In marketing, we hear “branding” and “building a brand” used more and more by marketing consultants, content creators, and aspiring influencers. It has become more prevalent in recent years, and rightfully so. One of our favorite quotes that illustrate the importance of brand is from the former CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt. He said, “Brands are not the problem, they are the answer…brands are how you sort out the cesspool.“
So, what is branding, and what is the cesspool?
Many folks think your brand and branding are only your logos, colors, mission statement, etc. While this is part of the truth, it is more complex than that. The Answer: Your brand exists in your customers’ thoughts, feelings, and attitudes, and/or audience members. You as a person have a brand (what would your friends say about you?). The company you work for has a brand (are you known for doing good work?). Even the community you live in has a brand (are you and your neighbors proud to live there?).
Case Example: Think of your favorite place to shop. What words and feelings come to mind? Is it clean? Are the staff nice? Do you feel safe while you shop? This is the brand, and when you aggregate the feelings of your entire customer base or audience, now you have a clear picture of what your brand truly is.
Brands are built on the messaging you put out, how you treat your customers, even if there is a spelling mistake on your website – it all matters!
So, there are a few questions we need to ask:
- Is my current brand the one I want?
- Does my messaging affirm or combat my brand?
- Do people trust my brand?
A quick tip: A great way to get a sense of your brand is by looking at your company’s Google or Facebook reviews. These are just the beginning. There also are sites like Glassdoor where current or former employees can review what it’s like to work at your organization.
In recent years, we have seen lots of stories and posts about news and information you can’t trust online – this is where we learn about the cesspool. In an increasingly digital world, attention is where the money is, and some are willing to create misleading content or try to game the system to attract as much traffic as quickly as possible.
So, why are brands the answer?
Brands are built off of reputation. From buying behavior to search engine optimization, reputation and trust are important factors in the minds of your audience and your customers when making a purchasing decision. Strong brands are upfront, honest, and keep their customers top of mind. It’s key to remember that your brand exists outside of your office walls and it takes considerable time to nurture your brand or improve it. Let us know if you have questions about your brand!