What’s the most important thing to understand about branding? First, you must understand what branding is not. Branding is not your logo, stationery, or web site. In fact, those are all secondary at best.

I’ve also heard so-called gurus refer to branding as a “promise.” A what? They say it’s a promise that a person, product, or service represents to its market. No, that’s not branding, but it’s certainly included.

What is branding? Well, consider the term itself. Where else have you heard the word branding used? Before I went to school for communications, the only thing that came to mind when I heard the word branding was a cowboy branding cattle with a hot iron.

Burning Your Brand Into the Mind of Your Market

Like the burning of a mark into the skin of a cow, branding is the indelible position that you, your product, or your service leaves in the mind of the marketplace. However, that only tells us what branding is after the fact, but it doesn’t tell us how the brand makes its mark to begin with.

Al Ries and Jack Trout—the real gurus of branding—refer to branding as positioning, and for me, that is the best definition of branding.

Branding is what happens as you, your product, or your service establishes a position in the minds of your market. That’s why the challenge of effective branding is in establishing your initial position in the mind, because more than likely, there are already competing brands filling the mental space of your potential market.

You Can’t Avoid Branding

In the era of social media, branding is even more important because anyone with a computer is now your competition. Oh, and by the way, don’t even think that you’re going to get away with casting aside branding as beneath you. Don’t think that your cause is so noble that you won’t consider using the corporate methods of branding.

Branding is an inescapable concept. It will happen by itself because it is a mental phenomenon that people naturally do as they categorize the multiplicity of persons, products, and services they encounter.

Therefore, it’s never an issue of whether one should, or should not, engage in branding. It’s only an issue of whose brand is engaging the market.

You Can Only Penetrate Minds With Ideas

If branding is something that happens in the mind, as you penetrate it and establish your mental position, then branding begins with ideas. Why is this? It’s because ideas are what the mind stores. The mind does not simply store information, it stores interpretations and impressions about information. These are ideas.

The reason people don’t understand this is because of their idea about ideas. In other words, they think of ideas as simply an inventive thought or concept as in, “I have an idea about what to do about that problem!”

Yes, these are ideas in one sense, but in terms of branding, ideas are much different. And in terms of dominating in social media, it’s the ideas behind effective branding that is the only way you’re truly going to penetrate the mind of the marketplace and create a brand that creates a massive following.

I’ll cover ideas and how they penetrate the mind of the marketplace in the next post in this series. Stay tuned.

Do you need help with your branding, design, social media, marketing, self-publishing, etc? I can help you dominate in your enterprise. I’ve been working in communications for 20+ years, and nearly all of that time was spent running my own communications business. You’ve seen me dominate with projects like Metal Motivation. Let me show you what I can do for you. If you’re interested, email me.

C. J.
C. J.

C. J. Ortiz is a speaker, writer, life coach, and communications consultant. His expertise in personal achievement in life and business focuses on maximizing resources in every area of life. He also has 20 years experience in branding, marketing, design, and publishing. He's also the founder of Metal Motivation: Daily Screams for Living Aggressively—a social media driven powerhouse for personal development.

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