Branding has been around in some form or another since 350 A.D. The term ‘branding’ is derived from the word ‘Brandr’ which means “to burn” in Ancient Norse language. Around 950 A.D a “brand” referred to a burning piece of wood.
By the mid-1500’s it had morphed to refer to a mark burned on cattle to demonstrate ownership. Individual ranches each had their own unique mark so that ownership of animals could be assessed if they were stolen, lost or mixed in with animals from another ranch. As such each ‘brand’ was required to be simple, unique and easy to identify - traits that are still best practice in modern logos.
The rise of mass production saw merchants ‘branding’ their ‘logo’ onto crates of goods to distinguish themselves from their competition and over time a brand began to represent both quality of and identification of product (in lieu of just ‘ownership’). As perception played a larger part in branding, so did pricing with products that perceived as high quality. Allowing them to demand higher price points than their competitors.
In today’s market, the meaning of the term “brand” has become both ubiquitous and overused. It’s often confused for marketing (which it’s not) or a logo (which it isn’t). In fact, it might be easier to start with what a brand isn’t and define it from there.
A Brand is Not:
A Product or Service
While all of these items are certainly interpretations of a brand, they do not, at least individually, represent a whole brand.
Entrepreneur.com defines branding as “The marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products.” But we simply define it as the promise of a unique, lasting experience for your customers. A brand is about crafting a confidence in your company and delivering it consistently. Whether this be consistently communicating (using company approved fonts, colors and logos), to how information is presented on your website or right through to how your employees interact with anyone who comes into contact with your brand.
Take the time to truly consider your brand and to think about the ‘promise of a unique, lasting experience for your customers’. This includes your identity, website, social media and content as well as the way your employees interact with customers; how they answer the phone or how they’re trained to inform customers on your product. All of these points are your ‘brand’ and when you consider it from this angle, you start to see the significance a brand plays in both your marketing and your business as a whole.
Developing a clear, defined and authentic brand and then delivering that consistently across every touchpoint a customer has with your business is the foundation upon which successful businesses are built. Ready to dive into crafting your new brand identity, or simply freshen up your existing brand? Let’s talk.