What the $*%@ is Branding?

Is your company the player, the girl next door, or the video game nerd that lives in his parent’s basement? If you’ve ever tried online dating, you know the game. You get one paragraph to try to express how awesome you are to a parade of other singles, who flip through profiles like the latest catalogue from Ikea. You agonize over your description, trying to use just the right amount of humour without coming off like a lame cornball. You trick yourself into believing that you’re interested in exercise, learning new languages, and cooking, in an attempt to fill your ‘interests’ section with more than just “watching tv.” Every junior high insecurity comes right back to the surface, as you put yourself out the world in the hopes that someone will take the bait. And then, you just wait…

Branding is like online dating for companies. Whether or not people realize it, your brand tells the story of who the company is; fun, strong, elegant, gritty, conservative, outspoken, etc. As your customers flip through the catalogue of you and your competitors, what you’ve put in your description box will determine whether they stop and read more, or whether they pass you by for a younger, hipper company.

By managing how the personality of your company is communicated to the outside world, you set yourself apart from everyone else. It’s not PR, social media or advertising; branding happens before all of these. Your brand is your company’s foundation. It expresses your genuine personality and what you stand for.

In truth, branding is vital to every company’s bottom line. Branding is about getting your prospects to perceive you as the only solution to their problem. Once you’re perceived as ‘the only,’ there’s no place else to shop. Which means your customers gladly pay a premium for your brand.

Super brands like Apple, Google, and Amazon are great examples of companies that have successfully positioned themselves as ‘the only’ in consumers’ minds. As proof, we’ve all gone so far as to have adopted the term “google it” in place of “look it up”.

Now, let’s compare this to your company. Ask yourself what your company stands for, what its personality and values are. Would former employees and current clients say the same thing? Aligning public perception with your values is crucial to attracting the right clients and employees to your business.

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