Let's take back branding

It’s not the colors you chose. It’s not trendy typeface. It’s not three to five catchy words that get pasted below the pretty decorating that some flake calls a logo. Yeah, it’s not that logo either.

The word “branding” gets bandied about by a parade of amateurs. All this does is create confusion for businesses. Any desktop-publishing-keyboard-monkey who took a continuing education design class at the local community college now claims that they do “branding”.

Am I militant about this? Hell yes. Let me explain why.

Your brand is an incredibly valuable business asset.

A brand can be one of the most valuable business assets you create. Powerful brands have accounted for anywhere from 30% to 60% of the valuation of their companies. Because customers love brands. They will more willingly engage with these brands. And will even pay more for a brand that makes an emotional connection with them.

Companies that get branding understand this.

So what is branding?

Branding is your entire organization as seen through the eyes of the world. It’s everything from your product to your corporate giving strategy. It all ties to the larger meaning you have defined for yourself. A meaning that is at the very core of who you are. A meaning that you bring to life in what your entire organization says and does. Every day.

Branding is too important to take lightly.

Branding can have a broad, sweeping effect that can unlock tangible value for a company. That is a big responsibility. That’s why branding takes someone who knows how to help an organization (re)discover their meaning. It takes experience in working with company leadership, team members, influencers, and prospects. It takes a process that helps them understand that there is something greater to aspire to. Something that has the potential to resonate with the world. Something that may be lying dormant. Waiting to be activated. To be ignited.

This is what branding really is all about. It is a discovery that lays the foundation for something that inspires team members, customers, and more. It is the Big Audacious Meaning. It is the very soul of a company.

I get worked up by all this (if you couldn’t tell). Because branding is way more powerful than a color. Or a typeface. Or a tagline. Oh, those are tools that will help bring that brand to life. But let’s stop calling them branding on their own. And let’s stop calling any keyboard jockey who knows how to manipulate them a branding expert.

Branding is too important to leave to the amateurs. There is just too damn much potential at stake.