Developing and managing your brand may be the most important component of marketing that your business will undertake. A brand can either be an extremely valuable asset if it’s done well or hold your business back if done poorly.

As we dive into the topic of branding, it’s important that there is a clear understanding of what we mean by a brand.

To start, try picturing in your mind a person that you know who is reliable. Why do you say this person is reliable? I’d imagine it is because you have witnessed this individual say they are going to do something, and then have seen them come through on their promise over and over again. Therefore, this person has a brand reputation as a person who can be counted on.

This describes the basic foundation of branding.

It’s a promise

Simply put, a brand is a promise. It’s not a logo. It’s not a person. It’s not a business name. It’s a promise that tells your customers what they can expect from your products and services, and what sets you apart from your competitors.

Let’s take Starbucks as an example.

If you close your eyes and try to imagine a Starbucks what comes to mind? Can you picture the comfortable chairs as you walk in? The dimmed, modern lighting coming from the high exposed ceiling? The friendly baristas who greet you as you come up to the counter? How about the aroma of fresh brewed coffee in the air and the taste of that first sip of your beverage? This is Starbucks’ brand promise: the emotions, feelings, and cravings that are triggered when you think about their product.

Their logo and name are simply assets that trigger the emotions in which Starbucks has promised you through their brand.

What’s your current brand?

So how about your business? What is your brand? What is the promise that you are conveying to your customers? Does your logo evoke emotion towards your brand? How about your website? How about your work environment? What do people say about your business?

In the next few articles, we are going to begin unpacking the process of branding: how to define your own brand, how to position your brand within your business segment, and then how to articulate and communicate your brand both internally and externally.

This should be fun!