Communication as Branding
Author: Austin Fracchia, Sovereign|Resonance
My morning routine usually involves getting up, getting ready, having breakfast, and burying my nose in some kind of business book. Like so many other small business and startup entrepreneurs, I am constantly looking for books and articles that tell me something about my business: which business structure I should use; what services I should employ; what my market strategy should be.
Unfortunately, the resources available to us entrepreneurs can never tell us exactly what we should communicate about our businesses. The often confusing concept of a “brand” or “branding” is a perfect example. If you go onto Amazon and search for “brand”, you will find over 500,000 different books on the topic alone. Many of them promise some sort of “winning strategy” for branding, or a way to avoid the pitfalls of “unsuccessful branding”. Not a single one, however, will tell you exactly what your brand should be or say.
The process of branding is difficult in its own right. It’s a concept that few business consultants or scholars actually agree on, and yet it’s a process that we all have to go through. What should my brand be? What should it say? How will it make my business different from the competition? Somehow, if I make it past all these hurdles, I’m still left with the challenge of how to communicate my brand to the public.
Some books recommend that a brand is best communicated through your logo. In other books, the brand should be found in the very name of the business. The list of materials and strategies where your brand can surface is virtually endless, and somewhat meaningless if you start to lose focus on what you want to communicate about your business.
One thing to remember is that your brand is never going to be the results of just your own efforts. Do you think Coke started off as a brand of nostalgia? Most brands are a negotiation between the business and the public’s response. Austin McGhie’s book, “Brand Is A Four Letter Word” defines a brand as “a form of emotional shorthand for a wealth of accumulated and assumed knowledge”. Basically, it’s the product of everything you and your consumer base perceive about your business.
It’s helpful to keep this in mind when speaking about your business. Anytime you communicate something, you are contributing to the shape of your brand. Communication itself becomes the process that people often consider to be “branding”. The things you say about your business contribute to the brand. Likewise, everything your customers or potential customers say also contributes to the brand.
So when speaking about your business, or even figuring out what to say, remember the important aspects about your business that will contribute to this emotional shorthand. Be clear about your market position, and the mission/value of your business. Speak to the personality and character you intend for your business and the product or service. In doing so, you will naturally shaping the very thing that puts many entrepreneurs off, the brand of your business.
About the Author
Austin Fracchia is a communication consultant, and owner of the Colorado-based digital boutique, Sovereign|Resonance. When he isn’t looking up English translations for Greek and Latin rhetorical terms, he’s putting theory into practice with his own entrepreneurial adventures. With a background in speech and communication, he approaches business and advertising with an eye on the medium and message. Most importantly, he tries to keep the entrepreneurial process fun and rewarding, especially when the process is anything but.