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3 concepts in brand building

June 08, 2014

From a business perspective, what is branding?

We know that from an agricultural and livestock perspective, it is the marking of animals to indicate ownership or pedigree. The branding of animals began centuries ago and over the course of time was extended to paper as watermarks, silver and other products to indicate manufacturer. These became known as some of the first trademarks and were referred to as their brand. Thus, branding could be considered building an identity for your business, or creating a mark that becomes synonymous with your business.

 

There are three basic concepts in branding. The first step is creating the brand. A lot of thought, if not research, should go into this phase. The idea is to develop a word, image, or both that provides meaning to the consumer and creates recognition of your business.

Some large companies will spend thousands, even millions of dollars on creating a brand. The 2012 London Olympics logo cost over $600,000 to create. The BBC in 1997 spent $1.8 million on its logo.

Some companies have spent little on logos. Twitter bought its original logo from iStockphoto for $15. In 1971, it cost Nike co-founder Phil Knight $35 for its famous swoosh logo. He purchased it from a graphic design student after learning the student needed money to buy oil paints. There are those companies that design their own logos such as Microsoft, Google and Coca-Cola.

The second step in branding is building the brand. This is where you actually begin to build value and meaning for the consumer. It is something that is part tangible and part intangible.

Consumers will begin to associate your brand with your product or service when they identify the logo on your product. It is visual and the product is tangible. The intangible involves feelings. Did the customer have a good shopping experience, or did they have a great shopping experience? Did the product meet their expectations, or did it exceed their expectations? What was the after-the-sale experience like for the customer? For some companies, the intangible does more for building the brand than the tangible.

The third concept in branding is protecting it. You are your own policeman when it comes to protecting your brand. It may be as simple as monitoring the use of your business name to ensure no one else uses the same name or one too similar. It may be that you have built your business reputation to a point that you feel the need to register the business name or logo with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Either way, it will be up to you to protect it.

There is a wealth of information available regarding logo and brand design. As mentioned above, there is a lot to consider. Even the colors you choose are important because each color is associated with certain feelings and emotions. That applies to the visual brand — the tangible brand. It is up to you and the culture you create within your company to build the intangible brand that will provide the value to the logo — or tangible brand.

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    James Leavelle, Certified Business Advisor

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