CHANNEL PARTNERS CONFERENCE & EXPO — Branding is a science; it isn’t marketing. Understand the difference between the two and you can shape the way the word sees your company.
Why? Because brands are a perception. A brand isn’t something that you can point to, such as a logo.
“Branding lives in the minds of your customers and your employees. It’s a powerful thing,” Brian Lischer, founder and CEO, Ignyte, a branding agency that specializes in brand strategy, identity and storytelling, shared Wednesday with attendees at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo. “Perceptions are reality and perceptions are malleable; they can be shaped.”
Take how colors are perceived, for example. The color blue evokes feelings of confidence, trust and reliability. Red inspires expertise and reliability. Branding is the practice of shaping perceptions.
So, what does branding have to do with all the doom and gloom you hear about the channel? Lischer says it’s an opportunity.
“Fundamental industry shifts like the ones you’re experiencing are an opportunity. And, one of the best ways to take advantage of that opportunity is with the power of branding,” he said. Brands help companies attract the ideal customer, differentiate your business, enable you to close more deals, command higher prices, attract top talent and boost business value.
What is the basic concept of a brand?
It’s something called brand framework, which is based on research and strategy, and includes the fundamental elements of your brands. There are multiple layers in a comprehensive framework —for example, the brand compass, which includes your purpose, vision, mission and values; your brand positioning such as your value proposition, competitive advantage, and brand promise, brand personality; brand name; brand identity; and touch points – those are your business cards, website and collateral materials, signage, etc.
Brands influence both negative buying behavior and positive buying behavior. Again, it’s all about shaping perception. Think about Apple, considered a premium brand product — the company purposefully built high quality into their brand experience.
“Every single one of their touch points have been architected to evoke quality — from packaging to their in-store experience,” Lischer said. “Over time, they shape customer perceptions, and people are willing to pay premium prices for their products.”
This is why it’s important to understand the difference between brand and marketing.
Branding is more than a tactic.
“It’s a long-term strategy that delivers measurable returns throughout the life of your company,” said Lischer.