"Brand" is more than just a buzzword.  It's a pretty common conversation among small business, to talk about branding, or rebranding.  But what does that really mean?  The reality is that most people don't really understand branding, especially for their business.   And managing a brand has gotten even more difficult now that social media creates a 24/7 stream of brand awareness. First, there are a lot of things that your "brand" isn't. 


It's not your logo. 

It's not your website. 

It's not your business card. 

It's not your photographic style. 

It's not your color scheme. 

Then again, it's all of those things - but not because of the reason you think.  Your brand isn't about what you say about your business (which is what all of those are for), your brand is about what you do, and the impact that has on people. 

In reality, your brand is "the way people feel about you and your business."  It's the perception they have, and the emotions connected, to all of those moving parts - and more.  Sometimes, those elements can help influence the experience your clients (or potential clients), have with your organization.  Often they help recall an emotional connection that already exists with a brand, but they - on their own - are not your brand.  The question becomes "how do I make sure my brand represents actually represents my values, and what I want my customer to experience." 

So what's the point?  Make sure the details (website, logo, etc), match the big picture (experience you want your clients to have) - but don't forget that branding is as much about creating the experience as it is about creating a logo, or website, or whatever.  If the promise doesn't match the experience, your customers won't believe anything else you have to say.  This matters because if you think that what your marketing really needs is a new website, or new logo, you might be surprised to find out that those things only reflect a brand - they don't define it.

Start by defining what your brand is... then create the details that help people connect with that.  Otherwise, it's all just a waste of time.  In fact, every time you make a decision about a logo, or color scheme, or whatever - that isn't founded on the promise you want your brand to stand for, you compromise the overall integrity of your brand.  

What do you think?  How do you translate your brand promise, into a customer experience in your business?