What is Branding?

You’ve heard the term “branding” before, but are confused about what it refers to. Is it your logo? Your marketing? Your website? Your marketing strategy? Truth is: it’s all of the above and more.

Branding refers to the image–visual, emotional, verbal–that you create for your company. So the logo you choose, as well as your website and its colors, help forge images in consumers’ minds about your brand. So do the words you use on your website, as well as the messages you share via social media and your blog.

Consider Apple, one of the strongest branded companies in the world. The logo has been tweaked slightly over the years, but remains a simple apple. And the messaging we receive via television commercials, online ads, and simply the products themselves reiterate that simple message: the products are hip, sleek and simple to use. Period.

Consider your brand. What does it portray? Is it the message you intend? Or is it something else? Do the colors you use in your branding reflect the messages you’re trying to relate? Are you speaking in a voice that portrays that image on Twitter and Facebook?

Building Your Brand Strategy

Maria Ross, author of Branding Basics for Small Business, offers businesses 10 questions to help them determine what branding messages will effectively help them reach their customers:

1. How do you describe your company and what you do?

2. What are the product or service package and pricing descriptions?

3. What are the organization’s strengths and weaknesses?

4. What are the adjectives and emotions around your brand?

5. Who and where is your audience? What do they look like? What do they read? What groups do they join? How do you find them?

6. What are the main benefits you provide to customers? Why can you make those claims?

7. Who is your competition and how are you different?

8. How do you need to communicate: With current clients/interested parties? With new prospects?

9. What is your company’s greatest asset/one unique thing?

10. Metrics: how do we measure success?

It’s well worth it to ask yourself these questions to determine how you should brand your business. Even if you’ve done a similar exercise in the past, your company goals may have shifted, so answer them again to make sure your branding stays on track.

Susan Payton is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, an internet marketing firm specializing in marketing communications, copywriting and blog posts. She’s written two books: 101 Entrepreneur Tips and Internet Marketing Strategies for Entrepreneurs, and has blogged for several sites, including The Marketing Eggspert Blog, as well as MashableSmall Business TrendsCorpNet and Lead411. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing

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