What is branding?

In my experience a lot of small online business operators struggle to explain the difference between terms like brand, branding and brand identity.

I must confess that when I was first asked the question “what is branding” I struggled to provide a clear and concise answer.

So let’s get started with being clear about the different terminology. I must give credit to an article on branding written by Arek Dvornechuck on the topic for the following definitions – he gives a very concise explanation of the relationship between the terms brand, branding and brand identity.

What is a brand?

smiling emoticons related to brand and what is branding

A Brand is a set of intangible assets of a business.

It is all about the emotional relationship that exists between a business and its customers.

Basically it can be described as a customer’s gut feeling about your business.

Brand is all about the way your customers perceive your business!

Dvorechuck explains that people fall in love with brands, trust them, and believe in their superiority. The classic example of this is Apple.

Users of Apple products are fanatical and will buy their chosen Apple products even if they are more expensive, and perhaps not even as better than similar items offered by competitors.

What is brand identity?

Brand identity represents a tangible asset of the business.

Brand identity is what people actually see and experience in relation to your business.

image of 3 business cards concept related to what is branding

These are the elements of your business that people can see, touch, hear and perhaps even taste or smell.

For most small businesses brand identity is going to be about everything that is visual about your business.

A big mistake people make is to think that the logo of a business is their brand identity. Instead, it is just one part of the business’ brand identity.

The brand identity of your business will typically involve the combination of a range of other visual elements like:

  • Website design and layout
  • Typography, key colours, logo, graphics
  • How your logo will be shown on different applications
  • Any packaging used, what material, what quality, and associated colours and graphics

Perhaps the most critical element of brand identity for online business owners to manage is to be absolutely consistent in how and where the various visual elements of your brand are used in your business.

Essential to this is to create and maintain a Brand Identity Management document.

That management guide will contain all the information you need about what visual elements to use, and where you need to use them in your business.

What is branding?

Branding can be described as a continual process of building awareness of your business, and also loyalty your product and services offerings.

We have seen so far that your business brand is about the relationship between your business and your customers. Your brand identity however is about what your customers actually see when interacting with your business.

The process of branding a business must be considered as a long term strategy that is guided by what your business offers, how it actually conducts its business, all of which is very tightly associated with an in-depth understanding of your customers’ needs.

For many business, the process of branding involves advertising using a consistent theme and being consistent in the visual representation of the business.

Need help defining your business brand and brand identity?

If you have an online business, and your business can actually be found online then you most definitely need to be thinking about your business’ brand.

Many small online business owners will struggle with the whole process of developing their brand, and their brand identity.

So, to help you out I’ve written a FREE 5 part short course, available in eBook format.

cover of an ebook which helps answer the question what is branding

The eBook is entitled “Small Business Branding Made Easy”. This will take you through the kinds of questions and considerations needed to develop your brand and brand identity.

Click here to claim your copy!

What is branding? – Summary

To sum up, the answer to the question “what is branding” will always include these three elements:

  • Your brand is about the relationship with your customers, it’s how they perceive and feel about doing business with you
  • Your brand identity is what your customers actually see as they interact with the various elements (touch points) of your business
  • Branding relates to the overall, long term process and plan to develop awareness and visual recognition of your business, and loyalty to the products and services you have to offer

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