What is branding

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As the marketplace expands inviting new entrants into the industry, the competition to gain customer attention and trust through branding is getting stiffer. In this context, let us take a moment to comprehend:

What is a brand?

What is branding?

What are the rules of branding?

Why does branding assume so much prominence?

What is Branding?

Wikipedia defines:

  • A Brand is a name, logo, slogan, and/or design scheme associated with a product or service.
  • Branding is the distribution of merchandise with a brand name or symbol imprinted.

Prominent Marketing and Branding expert and author Seth Godin defines a brand as:

“A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.”

According to the Oxford dictionary:

branding is the activity of giving a particular name and image to goods and services so that people will be attracted to them and want to buy them.”

Cambridge dictionary defines branding in this way:

“the act of making a product, organization, person, or place easy to recognize as different from others by connecting it with a particular name, design, symbol, set of qualities, etc.”

In simple words, a brand is what differentiates a product from its competitors.

The book 22 Immutable Laws of Branding explains this with a real-time example:

“From a business point of view, branding in the marketplace is very similar to branding on the ranch. A branding program should be designed to differentiate your cow from all the other cattle on the range. Even if all the cattle on the range look pretty much alike.”

A strong brand positioning is vital to gaining audience trust and building a loyal fan base.

A secret to achieving this is to convey the benefits of your brand’s offerings through unique storytelling in a value-adding and authentic way.

What are the elements of brand identity?

The mention of the brand reminds us of a logo. While a logo is the first tool to impact the audience, the branding journey just begins with a logo.

G2 identifies the elements of a brand as below:

  • Name
  • Logo
  • Color
  • Slogan
  • Image
  • Shape
  • Graphics
  • Typography

As an extension to branding, there are numerous other aspects that create a perception in the prospect’s mind that there is no other product on the market like yours.

From choosing the niche of offerings to expanding the scope, quality to pricing, customer service to collaborating with other brands, publicity to category, market dynamics to adaptability to change, branding is reliant on many factors.

Laws of Branding

Below is a gist of the book “22 Immutable Laws of Branding” which explains how various business decisions, factors, and actions can affect branding:

#1: The Law of Expansion – The power of a brand is inversely proportional to its scope.

#2: The Law of Contraction – A brand becomes stronger when you narrow its focus.

#3: The Law of Publicity – The birth of a brand is achieved through publicity, not advertising.

#4: The Law of Advertising – Once born, a brand needs advertising to stay healthy.

#5: The Law of the Word – A brand should strive to own a word in the mind of the customer.

#6: The Law of Credentials- The crucial ingredient in the success of any brand is its claim to authenticity.

#7: The Law of Quality – Quality is important, but brands are not built by quality alone.

#8: The Law of Category – A leading brand should promote the category, not the brand.

#9: The Law of the Name – In the long run, a brand is nothing more than a name.

#10: The Law of Extensions – The easiest way of destroying a brand is by putting its name on everything.

#11: The Law of Fellowship – In order to build a category, a brand should welcome other brands.

#12: The Law of the Generic – One of the fastest routes to failure is giving a brand a generic name.

#13: The Law of the Company- Brands are brands. Companies are companies. There is a difference.

#14: The Law of Sub-branding – When building brands, sub-branding can destroy.

#15: The Law of Siblings – There is a time and place to launch a second brand.

#16: The law of Shape – A brand’s logotype should be designed to fit eyes. Both eyes.

#17: The Law of Colour – A brand should use a colour that is the opposite of its competitor’s.

#18: The Law of Border – There are no barriers to global branding. A brand should know no borders.

#19: The Law of Consistency – Brands are not built overnight. Success is measured in decades, not years.

#20: The Law of Change – Brands can change, but only very infrequently and very carefully.

#21: The Law of Mortality – No brand will live forever. Euthanasia is often the solution.

#22: The Law of Singularity – The most important aspect of a brand is its single-mindedness.

How to build a brand?

It’s simple.

Think like a customer rather than a business owner. Ask all questions your prospect would probably ask and put your answers into action.

That’s how branding begins.

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