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Regardless of what industry you are working in, branding will always play an integral role for the success of your business. But what exactly does ‘branding’ mean? Isn’t it the same as marketing?

The differentiation between the two concepts is actually one of the biggest misunderstandings many people have about the two fields. While similar within their trades, branding and marketing are two completely different sectors. When we talk about marketing, we are talking about the action or business of promoting and selling various products and services. In comparison, branding is simply your promise to your customer. It tells the general public what they can expect from your company and what you offer outside of your competitors. In itself, your brand identifies your company. It gives your company a presence of how you want to be perceived and how you want to be viewed.

Just think about some of the great brands out there right now. In the early 90s, Apple Inc., was seen as just another computer company. But through innovative products and strategic marketing, Apple Inc., today is seen as one of the biggest innovators within the 21st century. As much as we can associate them with laptops and computers, we also have to accompany their name with other industries outside of the tech world such as entertainment and music. While Apple Inc., was able to reinvent themselves, this was, in itself, not an easy task. Instead, it took a lot of innovative products and various marketing strategies to get them in the right direct outside of the computer and tech bubble.

So the million-dollar question comes down to this: How to do you establish a strong brand for your company?

Now the foundation of your brand all begins with a logo. From your websites to the packaging and promotional materials of your products, your logo needs to communicate and integrate the overall message you are trying to send to your customers. With Nike, they derived their ‘swoosh’ from the Winged Victory of Samothrace, a 2nd century BC Hellenistic marble sculpture that prominently displays the Winged Goddess of Victory taking flight and action. But for your logo to be prominently displayed as a symbol or a phrase, you need to think outside of the design. Instead, identify your targeted market and demographic. Ask yourself what your customers are looking to see when they see your brand on your street. More importantly, identify the overall message you want them to associate with your brand. For Nike, they wanted a symbol that identified strength, victory, and action. Because of this, they were able to utilize the Greek sculpture as a vessel for their own branding product. For your startup, you want to do the same thing and identify that message that you want to identify with the general public.

Next, start evaluating your logo and brand by analyzing them with your competitors’. By researching and analyzing other brands, especially within your marketing sector, you can learn a lot more about the industry, the studies, and the ideas that they are presenting to the general public. Be sure to note what their logos look like and how they associate their logos their message. Lastly, make sure you note and identify how each logo differs from one another. This will allow you to create and establish a unique brand that can capture the attention of your intended market.

Once that is all done, make sure you run your brand through various controlled groups and studies. This will allow you to gain more of an insight on the public’s thoughts for your brand of your startup. You can even go as far and share with your friends and family. The more information you get, the more ideas you can utilize for your campaign.