Branding is an abstract concept. Many people think that a brand is a logo or simply a reputation. A brand is anything that identifies a product, service, person, or entire company. In essence, a brand is an identity. “Branding is more than a name and symbol. A brand is created and influenced by people, visuals, culture, style, perception, words, messages, PR, opinions, news media and especially social media. Like when a child is born and given a name, a brand needs nurturing, support, development and continuous care in order to thrive and grow. Some brands have a life cycle and grow old like people. Some brands are timeless and never die, are ‘born again’ or reinvented, while some brands live a short but powerful life and have an iconic legacy,” said Lisa Buyer, from The Buyer Group. A brand includes the company’s values and beliefs. A good brand is able to play on the emotions, or even create emotions with their target audience.
As PR professionals, it is our responsibility to nurture and establish the brand for which we are working. It is also important to build our own brand as professionals.
Here are some tips to help build brand identity
· Deliver key messages in an innovative way.
If a company is delivering their message the same way that all of their competitors are delivering messages, they will only blend in. By thinking outside the box, it shows the target audience that that is a special company and it intrigues the audience to explore more about the brand.
· Be consistent with your branding.
Drastic changes to logos, values, slogans, culture, etc. can confuse the target audience. Tropicana made the mistake of changing the logo that was being printed onto the orange juice cartons. This decision led to a large decrease in sales and the brand was temporarily damaged.
· Give back to those who helped establish the brand.
Chick-Fil-A is a great example of a company that has built its brand around giving. The Chick-Fil-A brand originally consisted of delicious chicken sandwiches and humorous advertisements featuring cows. Over time, Chick-Fil-A has become recognized as a generous company that is looking out for the well-being of the community. In Birmingham, Alabama, after a snowstorm which stranded many commuters for an evening, Chick-Fil-A opened their doors and provided shelter and food to the stranded commuters. Chick-Fil-A’s brand now consists of a charitable company that gives back to the community.
A strong brand breeds loyalty.