Today, branding is everything. Brands are not simply products or services. Brands are the sum of all the characteristics, tangible and intangible, that make a company, product, or service unique. A brand is an expression of the values of, and beliefs about, a company, product, or service. It is much more than a name or a logo: it is a way of doing business, a reputation, and an identity – it is the reason why people evangelize a company, product, or service.
Sometimes we underestimate how long brands can hold on to a negative association. In the age of the Web this is a big mistake: the Web has increased consumers’ ability to rant or rave about a company or service. Smart companies now recognize that is it necessary to rapidly respond to criticisms and are making sure their brands are consistent before and after the sale – in print, on the Web, and wherever they show up. Every about a product or service must impart a consistent brand image: lead gen materials, advertising, sales tools, customer service, even how you answer the phone should speak the same brand message.
Today, in the age of the Web, it is even more important to maintain your brand image. Think about it: with blogs, podcasts, and other new media, you must control what consumers hear and see about your product or service in many places and numerous types of media. Branding is not dead. The stories of its extinction are highly exaggerated. Branding is alive and well, and even more important, in the age of the Web.