definition of brand

A short video about brands and branding

Today I want to share with you a video in which I talk about brands, and give a short and (hopefully) simple definition of what brands are. The video has been filmed in co-operation with FreshUp.TV. This video is meant for entrepreneurs and all those who want to learn about branding basics. We plan to shoot more videos about brand strategy in the future.

Branding affects all company functions

In my post Need rebranding? Don't just change your logo, think brand strategy, I gave a definition of brand strategy. And indeed, what's important about branding is exactly the word "strategy". Today, I want to share with you an article published by B2CMarketingInsider: Branding, It's a Company Wide effort. I completely agree with the author that "Branding is the overall experience from top to bottom within a company". This is contrary to a seemingly widely accepted opinion that brand strategy should lie within the scope of marketing departments.

It is partially true, especially when it comes to communicating the external image of your company, and knowing your consumers, at which many marketing departments excel.

However, branding goes much deeper than that and affects all company functions. Paraphrasing the article, branding is all about:

  • how your clients or prospects are treated
  • how problems are solved, and whether the internal company culture facilitates problem solving or not
  • how your product or service quality correspond to your company's promises.

This is why wherever possible I like to make contact early on in any project with a company's founder, CEO or Managing Director — the person who has an overall view at all company’s functions. Or the strategic brand manager for the product in question.

Is your brand ready to go online?

Last week, I attended a business development conference in Brussels. Although not exclusively, the majority of the conferences and mini-talks were about e-marketing and online channels in general. The main focus was on tips and tricks of using online tools in order to achieve results. DECIDE WHAT YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE BEFORE GOING ONLINE

What results? This, of course, depends on each individual company, but you'd be amazed to know that only very few companies know what they want to achieve before establishing online presence. Often, they gotta be online just for the sake of it, because it's en vogue, or because hey, all of their competitors are already jumping on the bandwagon of all things web.

FIRST, THINK BUSINESS STRATEGY

Indeed, tapping into social media for brand-building purposes should be for sure on any brand's radar screen these days. But it's how you use it, and how you link it to your overall business strategy, that's important. If you haven't figured out your brand's DNA yet, and have a vague idea of what your customers love (or hate!) your brand for, it's not yet time to engage in high-intensity Twittering! Read my article Why sweet Cheerios went sour on YouTube to learn what can go wrong if you jump into social media too fast.

On many occasions at the afore-mentioned event, several people came to me asking how to use Twitter or Facebook, and were not able to explain why they wanted to do that. One guy gave me a fancy answer, "To show that we know how to do that".  Show to whom? He wasn't so sure.

DEFINITION OF BRAND STRATEGY

Unfortunately, a holistic strategy approach towards online brand building -- the kind that involves thinking through the basics of one's overall business strategy before starting a Facebook fan page -- is still very rare.  In this sense, a smart brand strategy, which is essentially your company's business strategy that focuses on building a strong brand on all levels of your company, from logistics to customer service to web design, can definitely be the way to go.

SOME TIPS BEFORE YOU GO ONLINE

To give you some tips on what should be kept in mind before launching your brand's presence on the web, here is a short presentation that I had prepared for last week's business development conference.   These slides are pretty general, but if applied in the right way to YOUR company, they can create amazing results.