What Is Branding and Why Should You Care?

by | Oct 7, 2008 | Marketing & Selling

Branding for big companies makes a lot of sense. However, many small business owners and entrepreneurs don’t think that this essential business strategy applies to them. In part, this is because they don’t understand what it is and what it can do for them. So let me clear it up for you.

Branding in business is much like branding in cattle raising. A brand identifies you, your product, or service and makes it stand out from the competition. It can be a name, like “Kleenex”, a term, like “roller blades”, a sign or symbol, like Target’s bull’s eye, or any combination of these.

Big companies spend a lot of time, money, and effort developing their brands. Some have done so well that many consumers use brand names as common nouns (”Kleenex” instead of facial tissue, “Hoover” instead of “vacuum cleaner,” etc.).

A brand is also more than I’ve discussed so far. In fact, it has a much deeper purpose than just to differentiate you in the market. Its purpose is also to establish an emotional connection with your target market.

When I say, “Oreo,” what do you think of? My initial sensation is that of good times growing up and eating Oreos dunked in milk. That’s an emotional connection.

So what does this all have to do with you, the small business owner?

Branding can make a difference in your business, as well. It can attract more clients to your practice, get more people to buy your products and services, and even cause a viral, word-of-mouth referral system to spring up without you even trying.

This month, I’m going to cover three ways you can make branding work for your small or solo business:

  • With Visuals — using color, symbols, and fonts to help create your brand.
  • With Sound — using catchphrases, music and other audio cues to establish your brand.
  • With Intangibles — using customer service, quality, and other intangible attributes to develop your brand.


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