Branding – ahhhh, what a term. It seems everywhere we look these days, that term is being thrown around, but what exactly is branding and why is it so important? First off, instead of starting with what branding is, we’ll start with what it isn’t.
Below is an excerpt from our Welcome letter we thought fit this article perfectly:
“A brand is not:
• your logo
• your tagline
• your product
• your service
All of these things can be expressions of your brand but they are not your brand.
Here’s the simplest way we can define brand: Branding is about the promise of a distinct, memorable experience. It’s about creating an expectation and delivering it consistently every time anyone interacts with your brand whether it’s the way you answer the phone, how your website functions, your entire response process, and how you perform. It’s how you make people feel about themselves and their decisions when they are interacting with you. It’s why you shop at store A vs. store B even if the price or product might not be that much different.”
Developing a strong, authentic brand and delivering it consistently is the foundation upon which every successful business is built. Having a partner like Visionary Rising, to lay that first stone in the development of building your brand is essential to success. We uncover what makes brands special, differentiates them from the competition, define who they are and what they want to be; then we develop a strategy to help tell that story to the target audience. Defining the elements of a brand are necessary to consistently deliver the right message to the right people to create the right reaction every single time. So, how does a business do that? Quite simply – if you brand it, they will come.
A few questions to ask when building a brand are listed below:
What’s my identity?
As an artist or company, you’ll need to constantly ask and answer this question. The answer MUST BE CLEAR. There will be people who come along and attempt to persuade you, so you’ll need to be secure in who you are and who you want to represent. At the Visionary Rising Agency, we represent Art, Music + Technology, while focused on pushing creative endeavors forward. We’ve gone through pains to establish and link the brand to the belief that artists are and will continue to be at the forefront of this company; which means, we only work with the types of companies who understand this. As a result, we’ve seen our core customer base expand along with that brand identity.
What makes me different?
Whether it’s price, product, availability or overall quality. You’ll need to establish this early on – your website will need to reinforce what makes you different as a constant promise and reminder to your customers that you are different.
Once you’ve established who you are as a brand, you’ll be able to get down to the nitty-gritty of branding via social media marketing. It’s more than just the “New Wave”, it’s fast becoming the most utilized wave of marketing strategies with large marketing firms adding Subject Matter Experts (SME) in social media to compete with the smaller boutiques; do yourself a favor and add a Social Media networking guru to your team, or seek out the smaller boutiques that specialize in this.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and sometimes it’s best to just let the experts do what they know how to do. If you don’t have the budget for an SME, seek out someone who will be dedicated solely to updating your social networks. Anyone can have a Facebook fan page, and Soundcloud accounts are a dime a dozen; you’ll need to find a way to separate yourself from the pack.
The prime thing we’ve learned from developing the various brands is people buy into the brand because they’re connected to the owner or enjoy the product, but they stick around because of the connections they establish with the brand AFTER the initial introduction. The point of social networking is to socialize; don’t be afraid to spread your personal message in addition to your company’s message. It has to be intrinsic and it has to be genuine or your customers will know.
The first rule of marketing is understanding that people are buying you as much as they’re buying the product you’re selling – so be an authentic example of what your company and artistry represents, then build a team that supports that; the rest will take care of itself. Like what you've read so far? Sign up for our mailing list to receive our free guide to building and maintaining your brand.