by Allison Carter

Branding is an incredibly hard concept to define. Not because it’s complicated, but because people like to throw self-aggrandizing puffery and  empty words like “synergy,” it becomes a thing of unfathomable mystery.

Contrary to popular belief, a brand is not simply a logo. Seth Godin has a long, but clear definition:

A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another. If the consumer (whether it’s a business, a buyer, a voter or a donor) doesn’t pay a premium, make a selection or spread the word, then no brand value exists for that consumer.”

Ultimately, building a brand is about differentiating yourself from your competitors who provide similar goods or services. Take a look at Target and Wal-Mart: both are big box retailers. They both sell roughly the same merchandise. Yet their brands are vastly different. Target is hip and trendy, while Wal-Mart is the champion of the working man and moms everywhere.

Don’t limit your branding efforts to just a logo. Work to build a bond and a story with customers, and show them why your company will fit their needs better than any other.

Stop limiting your branding efforts to your logos and physical appearances–you need to tell consumers a story that will make them pick you over dozens of similar competitors.