Decades ago, branding was defined as a name, slogan, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of these elements, that distinguish one company, product, or service from another. Today, branding is more complex and even more important. Branding not only creates loyal customers, but it also creates loyal employees. A quality brand gives people something to believe in and something to stand behind. It helps employees understand the purpose of the organization they work for. They feel like they’re a part of something significant and not just a cog in a wheel.

To succeed in branding, you must understand the needs and wants of your customers and prospects. You can achieve this by integrating your brand strategies throughout your company at every point of public contact. Think of branding as though your company or organization were a living, breathing person. Imagine this person explaining who they are, why they’re valuable, and what they specifically have to offer. As consumers begin to identify with you, your brand will live in the hearts and minds of customers, clients, and prospects, and they’ll connect on an emotional level.

In developing a strategic marketing plan, your brand serves as a guide to understanding the purpose of your key business objectives and enables you to align the plan with those objectives. Branding doesn’t just count during the time before the purchase—the brand experience has to last to create customer loyalty. Your brand is the source of a promise to your consumer. If you’re billing yourself as the manufacturer of the longest-lasting light bulb, your brand has to live up to that. It’s important to spend time researching, defining, and building your brand.

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