What is branding?

Ever been in a situation like networking activities, a business conference, talking to your entrepreneur friends, or simply scrolling through your social media apps where there is a lot of business jargon going on, hearing new business terms come up, not really knowing what some of them mean?

Then some “expert” or “guru” says every brand needs to do BRANDING, that it is one of the cornerstones of any business, but not really going deep about it, what it means, what it does, how do I start. Some others may say the opposite, that BRANDING is unnecessary, that it is a luxury, so the question What exactly is Branding? may arise.

Defining what a Brand is

While doing some research on the topic, one usually stumbles upon definitions of what BRAND is, not really defining BRANDING as such, and the definitions for it may not seem totally in sync, but defining what a Brand is can be a starting point.

Marty Neumeier, an American author, speaker, and much more, with a long trajectory in the design and branding business, whose books are a must for open-minded business people and those who are in the creative field. In one of his books “The Brand Gap”, Neumeier talks about and defines what a “Brand” is, saying that “A brand is a result. It’s a customer’s gut feeling about a product, service, or company. It’s not what you say it is, it’s what they say it is. A brand is your reputation.”

Jeff Bezos, known businessman, and founder of Amazon, says “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room”.

Many more definitions from either business and branding people of what a Brand is can be found, what they have in common is what is interesting, summarizing, they all talk about a Brand as a kind of mark, reputation or perception if you will, it leaves in their clients, audience and spectators.

Also, doing some research on where the word comes from, calls for attention that it comes from the Proto-Germanic “brandaz”, that means a burning, and also from the Old Norse “brandr”, which roughly translates to “to mark something”, as it was used to refer to the marks left on ceramics and livestock to identify proprietorship, the latter being an ongoing practice used on farms and such.

See now that it all refers to a mark that is left on something, nowadays translated to the perception and/or reputation a business leaves on people, a more metaphysical mark, is the impression left on our audience.

So, what is Branding?

With the information that has been given, if converted into action, to brand, would be the act of leaving a mark or impression on something or someone, so “branding”, refers to an action that is taking place, now, adding business + design + communication into context, it becomes a discipline which purpose is to leave a desired impression on the public.

Branding can also be defined as a discipline that acts as the governing entity that oversees and defines certain aspects of a brand so it can communicate accurately and intentionally to its audience to obtain a desired outcome, it does so through the use of various tools, techniques, that contain strategy, research, creativity, planning, objective definition and more, that deepens the understanding of market, business and public altogether, allowing for more educated choice making, that results in the bridge between a brand and its public.

So, just like a Brand isn’t its logo, Branding is not just the aesthetics of a brand, or how “pretty” it makes things, although it is part of it, Branding actually gives life to a brand making it more attractive and empatizing. Branding helps as a guide for all communication, visual and nonvisual, spoken and nonspoken, written and physical as well as an experience, as a brand has to be clear and consistent so it can be understood as intended.

Hope this article and its content was helpful in understanding a little better what Branding is about.

Branding is the conscious act of communicating deliberately to an audience in a way that facilitates a brand to be perceived as intended.

Care to share?