As a business owner, or an online marketing assistant, how exactly do you understand the term “brand?”
Your own mental imagery or simplistic concept of it as the owner means a lot to your company. How you see its importance will also dictate how your company’s branding will take shape.
Steve McKee, President of Mckee Wallwork and Company, believes that it is the single most valuable asset a company owns which never depreciates but has long been misunderstood. Well-managed, a brand will only keep increasing its value, but when neglected, it can be a risky short sight that can greatly affect your company.
What really is branding?
In his book, Power Branding, he details the importance and purpose of a brand – how it will work for the company in the long run. He says that when regarded as reputation, it will be treated no less than a critical matter by the management. You spend so long to build it but would only take a minute to lose.
For McKee, branding is so much broader than a discipline for marketing departments, which is how many business leaders see it. It encompasses everything that the company does from their visual representation (like the logo) to customer service, even to how the people of the company conduct themselves. What a company and its people do or don’t do ultimately affects public perception. To ignore that simple fact is a peril company leaders should take seriously.
Branding is equal to identity
The best one-word description we can associate to branding would have to be identity. If we base it on what McKee has to say about branding, that is exactly the bottomline it wants to advocate.
How you are known becomes who you are in the eyes of those who know so little of you, most of which they probably just heard from grapevine. Your reputation is your identity, and it is how you are branded – your stamp of recognition. What identity people associate with your company is how they will remember your company. This is branding. No matter how much marketing a company campaigns for, its success will only be as good as the public’s impression of it. How the public sees your company will determine its success and longevity. The more people there are to shower trust on your brand, the more that it will have strength and clout in the market because of positive awareness and loyal support.
A person’s identity precedes him, meaning that before he first sets foot anywhere, the public’s perception has been there already to rally the people either with him or against him. This is true with companies too, big or small, your business is subject to the lasting recognition the public associates with you as an identifying factor.
Even the apathetic minority of the public who may have no interest in your business will only know you through how others describe you. This too, you have to face in business. Maybe not as much as your supporters and detractors, but there will always exist a handful who don’t really care for your business or your activities.
They should become the persuading factor which motivates you to build up your business towards a positive or favorable branding. Your branding should convince this minority to join your supporters. Their concept of your brand has to be founded on the best of perception because that is how you want them to remember you, as well as the first thing to come to mind when they see or hear your company name.
But, if you believe your brand is just your company name, you are wrong. It is so much more! Your brand is everything that makes up the entire company, flaws and all. It is the most important part of your company. It is an asset with the highest value, so it should command more attention from you as the owner, your executives, and all your people.
Your brand is your identity. Your brand is who you are.
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