What Isn't Branding?

“Branding.” You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

I hate the term branding. I use the word “hate” too often but I really hate the term branding.

It’s a vague buzzword for many people.

What are you branding? What’s the brand? The product? The company? You?

Kleenex is a brand but the company (or brand, depending on who you are) that manufactures Kleenex is Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, Inc.

Some think it’s your logo.

Remember how the internet got their panties in a bunch when Starbucks and Gap changed their logos a few years back. That was rough for those companies. Did you change your shopping habits after their logo change?

Your logo is not your brand.

People focus on the wrong thing.

I used to do a lot of work with real estate agents. They would drive me nuts talking about their brand.

Real estate agents are brainwashed with the idea they had to have their picture on their business card. “That’s my brand!” And, the photo is the same pose as every other agent out there.

Some would wrap their cars with their name and big smiling face. They had a clever slogan like, “Service with a smile.” What the hell does that mean?

This is my favorite. My brand is “I’m the blue shirt guy.”

Yes. Really. I kid you not.

A mortgage broker giving a presentation to a group of real estate agents said his brand is that he wears a blue shirt.

He’s the “blue shirt” guy. He has the same blue button up shirt in all of his photos. And whenever you meet him he’s wearing the same blue shirt.

I wonder if he thinks I damaged his brand by wearing a blue shirt that day? I still don’t remember his name.

That isn’t branding.

If I were to ask you, “What are you in business for? What do you want to accomplish?” What would your answer be?

Provide great service?

Help customers?

Save the world with your revolutionary widget?


Business is about selling.

It’s about attracting, converting, and retaining customers.

Your brand is a part of, and a result of, this process. That’s how you should be concerned about your brand.

Does it help you sell? Does it help you attract, convert, and retain customers?

That is all.

It's not "branding" but it will help you attract, convert, and retain new clients:
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