Branding. A very illusive prey. Many have attempted to find what branding is, but few can contain the wild beast. It seems to me that branding has become a catch-all phrase far-reaching outside of its original description. It has become as varied as marketing has and even interchanged with this term. Worst yet, “brand” is becoming a verb for agencies to help create an identity.
Stop! What? Brand is not my identity? No.
Brand can not be printed, boxed or worn. It has no color, smell or taste. The more complicated thought is that your brand is not owned by you, the company nor an organization. Brand is owned solely by the viewer, the consumer of your offering. Your brand is their perception and emotional connection to your identity or the identity of the offering. So creating a brand, to me, is the wrong statement. What you create is an identity, purpose and value. This is not brand, branding or even marketing. This is ideation at work.
Ideation is that process before brand, branding, marketing and even advertising. Before you can have customer loyalty to a brand you must have an identity in order for a brand to grow in the minds of your customers. Ideation is the process of developing an idea or identity.The best part of ideation unlike branding, is it can look down the path to who you want to become. For me, branding is about the here and now and not there and tomorrow. That’s ideation.
So if you are thinking about “Branding” your business by hiring a brand consulting firm, first find someone who can help you with the ideation process so you know what your brand can become and the branding signals that will work best.