A Guide to Branding: What is a Brand?

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. What is a brand?
  3. What is branding?
  4. What is a brand strategy?
  5. Start with ‘why?’
  6. Brand Mission Statements and examples

In a digital age where information is readily accessible, consumer choice is high. Price, quality and value for money are at the forefront of consumers’ and business owners’ minds. However, one of the most potent influences on consumer choice is often overlooked by small businesses. Your brand is your company’s most valuable asset, which separates your business from the competition. Competitors can try to replicate your product or service, they might try to beat your price, but they will struggle to mimic your brand.

Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.
Jeff Bezos, Amazon

What is a Brand?

In simple terms, your brand is the reputation of your business. The sum of every interaction you have with your customers shapes their perceptions. For instance, your last advert, the e-mail your sales rep sent, and your product packaging all contribute to how customers perceive your business.

What is Branding?

Branding is the process of shaping the identity of a business. The objective is to create a positive, memorable, and distinct brand (reputation). Like any aspect of your business, you will need a strategy to create an effective brand.

What is a Brand Strategy?

A brand strategy is the long term plan for shaping the perception of your business in line with your business objectives. Your brand strategy defines why your company exists, the experience you offer customers and the personality you present.

what how and why brand

Start with ‘Why?’

How do you begin to make a brand strategy? You can answer this by asking yourself why?

  • Why does your business matter? 
  • Why should people care? 
  • What is the goal or purpose?

Customers want companies to be transparent in their actions and follow through on promises. For this reason, your business must implement a brand strategy that reflects your purpose. Otherwise, customers will feel disillusioned and dissatisfied.

Brand Mission Statements

Here are some great examples from companies who have asked themselves ‘why?’

Understanding Nike’s Mission Statement

Let’s look at Nike’s statement to understand its objective better.

  • “If you have a body, you are an athlete.”
    Nike describes who its brand is for.
  • “Our mission is, To bring inspiration”
    Nike want people to feel inspired.
  • “To bring inspiration and innovation”
    Nike want people to think they are innovative.

Nike’s statement tells us who their product is for, how they want people to feel and what they want them to think about their company. You can call this their goal, purpose, strategy, or why. But, ultimately, the statement is how Nike want its brand to be perceived.

How does Nike inspire their customers?

  • By working with influential figures that inspire their target audience
  • “Find your greatness.” Nike’s messaging is emotive, and its marketing campaigns align with its strategy. 
  • They are socially conscious, speaking on social topics that many businesses avoid.

Nike Campaign | Kobe Bryant | Don’t Change Your Dreams
Video: Nike Youtube

How, and why, shape what you do

Nike continues to succeed because they deliver on its brand strategy. 

Your brand strategy shouldn’t be a gimmick or a brief marketing project. Your brand should be the lifeblood of your organisation, shaping what you do and how you do it.

Simon Lewis

About the author

Simon Lewis is the Head of Creative at Reach Digital. Simon’s expertise includes typography, creative thinking, visualising what’s possible and making it happen, and convincing clients that he knows what’s best for them. 

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