There is a big difference between what we knew and learned a few years ago about branding and what branding is today.
The concept is also different from one person to another, depending on the main object it applies to. For example, branding from a designer perspective is quite different than branding from a marketing perspective. This is true, even if we talk about branding in marketing terms only. If you are a SEO professional or a Content Marketing professional, you will see branding from a very different perspective.
It’s interesting to observe how a social media manager is talking about a brand and how a search engine marketer is related to a brand.
So what’s the deal with branding? Why are we still talking about branding if it’s so different?
These days, it seems that everybody talks about branding, branded content, personal brand and other terms that can be related to “brand” as a concept. However, to be more clear with you – i’d rather say that there is no right answer to what a brand is.
The way we viewed and defined branding a few years ago (before the internet era) is way more different that what we knew as branding only 5 years ago and what is branding today. Even if we still point out a few ideas about visual identity, brand communication, missions, visions, storytelling and other factors, we are still able to find out differences in our perspective.
Brand is a verb!
And verbs require that organizations, cultures, communities and people act, create, work, do something, anything.
The Brand makes the difference in an over saturated market.
Here is a short example.
Before I decided to guest post on other websites, I had to create content on the websites that allowed me to easily do it. I needed the content in order to show all the editors that yes, I can create value for them. Therefore, that was one of the main reasons I wrote on my personal blog and also, on our company’s blog. Thus, before I went “out” and contact the editors, I already had a few long form content and high quality articles that generated hundreds and thousands of page views. I didn’t do the work just to create a brand. I did it so I can take it to the next level. So, after a few hard working months, after publishing my content on my own website and other places where I could easily get published, I got out of my comfort zone and tried to connect with other editors. I told them about who I am, what I am doing, showing them my work and asking them if they are ok with the idea of publishing my works as a guest author on their websites. Their answers were positive, because they were already able to see my content, my ideas and my work.
My brand was defined by the work I put down into web content.
I strongly believe that my personal brand is still defined by my work (or at least I want so).
But you see, many people are hearing about this idea that if you want to really make a difference on the market, you have to build a brand.
And they are “building” a brand just to make that difference. And they are working hard to create a beautiful looking website, a Facebook Page or an Instagram account where they publish daily content; they are launching YouTube channels or writing blog posts willing to make a difference in the market, or to be more accurate, in order “to create a brand”.
If you really want to create a brand, then start making people’s lives easier. Create products, services (even if it’s a podcast or a blog) that answer questions raised by a certain topic. Build a bridge between the answer and the question.
If you only talk about your brand, it doesn’t mean that you have a brand. It only means that you just talk about something you have.
Now, let’s get back to our first question – is branding important today?
Yes – when you create a product that is able to optimize or better people’s lives.
No – when you create a product just for the sake of having something to brag about.
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Brand and Communication Manager
"Content isn’t king. Usefulness is. Robert does this in the online marketing and social media space with ease."