Whether you know it or not, you have a brand.
Every interaction you’ve had with your customers, every pitch you’ve given to a prospect and every one of the 140 characters you’ve sent out on Twitter have worked to develop your brand.
These interactions, although seemingly small and unrelated, collectively form the basis of your relationship with your audience; and all relationships are facilitated, maintained and articulated by none other than your brand.
Meaning, your brand is already alive. And if you aren’t being intentional about it, it can quickly grow to be a disorderly in the marketplace. That’s what can make branding such a hard concept to understand and why most entrepreneurs think of it as a dirty and shady word.
What Is Branding? A Working Definition of Brand.
The best place to start is to understand what a brand isn’t.
Your brand isn’t your logo. Your brand isn’t your visual identity system or your retina-ready website. It isn’t your color scheme or even your wonderful product. And most importantly, your brand isn’t what you say it is. Your brand is what people say it is. In other words, your brand is a gut feeling that’s rooted deep within people. It’s a feeling because people are emotional and instinctive beings.
Branding is indeed an intricate and involved idea, but as an entrepreneur, there is nothing more integral to the success of your startup than your brand. The first step is to understand why brand matters.
Why Branding Matters
Relationships are the most beneficial advantage an entrepreneur can own and branding is the conduit to building those relationships. Establishing authentic relationships with your audience matters because void of relationship, you merely have a neat gizmo, idea or gadget not a business.
Your brand facilitates your relationships which, in turn, facilitate your business. Brand = Relationship (Trust) = Value. Brand matters, it’s as simple as that.
Branding helps people understand what you’re doing and why they should care. It helps people understand who you are and why you matter. Without branding, you’re building and iterating without factoring in how people will experience and understand you in the real world.
Branding is highly complex, intensely layered, wall-to-wall hard work, and your brand is the single most valuable asset you can cultivate in your business. It is the economic value that drives your business.
Does branding matter to you? How are you cultivating your brand? What can you do today to become more intentional about your brand in a new way?
Dive in and dive deep. Explore. Understand why branding matters to you and your entrepreneurial adventure. Ask questions and begin to see your brand with new eyes.