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The 4 C’s of Branding

BrandingBrands aren’t just for big business.  Many small and mid-sized business seem to feel that branding is not for them.  I hear the arguments now.  “My company has a name and that’s what people remember.”  There’s a big difference between a brand and a brand name.  Coca-Cola is a brand name … not a brand.   And, then there’s the claim that “We have a logo!!!”   Keep in mind that your logo is merely a symbol.  What does your company name and your logo mean to your market?  Those associations are the core of your brand.


What is Branding

Branding is one of the most important aspects of any business, large or small, retail or B2B. An effective brand strategy gives you a major edge in increasingly competitive markets. But what exactly does “branding” mean? How does it affect a small business like yours? … Put simply, your “brand” is what your prospect thinks of when he or she hears your brand name.  It’s everything the public thinks it knows about your name brand offering—both factual (e.g. It comes in a robin’s-egg-blue box), and emotional (e.g. It’s romantic).  Your brand name exists objectively; people can see it.  It’s fixed.  But your brand exists only in someone’s mind. Source: Forbes

… your brand is your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from your competitors’. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be.  Click here to view original web page at www.entrepreneur.com

You’ve probably been to a zillion big parties.  Do you remember everyone’s name? Of course not.  But you do remember the names of a few.  Odds are, they all fall into 3 groups.

  1. Do you remember the names of everyone who looked at you, nodded and walked away?  Probably not.
  2. Do you remember the names of people who were really funny, extraordinarily smart or helped you out?  Certainly!  Would you want to spend time wtih them again?  Of course you would.  Would you speak highly of them to your friends?  Sure you would.
  3. Do you remember the people who were mean, nasty, self -centered and supercilious? You probably do.  Would you talk about them kindly?  Want to spend more time with them?  Of course not.

That’s part of the power of a brand.  The folks in the first group were just faces in the crowd.  You don’t remember them because there’s nothing memorable about your interaction with them. The folks in the last group were memorable, but not for good reason.  Who wants to associate with mean, nasty, supercilious (love that word) people.  They created a negative ‘brand’ for themselves.  It’s the middle group we’re drawn to.   We like people are are funny, smart, engaging.  We like people who help us.  In turn, we want to see them again … and again… and again.


The 4 C’s of Branding

I’ll go into greater detail on how you might go about developing your brand in a future article.  For now, here are the 4 C’s of branding.

CREATE a brand that ties into the needs and wants of your customers while reflecting the truth of who you really are as a company.  Creating a ‘pie in the sky’ brand means nothing if you can’t live up to the brand you created.  You’ll need to live and breathe your brand in all you do.  Don’t claim that your company is the most customer friendly, innovative business in the market if you really aren’t.  Customers will soon figure it out and your efforts to brand your business will be useless.

CULTIVATE your brand throughout your company.  If innovation is part of your brand platform, then you need to own it and innovate!

COMMUNICATE your brand vigorously and consistently.

CHANGE your branding if need be.  Over time, most things might need to be tweaked.  Businesses are dynamic and markets ever-changing.


Define Your Brand = Change Your Business

When your brand marries the truth of who you are with customer needs and wants, you create value.  And that value your customers need and the value of your brand becomes stronger.  Customers will remember your (brand) name and have an indelible impression of who you are.  Defining, developing and communicating your brand will focus all of your business activities, enabling you to prioritize projects and programs.   It will increase your return on marketing investment and will, over time, help to keep the customers you have and bring in new ones.


Good luck.   Here are a few more articles on branding to get those creative juices going.

Branding From Costco – Aisle 12

5 Ways Your Brand is Like a Virus

Brand Yourself

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