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What is Branding? And Should Small Businesses Care? | Part Two

What is Branding? And Should Small Businesses Care? | Part Two

Sometimes it’s not the logo but another visual that comes to mind — even packaging. For instance, I couldn’t tell you what the Tiffany logo looks like, but the instant I see the iconic Tiffany blue box, I know which company we’re talking about. Certain attributes immediately come to mind, such as high quality jewelry and luxury home goods — things no one actually needs, but so many desire.

Or perhaps it is the company’s approach to customizing its product. Mention the name Starbucks and immediately coffee comes to mind. Now, I don’t even like Starbucks coffee but when traveling I will always look for a Starbucks.  I know I can expect a certain level of quality. I know the coffee will be fresh.

But it’s more than coffee I think of — it’s that I can get it the way I want it.  No matter where I am, Starbucks will have hot, steamed low-fat milk to cut the strength. I can ask for a Cafe Misto (the Starbucks name for cafe au lait) made half with steamed milk, and half with brewed coffee. And I will get it — even though it’s not on the menu.  Why? Because Starbucks aims to give you coffee gussied up the way you want it.

So when you ask the question “what is branding” — it is something that triggers associations in our minds.  Branding is about creating value, a promise and delivering on that promise, which in turn becomes part of the overall brand identity. It’s what sets one company apart from another. In short, it tells us what we can expect from that company.  It’s about the perception people have of the company.

Branding (a verb) is doing those activities and communications; large and small that create and reinforce a brand, i.e., what a company is known for.

Your branding (a noun) is all the elements that make up a brand, whether logo, packaging, colors, reputation for customer service, reputation for customizing customer orders without complaint, speed, self-serve options, low price, high quality — and all the other attributes that you associate with a particuler brand.

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