What is a brand? 7 things you need to know

What is branding, and what does it mean to build a brand? While it is possible to answer that in one sentence, you may want to look at the bigger picture.

Here are 7 things you need to know about branding:

small business branding, things you need to know1. Branding is about deliberate differentiation. In business, this is commonly referred to as “brand positioning”. It is not just about appearing to be different from the competition, but also about which segment of the market you are aiming for.

2. Your logo is not your brand. Many small business owners think that, once they had a logo created, they now have a brand. In reality, it requires several more components to “have a brand”, and even then it only becomes worth something once you are able to bring your message across to your targeted market segment.

However, your logo will be associated with your brand – and vice versa – so be sure it’s a good one.

3. Our brains are bombarded with stimuli throughout the day. It is a massive amount of information that our minds have to process – and that’s on top of the mental energy needed for day to day living. As our brains try to make sense of it all, it looks out for brands as a means of knowing what to keep in the accessible portions of our memories, and what “gets buried in the archives”.

Branding manifests through repeated exposure of your brand to your target market – and we tend to be more trusting of that which we have seen before, as opposed to that which we cannot associate with prior memories.

In short, branding – and as such, brand positioning – helps you to “cut through the noise” and be remembered to the point where people start trusting your/the brand.

4. In order to differentiate your brand, you can use any combination of symbols/marks, language and colors to bring your point across. That makes for a lot of options.

5. When looking at any marketing material, the human mind register (what it sees) in a very specific order:

a. Color/s
b. Shapes
c. Numbers
d. Text/language

In short – when you create any advertisement, video or landing page, you have to take make provision for it, and use it as best as you can. If you make it all about the text, you are likely to lose some of the clients/customers you may have acquired.

6. Branding is about more than just business…

It is used by many groups of people who have similar opinions (on a particular topic) and values. Think about all of the logos you have seen for various causes, and how it symbolizes like-minded people aiming towards a common goal.

When you look at it from that (behavioral) angle, it provides some interesting insight into how the human mind perceives brands.

One can argue that it comes back to “the need to belong”, and/or to be associated with like-minded people. While it may not be always be a conscious action/thought process, consider this:

When you stick to a specific brand, it probably means that you have a specific set of expectations which are quite similar to most of the other people who chose that brand.

7. Your brand doesn’t have to be different from the next competing brand. People just have to perceive it as being different, and being “tailor made” for them.