Building your Brand – And What That Actually Means
I did a quick Google search before writing this article, and was quite surprised to find that the first page results in my area at least didn’t really reflect my own definition of what a brand is, and what it means to define it to your clients or customers.
First I’ll give you a few examples of what I found, and then I’ll give you my own. As with all things in life the choice is yours as to which you’ll follow or believe.
Brand – (Noun) “A type of product manufactured by a particular company under a particular name.”
Wikipedia – (First sentence and I’m not going to include references to cattle obviously)
“Brand is the “name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s product distinct from those of other sellers.”
Government of the United Kingdom – “A brand can be a trade name, a sign, symbol, slogan or anything that is used to identify and distinguish a specific product service or business.”
Forbes – “I think “brand” is one of those words that is widely used but unevenly understood. What does “brand” mean, and how has the word’s application changed over time?”
Now these were just the top four results, but as you can see most are along the same lines. I personally thing the Forbes article was closest to being on point when it pointed out that the word “brand” was widely used, but unevenly understood.
For many of us bloggers and internet marketers, building a brand stops once we’ve decided on our company name, chosen a tagline, and had a graphic designer come up with a logo, font, and set of company colors to use. We then do our best to match our Twitter account, Facebook fan page and other creative outlets to match and think we’ve accomplished something.
I’m going to share my idea of what a brand is, and what it means for me, and those I do business with.
Branding – My Beliefs
I believe branding is first and foremost the trust that is associated with an individual or company. The logo’s, design and everything else is merely the triggers we use to remind our audience about that trust or reputation.
“It takes twenty years to build up a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” ~ Warren Buffett
Building your brand is nothing more than building trust with your audience. It’s important to point out that trust is usually influenced more by behavior and less by words so it’s important to stay congruent with your message by ensuring that you do the things you say you will even when there happens to be a price associated with it.
Integrity is easy to claim when there is no cost, but what about when it comes at a steep price?
Years ago the CEO of Huntsman International, Jon Huntsman sold a 40% share of a division within his company to Great Lakes Chemical CEO Emerson Kampen to the tune of fifty million dollars. The deal was done. Great Lakes dropped the ball, and didn’t finalize the deal for months, and during that time the markets changed and that fifty million dollar deal became valued at five times that amount.
Kampen went back to the table admitting that it was their fault for dropping the ball, and offered to meet Huntsman halfway at 150 million dollars rather than the 50 it was valued at when the deal was first agreed to. Jon Huntsman refused and the deal was done at the agreed upon price of 50 million.
He later went on to write a book about it titled “Winner’s Never Cheat; Even in difficult times” Now that is integrity! It’s no wonder Jon Huntsman went on to become one of the wealthiest men in the world.
What does your brand mean to you, and what price would you be willing to pay to see it maintained?
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