Not too long ago, I was having a conversation with some of my fellow colleagues on the concept of branding. While the world has been thrown around within the business sector, the actual definition is simply lost in transition. Even with its integral role for success, businesses still have a misunderstanding on the actually definition and concept of branding. With that being said, the million-dollar question I have to ask is: What is branding?

Now, before I define branding, I want to clear the air and differentiate the constant misunderstanding between ‘marketing’ and ‘branding.’ As similar as they are, there is a huge difference between the two trades. When we are talking about marketing, we are talking about the promotion and advertisement of your business its products. In the grand scheme of thing, this marketing strategy is meant to inherently capture the attention of the general public and sell them on to the idea of your product. In comparison, branding is simply your identity or your company to the rest of the general public. It tells your intended market what your beliefs are, what your vision is for the future, how you differentiated from your competitors, and most importantly how you want to be perceived and viewed to the rest of the world. Just think about the great brands and products that are out there. Their logos and phrases are not just something that was picked out in thin air. Instead, they were jointed together to create a sense of identity for the company as a whole.

So how do you brand your company? What do you need to do to get your image out there?

When creating the brand of your company, you want to make sure you are aligning all of the ideas and concepts under one theme. For Nike, there idea was to take action and ‘just do it.’ For Apple, their concept was the underlying notion of ‘thinking different.’ For your company and business, you want to have a theme and a logo that can represent the values, goals, and products as a whole. To do this, ask yourself those overarching questions like what your business stands for and what you want your products to accomplish. These answers will identify the overall message you can associate for your brand.

Once you have identified that theme, go into the mind of your intended market and ask them if they can associate that brand with your values. You can even set up various controlled studies to test and see if the brand and your company match the wants and needs of your market. If you find there is some disconnect, be sure to note them down and change what can be done. Remember, you want your brand to highlight a particular message for the group. What better way to identify that brand than from the general public themselves?

Now before you create that strong prototype, evaluate your logo against your other competitors. For many of these companies, they have already found the perfect brand that represents the overall field. Now I am not saying to replicate or refurbish their brand for your business. Instead, evaluate their brands and logos and see how it is representative for the overall market. For some, this could be because of time. For others, however, this could be because of the innovative uniqueness that the logo brings to the market. Whatever is the case, make sure you know your competition.

Once that is said and done, begin creating prototypes of your brand with various trademarks, symbols, and phrases. Then perform another controlled study to evaluate which brand is best fitting for your business.