In off-line situations, ad specialty concerns will advise prospects that putting their name and logo on pens or mouse pads will “brand” them. Nonsense – branding is not the same as exposure of your name. I see many now claiming on the Internet that “branding is name exposure”.
Branding is really an unchanging and on-going communications of a company’s pledge to customers given in a way that differentiates the company from its competitors. It includes elements as diverse as names and logos, color palettes, trade dress, ads, websites, newsletters, sales pitches, customer relations, phone banks, annual reports – the list is unlimited. And, yes, it can involve a business’s social presence through social media and its blog.
Branding also is based upon knowing the target market well enough to create a consistent personality at each “touchpoint” in which the company will connect with its target markets.
In addition, the brand needs to match the true “personality” of the company. If it doesn’t, plausibility is lost very quickly, especially in the age of immediate messaging and social networks.
Building a brand will take more than an automated system. It is first a strategic activity – i.e., an exercise in “what do you want to be when you grow up?” Only then can an organization – even a one-person, part-time Internet online marketer – establish a meaningful and sustainable brand.