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What is Branding?

From Bare Minimum Marketing, Chapter 4: Branding

A very blurry McDonald's pictureWithout my glasses, I’m blind. Not as a figure of speech, but as a legal definition (worse than 20/200 vision). Fortunately, my vision can still be corrected back to 20/20, but without my glasses, my world looks pretty much like that picture. As you can imagine, I don’t spend much time without my glasses on.

But even with my horrible vision, even as blurry as Photoshop will let me make that picture, you can still tell what it’s a picture of. You know what you’ll get if you go inside, and you can even – with a little thought – figure out which direction you go to order and which direction the kids will bolt as soon as you get inside the door.

And you can tell all that, even with 20/200 vision, because every building is the same. Same colors. Same layout. Same brick walls. Same style doors. (The big golden arches help, too).

That’s branding.

It’s making yourself recognizable through consistency. Your business probably doesn’t have the same kind of name recognition as McDonald’s, but you can still have branding as consistent as theirs. When a customer has your business card, and arrives at your website, they should instantly know that they’ve reached the right place. If they’ve visited your website, and walk past your brochure in a rack, they should think “Oh yeah, I’ve heard of them before”. Every part of your business: logo, letterhead, brochures, business cards, website, signs, ads…. Everything should have the same “feel” to it.

If you can afford it (say, if you have some money you were thinking about spending on ads), this is a great place to get professional help. A graphic designer can make sure that your branding is not only consistent, but also that it conveys the emotions that are right for your business; the benefit of having a professional logo will repeat itself again and again.

Before you meet with a graphics designer, you should have some idea of what you want your branding to convey. So let’s talk about all the elements that go into creating a brand….

To be Continued..

This is an excerpt from my upcoming book, Bare Minimum Marketing, which will be launched on Kickstarter in August. If you’d like more, sign up for updates to get all the latest information.

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