprint of your customer experience design, it will flavor all conversation about you, and it will align your advertising & promotional activity. Your brand determines the position and strength of your entire marketing framework. Your marketing cornerstone must be plumb and level. In other words, your brand must be the truth and it must be about you.
“In a copycat economy hype will not sustain a brand.”
Oren Harari – Break From the Pack
Benefits of a Brand
Branding your business yields both internal and external benefits. Externally, you create an identity that resonates with customers. You form emotional relationships with customers. That’s important because people don’t buy products logically, they buy with their emotions.
Within the business, your brand serves as an internal compass of focus. If you clearly brand your business, you have an understanding of what you are about. You have a self awareness that dictates your actions. All decisions, not just marketing, are made in alignment with the brand. Over time, you build a stronger business identity.
The process of forming a brand is the result of “unrelenting passion, not unending spin.”
John Moore – Tribal Knowledge