In business, everyone from the CEO to the Marketing Director to the company’s newest entry level hire should be concerned about branding. While many people’s first instinct is to think that branding is just a concern for their business’ advertising efforts, nothing could be further from the truth. We’ll look at what brands are, and why great branding is crucial to success.

What Is a Brand?

Put simply, a brand is a company’s identity. It controls how the world thinks of the brand, from its attitude, to its mission. A business with great branding has a crystal-clear idea of who their customers are, what their relationship with their product is, and how they feel about it. In other words, a successful brand introduces and maintains your business’ image to the public.

What Are Brandmarks?

Many people outside the marketing universe mistake brandmarks for branding. Brandmarks are anything that visually or aurally represents your brand, from logos to color schemes, to slogans, and proprietary typefaces. These are all essential components of branding, but they themselves do not comprise a company’s branding efforts.

What Should Good Branding Accomplish?

If you are unclear about what your brand is, or what it is trying to accomplish, don’t feel bad. Many big companies have put branding on the back burner. If you need to get started, gather the appropriate decision makers in your organization, and have thoughtful discussions about the following questions: Who are we? What do we do? Who are our customers? How do we help make their lives better? Does our attitude and messaging line up with their age group and values?

After answering these questions in simple language, you’re ready to move on to branding efforts. Successful branding should accomplish the following: First, all branding should deliver clear messaging that is instantly recognizable and understandable. Second, branding should establish and reinforce your company’s credibility in its field. Next, it should build an emotional and connection and goodwill with your potential and existing customers. Finally, it should also move customers to act, inspiring them to sample your product, or buy it again. If any of your efforts fail to check any of these boxes, go back to the drawing board and re-evaluate them.

Your brand is your identity. Your brandmarks, marketing, advertising, and social media presence all must always reinforce it appropriately and consistently. Follow these guidelines, and you should find great success in establishing a strong brand.