Your business image is something that can easily be weakened – or strengthened – with a single social media post, live video or even a keynote talk. In this article, we’ll examine some of the actions you can take that will help you build a reputation that can withstand the test of time – or even a few misguided posts or appearances.
Let’s start with understanding the key to a successful business image: branding. We like to think that to figure out what something is, we have to start by looking at what it’s not.
Branding is Not…
- What people think about you when you’re not in the room.
- Website design.
- A logo.
- Your products and services.
- The emotions people feel when they think of you and your business.
Technically, it’s all of those things – but how do you provide one unified definition? Especially since one doesn’t already exist? Well, we have a definition – and it’s been spreading like wildfire ever since we came up with it!
Branding is a mix of two things – identity and perception – master them both, and you’ll master your business image.
It’s essentially who your business is (we like to think of businesses as living, breathing entities) and who people think it is. If there’s a gap between identity and perception, you have to execute a rebranding process to make sure your audience perceives your business in the correct way. Speaking of rebranding, true expert status lies in understanding the 4 other concepts that people so often confuse – rebranding, positioning, marketing, and advertising. Let’s get into them right now and see exactly how they differ from one anther.
Rebranding occurs when you shift the way you present your business to the public. The rebranding can affect your visual identity (design) or your messaging (or both). It usually affects the messaging of the brand in order to more competitively position it in the marketplace. Rebranding is not difficult – as long as you know what you’re doing. There are different types of rebranding depending on what brought up the need for it in the first place – inconsistent messaging, a shift in product offerings, a change of targeting, etc.
Positioning is a part of branding – it’s the perception part, which directly affects your business image. Think of it as the space you own in your audience’s minds. What’s the first thing that pops up in their minds when they think of your business/see you on a stage, on a live video, on an interview? That’s how you’re positioned. The famous saying everybody uses, by Jeff Bezos “branding is what people say about you when you’re not in the room” is great, but it mostly defines positioning, not branding – it’s superficial and incomplete. I
If you’re wondering when branding comes into the picture – ideally, as soon as you start your business (although, sadly, most people don’t implement it at that point). Running a business without a clear brand identity will be disastrous to your business image and, eventually, your revenue, because it will confuse your audience – and confused people don’t buy.
Business Image: The Difference Between Branding, Marketing, and Advertising
The simplest possible way to understand these three concepts is to think of them in relation to the message you’re trying to share with the world – as business is not just about sales. It’s about what you’re really selling – is it self-expression? Confidence? Nostalgia? Bravery? Make sure you know this.
- Branding is: defining your message
- Marketing is: sharing that message with the world
- Advertising is: sharing that message with the right people.
Most answers people will give you to “What is branding?” are correct, but they only offer a small piece of what branding really is, not the whole picture. If you don’t have a proper brand strategy mapped out and you don’t follow it every single day in your business, we can guarantee you will at some point find yourself lost or in a plateau. It may also be the reason why you’re not making consistent sales yet. All of our clients have been through that stage, which is why they come to us.
Every single person has a brand already – the question is – are you managing it properly, strategically and to your benefit?
In over 90% of the cases, the answer is no – and that’s okay – as long as you do something about it now. For our founder, Des, rebranding herself and properly mapping out everything transformed her business and enabled it to get to six figures in revenue in only a few months back in the day.
Whatever you do, make sure you don’t confuse branding with website design. Your visual identity is only a small piece of a brand strategy and even though it’s important for your business image and a piece you should perfect, internal branding comes first.
Make sure you know what your brand strategy should consist of before you start working on your business image!