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I hate to ask but what the heck is my brand, anyway?

line I hate to ask but what the heck is my brand, anyway?

In a recent post I promised to help you figure out how and when to change your brand. But before I do that I think I should take a minute to define branding for you…..

After a million years in advertising I’ve pretty much heard it all….but recently when pitching a potential client they told me they wanted our ad services, but they just didn’t want any “Branding”.

My first thought was “What in the world do they think branding is, anyway?” The word “Branding” has been misused and thrown around too much lately. The truth of the matter is this: asking for advertising without branding is like buying a car without a motor.

I think in general people IN advertising assume that people OUTSIDE our world understand all the terminology and intricacies of our profession. BUT THEY DON’T and there’s no shame in that. Just put it out of your mind that you could ever hire an ad agency and take your branding “on the side”. It ain’t gonna happen – and if it does, you’re wasting your money and getting really BAD advertising at the same time.

Here’s what you need to know: in order for folks to recognize and remember your ads, the ads have to be visually and contextually MEMORABLE. In order for an ad to be memorable, it has to have some VISUAL element that is repeated from ad to ad. Without that, the consumer has no idea that one ad connects to the next….and no way to identify and remember you….(and the same applies to the content…..if each ad says something completely different, the light bulb of “recognizeability” may never turn on for your potential client).

You may come across a hundred different definitions of branding, but they all boil down to this:

Your branding is some visual and/or contextual element[s] that can be repeated from ad to ad with the purpose of creating a recognizable look and feel or BRAND. Brands can be created for a product or a service or a business…or all three.

Your brand may not apply just to your ads either, it can incorporate your logo, your colors, your music or slogan or any of the other elements that separate who you are from your competition….or in other words, your brand is your identity. You brand is what the consumer uses to remember you. It’s that “thing” that makes them wonder or hopefully realize that they’ve seen you before….and it plays on their subconscious and forces them ask themselves “hey this seems familiar…and perhaps I should take a longer look at this?”

In order for any of your advertising to work, it has to have a unique, definable, consistent and repeatable brand and that brand should be used on an ongoing basis in order to help your target market to recognize and remember who you are….long enough to make a buying decision. It’s not any more complex than that (the complex part is finding a way to integrate that brand into your design and content…and unless you’re particularly inclined, you need a pro to help you with that).brand

NEXT POSTING: OK, so my graphic designer created an ad for my company, but I ran it one time and haven’t heard from anyone.  Stay tuned to hear about the importance of frequency when it comes to advertising.  The buying public not only needs to hear about you multiple times but they need to be able to remember you WHEN THEY ARE READY TO BUY SOMETHING (and of course you normally don’t know when that is, so you have to use some ad tricks to get people’s’ attention). 

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