We hear so much about branding these days, it’s become a buzz word. What does branding really mean? Is it all about a logo, a tag line, a recognizable photo image? Indeed, all of these things are a part of branding, but true branding encompasses so much more. A student at the School of Visual Arts gathered 100 professional opinions or definitions of branding which may stimulate our thinking about this most important aspect of marketing. http://branding.sva.edu/what-is-branding )
Branding is the overall feeling people have about what you are marketing. It is their “gut feeling”, and you should be very intentional in creating the desired response to your service, product or organization. Keep in mind, it is not what YOU say or intend them to feel; it is actually what CONSUMERS feel, and how they interpret your message.
Marketing / branding and selling are not the same. If you can build a powerful brand you will enhance a powerful marketing program. These two concepts – marketing and branding – are so inextricably linked that it’s impossible to separate them. Marketing is brand building.
Marketing has growing importance with the increased use of the internet for reviewing or purchasing. Today most products are bought, not sold. Our customers have searched the internet, visited our website, and sought out reviews before ever gracing the thresholds of our communities. Therefore, it is important to create the perception that we desire before we even meet our customer. Branding pre‐sells the product or service to the user. Branding is simply a more efficient way to sell things, particularly in today’s electronic environment. The power of a brand ultimately lies in its ability to influence purchasing behavior.
Eliciting the proper feelings can be difficult because your target market differs. Strategic thinkers tend to be analytical, logical, linear, numerical and verbal. Creative thinkers are intuitive, emotional, spatial, visual and physical. A good branding effort will appeal to both types of individuals or create an appeal that requires both sides to work together.
The first building block of creating an effective brand is mastering the five disciplines of branding: Differentiate, Collaborate, Innovate, Validate, and Cultivate. We will delve into those next steps in next week’s blog.
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About the Author
Patty Scotten is a consultant with Retirement DYNAMICS® and serves as their marketing manager. Patty has over twenty five years’ experience in the senior living industry and has led several communities in preselling expansions or increasing occupancy levels. She graduated from Elon University and holds a Masters Degree from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Patty is licensed as both an assisted living and nursing home administrator.