So…what is a brand and why is it critical?
A CEO I consulted once quipped, “To me, a ‘brand’ is a box of Cheerios on a grocery store shelf.” While he wasn’t wrong—and no doubt many other business leaders share that narrow knowledge of branding principles—a brand is obviously so much more. Your brand is your businesses’ most valuable asset. It’s the “gut feeling” your customers and prospects have about your business, your products, and your services. Your brand is the sum total of all you are and all you do. It’s the essence and the promise on which your business is built—and the lynch pin on which your future success and growth will depend. Branding is for any business that sells any product or service to either a business or consumer audience.
A strong brand will influence everything your business is and does, from your ability to recruit talented staff to its result on the bottom line. That is why more and more business leaders are paying attention to establishing and managing a brand strategy—treating it like the important asset it really is.
But branding is not simply a tool for creating awareness of your business, it can BE the key mechanism for communicating your organization’s vital messages to the marketplace. A strong brand will change the way prospects and customers think about you; it can be the chief reason they come to you to solve their problems; and it can help educate potential business partners and vendors.