As a companion piece to an earlier post about important elements of branding, I felt it apropos to discuss the intellectual aspects of brand activity. Why do I refer to it as brand activity? Because your brand must be active. All of the elements within are actions that keep your brand alive. Thus, because a brand is not a product nor a service, it is necessary to complete the connection between the heart and the head that we all have as people and is illustrated by your brand’s emotional and intellectual essential features.
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When you consider branding from this perspective, you will likely notice that as important as affinity and equity are, the place your brand occupies in one’s mind surrounds the feelings that connect people to it. Be sure to remember this particular fact when you contemplate where your brand is and where you want it to be.
We all have names and other characteristics that help others identify us. Similarly, brands possess these components, the combination of which is most often referred to as the logo. Your logo is so important that it is mistakenly called a brand by some. This is due to the fact that the words, fonts, shapes, colors and other attributes that make up your logo [should] say a whole lot about who you are and what you believe in.
Your positioning defines where you fit in the market. The importance of this brand element has everything to do with clarity. One of your biggest responsibilities as a business is to serve your customers and that obligation is difficult to fulfill if you don’t know: 1) where you fit within the human community; and 2) who your customers are or will be. Furthermore, your position will help differentiate you from those who, at first glance, seem to be similar.
Planning is imperative. This plan is not a general idea. Your strategy must have clear objectives and goals. And when you have crafted your well-defined brand strategy it will affect all aspects of your business including consumer needs, competitive environments and, of course, emotions.
How do you want to be perceived by those who come in contact with you? Your vision is an extension of your positioning as it can help communicate your present and future position through your values. This is one of those brand elements that is exactly how it sounds. Vision win!
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You know all of those fundamental ideas that your potential and actual customers or colleagues look for in order to decide whether or not they would like to connect with you? They reside, at least in part, inside of your mission. Moreover, your mission will contain action steps that move your company forward. Add some strategic direction, vision and priorities.
Quality is defined as the standard of something as measured against other things of a similar kind; or the degree of excellence of something. In the context of branding, this comparison is represented by your know how or how capable your product or service is in contrast to those analogous to you. A major point of differentiation, quality will help you stand out as well as help you set your price or other barriers to entry.
Closely related to quality, value is an appraisal made by a consumer or colleague that is used to assist them in making a decision to connect with your brand. An amalgam of all of your brand elements, value is the importance, worth or usefulness of your brand in the eyes of the consumer. Thus, all of the thoughts, feelings, and experiences people have with your brand contribute to its value.
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How you create, manage and employ your brand is based upon all of these factors -- both emotional and intellectual. So, when crafting all parts of said brand, be sure to actively reflect on the pieces that your consumers think about innately. It is the best way for you to firmly ensconce your brand into a consumer’s mind and heart.