You and customers
A long term relationship
What Your Brand is For.
One way I like to think of branding is as a relationship between your business and your customers. So if we take on this model of a relationship, then a brand is about more than a logo. More than a “cool” business card. More than the bells and whistles of a website. A brand done well elicits an emotion… hopefully a positive emotion like loyalty, love, happiness.
It’s easy to see this with a well-established brand like Coca Cola, for example. Over the years, Coke has gotten us to feel warm and fuzzy using cute polar bears, great music, whimsical bubbles, etc. Every commercial, print ad, billboard, bottle and can is somehow about good times, being social and just plain fun. This commercial from 1971, is congruent with the Coca Cola we know today.
Great, so how do you do accomplish this when you’re starting your brand from scratch? Well, the same way you accomplish trust when you meet some one new. The same way you go from a passing glance to falling in love, moving in together, getting married, and staying in love. It happens in every little communication, and interaction. It happens with every choice you make. It happens when you, a business owner, meet some one for the first time. When you hand her your business card. When he visits your website. When she sees your ad in the program for her kids’ high school play.
Certainly your logo and website play a role in your branding, and they do not equal your branding. Branding is about consistency across everything to do with your business. Your graphics, your marketing materials, your language, your customers’ buying experience. If you’re a solo-prenuer, you are a part of your brand too. The way you dress and speak count.
The goal is for all these pieces, and the space between them, to have a consistent message that ellicits positive emotions in the people who you like to work with. That is what a brand is for.