What Is Branding?


Our definition: The process of shaping, communicating, and reinforcing a business’ unique identity.

Official definition: “The promotion of a particular product or company by means of advertising and distinctive design” (Oxford American English Dictionary).

Origins: Until the 1800s, to brand meant to cauterize a wound or stigmatize a criminal.

Branding is not:

  • Superficial. Branding is not lipstick for business. It’s more like your business’ personal style, an external, carefully crafted representation of who you are.
  • Optional. Every business has a brand, whether or not they like it. If you don’t do the work to take control of the branding process, your brand will be determined by customer opinion and chance.
  • Marketing. While branding and marketing should be intimately related, branding is more about the company than the customer. Branding must answer the question, “What kind of company does a product represent?” Marketing is turning toward the customer to ask, “What need does the product fill? How will the product reach the customer?”