“Brand” or “branding” are words that are growing in popularity and lessening in true understanding. And the truth is, it is one of the most important aspects of any business, large or small. What exactly is it, what does it mean? And how does it affect a small business like yours?

Your brand is essentially your promise to your customers. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services. It sets you apart from your competition. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be. Who you are should be based to some extent on who your target customers want and need you to be.

Brand is the name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s product distinct from those of other sellers. It actually originates from cattle farmers differentiating one person’s cattle from another’s by burning a distinctive symbol into the animal’s skin. At its foundation, your brand comes down to your logo; that distinctive symbol.

Fully defining your brand can be a difficult and time-consuming task. It requires many facets that include, but are not limited to the following:

  • What is your company’s mission?
  • What are the benefits and features of your products and/or services?
  • What do your customers and prospects already think of your company?
  • What qualities do you want them to associate with your company?

Here’s where the time-consuming comes from. In order to know the answers to some of the questions you must ask yourself, you must do some research. Learning exactly what your current and prospective clients think of you and want from you. Just guessing what they think or want is not good enough. You need to get a non-biased answer.

Continue asking yourself the hard questions about your business and/or services. When you have asked these questions and defined your brand, take them and apply them to your business and your business’ mission. There are a plethora of ways to do this, but basically, you are trying to get the word out about your brand. Stop by next week when we’ll discuss more strategies in doing this.