Branding is defined as a “name, term, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s goods or services as distinct from those of other sellers.”

Let’s examine the definition. Ask yourself the following questions: Are my goods or services distinct from my competition? Do your customers have a clear vision of your branding identity? Does your brand tell your story? These are very important questions to consider when your goal is to maximize your image and your profitability.

Brand image and recognition are not just for products or services in glamorous industries. Regardless of your size or scope, do not ever make the mistake of overlooking the importance of creating an image that dominates your industry. Are you instantly recognizable to your target audience? Much like Apple is to technology, Coca-Cola is to soft drinks, Disney is to entertainment, and McDonald’s is to restaurants, your company must shine in the same fashion. Unfortunately, far too many firms view marketing and branding dollars as very low on their proverbial totem pole. This is error in judgment proven over and over again by progressive leaders in all industries that make telling their story a top priority.

Ask yourself this…what is our story and what is our mission that we want to convey to the marketplace? Far too often, I have seen quality firms suffer to reach their potential excellence because they consistently insist on reciting facts, numbers, and statistics in a very uninteresting way as opposed to simply telling your story to your customers.

Your story is what captivates your customer. This can be achieved in so many exciting and creative ways. Of course, your logo is the preface to your story and sets the stage for brand awareness and recognition. Think about the way that you present your product or service. Graphics, colors, shapes, website appearance, phrasing taglines, photos, videos, social media, blogs, charitable work, news stories, and testimonials just to name a few. Be proud of your success, be passionate about who you are, and show it off to everyone in a compelling and interesting way. Be certain to gear your story and overall theme to your target audience. Whether your customers are conservative or artistic, you can let your imagination and creativity capture the minds of your audience.

Branding is critical to your success. It should be the goal of every successful business to make every effort to market their goods and services to a wider marketplace. This will equate to higher sales, increased visibility, and surpassing your financial goals. Do not allow your firm to be generic and complacent. Brand your story into the minds of your customers, much like ranchers brand their cattle. Be different. Be bold. Refresh your image. Become the Coca-Cola of your industry and the results will be a wider market, a greatly enhanced image and reputation, and profitability far beyond your goals and projections.

Greg Bankhurst, VP of Branding, Marketing Maven Public Relations