Now that personal branding is not such a new concept, some people dismiss it as mere window dressing.
That’s happening because the term ‘brand’ is being used today to describe aspects of branding, not 'the whole enchilada.'
Here’s one example...
On Donald Trump’s reality TV show, The Apprentice, contestants challenged to create retail stores refer to their stores’ signs as their ‘branding.’ And when they produce commercials that promote the products they're assigned to market, they refer to the shots where the products’ logos appear, as their 'branding.'
Nothing could be further from the truth!
A brand’s personality, value, uniqueness, benefits, emotional appeal and ability to build loyalty can’t be attached to either a wall sign, or a few seconds of TV footage.
Another, more widespread example of the misuse of the branding term, is a growing trend in the field of Web Development. Web architects, developers and designers have begun calling their clients’ logos, their brands. And they'll call a website that displays a logo, a branded website.
But it’s not. It’s just a website with a logo.
Graphic designers and printers further twist the meaning of branding by describing what the marketing world calls 'corporate identity packages' as 'branding packages.’ These logo development packages usually include printed business cards, letterhead, envelopes, and sometimes signs.
So is a brand a sign? A logo? A website? A corporate identity package? No!
Signs, logos, websites and corporate identity packages are all elements that convey a brand’s visual identity, in the same way that a picture of Mickey Mouse conveys one of the many visual elements of the Disney brand.
It’s not until you watch a Mickey Mouse cartoon that Disney’s brand begins to display the dimensions of its personality. You can have an experience with a Mickey Mouse cartoon that brings Mickey’s personality to life. He makes you laugh and empathize with him, cheering him on through his challenges. Mickey's cartoon tells you a story and includes a moral that gives you something to think about. It entertains you and makes you feel connected to the Disney characters it featured. It might inspire you to watch another Disney cartoon, movie, or even book a holiday at a Disney Theme Park. Because that’s what a brand does. It forges an emotional connection that engages, benefits and moves you.
Here’s another example...
The experience of 'affordable indulgence' is one element of Starbucks full 360° brand that encompasses your own personal customer experience, Starbucks’ unique food and beverage selection, its store environments, menus, pricing, jargon, the baristas uniforms and service levels, the company’s public reputation, its buying practices, its supplier, customer and employee relations, and much more.
So as you can see, there’s a lot more to branding than designing a logo, or placing it on a business card, a website, a TV commercial or a sign.
Now, if you thought you had a brand, but are realizing you only have a logo, it’s time to step up your game! Get yourself a 360° Authentic Personal or Business Brand that attracts the people and opportunities that want what you’ve got, and tells them why to choose YOU!
Let’s stop the abuse of ‘brands’ and ‘branding.’ Whenever you hear someone calling their logo a 'brand,' please - set them straight!