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The kick-off to our 3-part branding series, What is a brand explores the elements of a brand and who needs to think about branding. We cover branding perceptions and clarify what a brand is before delving into the last 2 parts of our branding series, Why is branding important? and How to build a brand.
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What is a brand?
When you think of the term brand, what comes to your mind? What do you think about when somebody says here’s how to build your brand? Do you think it applies to you or do you normally think of larger companies and businesses? I would love to know your thoughts on this, so please leave a comment below with your thoughts around the term brand.
As independent agents and as freelancers, sometimes you might not identify with the idea of building a brand or the term personal brand.
The dictionary definition of brand is: An identity or an image regarded as an asset. It’s a bit ambiguous and a little vague in terms of a definition of what a brand really is. So, I want to talk about what we mean when we are talking about branding. This is part of a 3-part branding series and we will have two follow-up posts over the next two weeks including;
2. Why is branding important?
3. How to build a brand
There are particular reasons in which you would want to make the effort to build a brand even as an independent agent or somebody who is just doing their side hustle. We’re going to get into that in the next post (#2, Why is Branding Important?). The final post ( #3, How to Build a Brand) will address the specifics of how to build your brand. We will get into the specifics of how you’re going to build your brand or build upon a brand that you already have.
What is a brand? When you think of Pepsi or Coke, what usually comes to mind right away? Is it their logo or a physical attribute of the company? You may also think of a time when you had a Pepsi and it was a hot day and you had a can of Coke or an ice cold Pepsi and you felt really connected to that moment, so when you think about it you get drawn back to it.
There’s no right or wrong answer here, all of those components make up the brand. It even goes so far as to include any of the ads that you’ve seen on social media, any of the advertisements that you’ve seen in the newspaper or even magazines.
A brand is really the perception people have of your business, your product or your search.
A good brand perception or a good experience with the brand
A good brand image.
This goes across the board. It’s not just how people are treated when they’re working with you. It’s how they’re treated when they email you, what they see on your website, what that experience looks like when they are there. All of the little nuances build to create your brand.
This is why it’s so important to have a really consistent look and feel from your website to your social media, and also to have very professional graphics and logos. Work with a designer when possible, and have your graphics created to make sure that everything is consistent across the board. You’re building your brand image over time and this is the perception that will then be regarded as your brand. This concept is far more complex than I’m outlining here, and can often be easily disregarded especially among the smaller businesses and independent agents. That’s why it’s even more important to understand what a brand is and how you can use that to build your own personal brand. You will get taken more seriously and people will want to do business with you!
As you go through the next posts in the 3-part branding series and we talk about why it’s important to build your brand and how you can do it, just keep in mind that we’re working off of perceptions and you are also going to want to step back and look at your business as if you were a consumer. Think about how you would feel about your brand if you were a customer because ultimately, it’s not how YOU feel about it, if you like your logo or if you think your website is great. It comes down to how other people feel about it and how you’re making them feel when they’re interacting with your business.
Stay tuned for post #2, Why is branding important? Coming next week and followed by post #3, How to Build a Brand coming the following week.
Mandy Davis is the owner of Ingrain Social Media a boutique, digital marketing agency in Bend, Oregon that specializes in digital marketing with an emphasis on social media marketing. Mandy helps clients from all walks of life and industries get their brands found online.