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The key to creative and effective branding of any program, product, service or institution is finding the right positioning–to drive the advertising and other marketing tools. It doesn’t have to be complicated or weird. In fact, if it’s good and effective, it’s simple and will follow this “Rule of consumers”–“You are what you appear to be.” This position, or ‘brand’ is really an identity (not in your mind but in your audience’s)–a way people can sort through all the confusing information and summarize what they think about something. To get additional info, Local Brand Advisor

What do you get with a brand identity?

Over the last 25 years we have come to learn that the development of a brand identity is much more than a mere benchmark denoting successful arrival in business, or its evolution and growth. A clearly defined and easily recognized identity has, in fact, become a critical success factor in today’s highly competitive business environment.

Just to lay some “groundwork”, here are ten reasons why doing so can have a strategically important effect on your bottom line.

o It’s easier to know who you are, which means:

o It’s easier to know what you do. (Helps develop goals)

o It’s easier to know how to do it. (Helps with implementation)

o Less energy is expended overall. (Creates efficiency in communications)

o Team building occurs naturally when staff can identify with a common symbol, common language and therefore common goals. (Sports uniforms are a good example. Every player feels like a part of the group.)

o You can match your image to your clients needs or view of his business. (A simple matter of “give’em what they want.”)

o With a clearly defined identity you communicate more efficiently with your customers, and they remember you more easily. (Memorability is easier when everybody clearly knows who you are.)

o Enhancements in the overall quality of your product or service. (Consistency always counts.)

o Benefits and unique qualities of your business are communicated more clearly to your clients thereby increasing sales. (Marketing tool)

o Helps set identifiable standards of quality in your product or service. Helps with a sense of reliability by developing a “brand identity.” (Brand names are trusted.)

So, what is a brand anyway?

As we begin the process of making recommendations for developing a brand identity let’s talk about what we really mean by “brand.” What is it, why does it work, how does it work and who makes it work.

Philip Durbrow, vice chairman of the international design firm of Frankfurt Balkind Partners, recalls, “When I first started working in branding, it became obvious that there were no clear universal definitions of key words like marketing, strategy, identity, image and brand. I’ve developed specific definitions so that we are clear on what we are talking about. Fuzzy words yield fuzzy thinking and fuzzy brands.”

Some Definitions

There is very little consistency in people’s understanding, or usage, of brand terminology. For clarity, we offer the following definitions:

A Product: is something that is produced to function and exists in reality.

A Brand: has meaning beyond functionality and exists in peoples minds.

Product Quality: has major influence on Brand Qualities.

Brand Qualities: are the thoughts, feelings, associations and expectations created by a Brand Identity.

Brand Identity: is the way in which a brand is expressed visually and verbally.

Branding: is viewing every customer related activity as part of the branding process and managing it accordingly. Everything a company does that affects its customer, affects the value of its brand.

Marketing: means making it easy and motivating people to buy your product–through product design, pricing, packaging, distribution, advertising, etc.

Brand Marketing: is pushing beyond product benefits to fulfill a strategic core promise. It means looking past the tangible to the intangible, accommodating buyers’ practical needs while resonating with their deeper feelings.

Brand Strategy: means deciding which brands are going to be used to deliver which products and services to which customers. (This may involve usage of global brands, umbrella brands, megabrands, subbrands, flanker brands, brand extensions and brand families.)

Brand Equity: is the present value of the future combined purchases that are a result of the preference created, or the premium paid, for a brand’s products.

Why do we want a brand?

All brands start by speaking to the needs and aspirations of an audience. The aspiration is the brand identity: that’s a projection of how the brand wishes to be perceived by its target audience (as opposed to the brand image, which is the way the brand is, currently perceived).