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Why Branding?

by Kathy E. Walker

Why in this economy would I want to put my money into brand identity?

Branding is a vital part of marketing ANY product or service. In a down economy, branding is even MORE important.

Wikipedia defines Brand Identity as, "fundamental to consumer recognition and symbolizes the brand's differentiation from competitors."

Here is an illustration of my point. In the photo above I have a generic can of green beans and a major brand can of green beans. Say you are having an important client over for dinner and you realize you forgot the green beans. You run to the store to grab a can. Given the choice which can would you purchase?

OK. I would say most would go with the major brand. There isn't a lot of difference, if any, between generic and the brand name product. Yet our perception and the power of brand identity--messaging, logo, colors, fonts, advertising, packaging, and appealing design can greatly effect someone's purchase. If strong branding effects our choice when it comes to green beans, how does it effect your business in the market place? Consistent branding over time helps establish trust in the quality of the product... and repeat business.

Here are some questions to consider:

Is my business distinctive?
Do my clients ever get my business confused with another business?
Does my business name, logo, website, messaging and marketing materials make me stand out?
If most of my clients are corporations, do MY marketing materials look corporate?
How old is my current website?
Was my website professionally done? Is it as strong or stronger than most of my competition?
If I put all my marketing materials on the table, including web page print outs and ads, does it look like it is all coming from the same business? Or have too many different vendors taken too many directions?

These are hard, in your face, questions. But business isn't easy either. In today's market you need a strong presence in the marketplace. Consider getting professional help with your branding.

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