Can (Fill In The Blank) Companies Develop a Brand?

Branding is one of those concepts that is both extremely simple and exceedingly complex at the same time. One of the most common questions we hear related to branding is: “Can a company like ours develop a brand?” The answer: “Absolutely! But…” Here’s the thing…

Every company, every business professional, in fact every individual has a brand. It’s a given. So, yes, regardless of the type of business you have or the types of products and services you sell, you have a brand. It’s the “can we develop a brand?” part of this question that is a bit more complex.

Why? Because businesses and individuals don’t really develop brands. They manage them. Brands are developed by consumers. How they perceive you is who you are. Brands, in essence, are personalities. They reflect the impression that various audiences have about you based on the myriad of interactions they have with you, your company, your staff and your products and services–and what they hear about you from others.

Yes, you can attempt to manage those perceptions, and you should. But you don’t really develop your brand aside from the standpoint that everything you do serves to develop the brand. Simply complex enough for you?

Branding is important for any type of business — and also for individuals. Whether you operate a real estate company, a manufacturing firm, a healthcare organization or a car wash, you have a brand! What you do with that brand is up to you. And, whether you do it consciously or not, everything you do, or don’t do, does matter!  Some key points:

  • Branding can be thought of as a company, individual or product’s “personality.” It is defined by others (your target market), and influenced by you. While you can identify desired brand attributes that you would like others to know you for, their perceptions reflect the reality of what your brand is.
  • To evaluate whether the current brand is “right” we recommend a four-step process which is detailed in another recent blog post.
  • In terms of “rebranding,” it’s important to note that branding is not about coming up with a logo, tagline or corporate colors–brands are defined by every interaction that a target audience has with the product/service, individual or organization that is seeking to effectively manage its brand. While we often use the term “rebrand” to refer to refreshing the logo, or changing the company name, this is really just the “window dressing” — the brand itself is defined by the market based on their interactions which encompass all of the “4 P’s” of marketing – product, price, place (distribution/access) and promotion.
  • While you don’t necessarily need professional public relations people to help you review and reposition your brand a third party perspective can be important because we’re often “too close” to our brand to see it objectively.

Most importantly, your job of brand management is never done. Regardless of the type of business you run, your world is changing constantly, internally and externally. Consumer needs change. Their perspectives changes. Your business changes–its staff changes, your products and services change. We’re all constantly managing multiple processes, inputs and outputs.

The first step: identifying how your audience currently perceives you and determining whether those perceptions are aligned with how you want to be perceived.

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