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Strategic Branding

Branding is hardly new, but it’s certainly trending at the top of marketing topics today. Not surprisingly, it has acquired different definitional flavors as it has gained a broader audience. Everyone has their own spin. Here’s mine.

  • Branding is everything that goes into your target audience’s perception and feelings about of your product or service. It’s your logo, your colors, and all of your visuals. It’s also the words you use, how you say them and the message they convey.
  • Branding brings a product or service to life. It’s what captures the hearts and minds of your target audience. Branding is your product/service’s personality.

So, branding is more than a logo. Your logo is certainly important—it’s your brand’s visual calling card. But branding begins long before you design your logo.

  • Branding begins with homework. You need to understand, as broadly and deeply as possible, your target audiences, competitors’ offerings and product differentiators.
  • Your research leads to a clear positioning. That’s the area or niche in the marketplace you will claim and how you will define that space and your product or service in the minds of target audiences. This is usually expressed in a positioning statement that guides the rest of the branding process.
  • Brand strategy takes a closer look at the tagline and messaging, media and marketing approaches that will best work for you.
  • Then, and only then, do you let loose your creative aces—designers and writers—to turn your strategy into a compelling brand.

To be truly effective, branding must stand on two equally strong legs: strategic clarity and creative power.