Ever typed "branding" into Google? Did you run away in tears after seeing the results and the varying array of opinions?
It can be daunting. Maybe you're an entrepreneur, small business owner, marketer, or non-profit. Or maybe you're just an individual. In any incarnation, you are either the brand itself or helping to build and cultivate it over time.
I always like to discuss marketing as the heart of a truly successful organization. The best of the best in the world (call them Fortune 500 or just call them smart) understand this intrinsically. They know marketing must not be accommodated but built from, through and around.
Part of marketing is the brand. And even deeper are all the components, nuts, and bolts that bring a brand to life.
I came across the term Brand Charter in an Inc. article about maintaining brand consistency across product lines (highly intelligent read). It was a term I hadn't heard of before, but I instantly gravitated to the idea of a charter that wholly integrates all aspects of the brand.
Components of a Brand
Brand / Brand Identity -- the name, logo, sign, slogan and/or design that relates the key differentiating components of a product or service
Brand Personality -- the differentiating factors as related through relevance, esteem, value and humanization of the brand (often highly debated term)
Brand Message -- the communication of the brand via creative and consistent messaging across all media channels
Brand Promise -- the proposition of what the brand intends to deliver to the target audience
Brand Recognition -- the awareness of the brand in the marketplace
Brand Perception -- how the target audience understands and relates to the brand, whether positive or negative; it defines the brand's reputation in the marketplace
Brand Loyalty -- the target's allegiance or commitment to the brand as demonstrated by willingness to repurchase and advocate for the brand
Brand Equity -- the value added to a product or service via association with a well-known brand
The Brand Charter
There are a variety of subtleties in the terms I've outlined above. This is where things get muddy and confusing and complicated. But what you should be taking away from this is that these components must work together and feed the same purpose.
They encompass the Brand Charter which is, in essence, the overarching strategy, purpose and objective of the brand. It is why it exists, what it exists to achieve and how it communicates that to the target audience.
It is vital to note that a brand is not just a logo or a slogan or a name (these embody the visualization of the brand) -- a well thought-out brand is clear, relevant, consistent, and engaging across all points of contact.
What the Brand Charter is for me is the ideal place to start. It is where a brand can germinate and be born. You start at the base, build the strategy, and then give the brand a voice, an image and a message.
You put it down in writing. Those words will breathe life into the brand and, like any charter, constitute the founding principles and function of the entity being defined. The Brand Charter is meant for definition, future reference and ongoing brand evolution.
Don't shy away, embrace the brand. And make the branding process a core part of your marketing.