Branding is the marketing practice of actively shaping your brand. That’s the basic definition, but there is so much more that goes into it.

Branding is what your business needs to break through the clutter and grab your ideal customer’s attention. It’s what transforms first-time buyers into lifetime customers and turns an indifferent audience into brand evangelists. It’s what you need to stand out, make an impact and take your business to the next level.

In other words, if you want your business to succeed, branding is non-negotiable.

But why, exactly, is branding so important? What does it entail? And how do you brand your business in a way that’s going to have a real impact on your audience? In this article, we’re going to explore what branding is and how your business can reap its benefits in the most effective way.

What does branding mean?

Branding has been around since 350 A.D and is derived from the word “Brandr”, meaning “to burn” in Ancient Norse language. By the 1500s, it had come to mean the mark that ranchers burned on cattle to signify ownership—a precursor of the modern logo.

Yet branding today is so much more than just a look or a logo. It has come to signify the emotional “gut feeling” reaction a company can elicit from its customers.

Your brand is the set of perceptions people have about your company. But branding is the set of actions you take to cultivate that brand.

In other words, your brand is a noun, but branding is a verb. When you design a logo, that’s branding. When you develop your brand voice, that’s branding. When you get together with your marketing team to brainstorm an ad campaign, that’s branding.

Any action you take to shape your brand is, in a nutshell, branding.

Why is branding so important?

Branding is important because it:

Helps you stand out from the competition. It doesn’t matter what kind of company you have, what industry you’re in, or what type of customer you’re after—if you’re in business, you’ve got some serious competition. Branding helps you establish the ways in which you’re different, special, and unique. And it shows your customers why they should work with you instead of your competitors.
Builds brand recognition. If you want to build a successful brand, you need to be recognizable. The right branding (including designing an impactful logo, website, and other brand assets) helps you carve out a distinct style, and it increases your brand recognition in the market.
Creates a consistent brand experience for your customers. In order for your business to succeed, you need to provide a consistent experience for your customers however they interact with your brand—whether that’s through your website, at an in-person event or by following your social media accounts. Branding allows you to control how people perceive and experience your brand—and you can ensure that perception and experience stays consistent across all your brand touchstones.
Sparks a connection with your audience and turns that audience into loyal customers. The most successful businesses are the ones that foster an emotional connection with their audience. That emotional connection is what transforms a prospect into a customer and a customer into a brand enthusiast. And how do you create and build that connection? Branding. Different branding strategies (like packing an emotional punch with your brand voice or leveraging color psychology when designing your logo) can help you connect with your audience on a deeper level and create a sense of loyalty to your brand.

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