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Terracom Tips

This Thing Called Branding
Christine Esposito, President, Terracom Public Relations

The following is an excerpt from an article Christine wrote for "Illinois Parks & Recreation" magazine.

They're words you hear in meetings, conferences, advertisements -- even on the street. Here's a rundown of what some common branding terms mean.

Brand. A set of promises, or benefits, that an organization delivers consistently over time. Consistent customer experience is key -- break your promise; harm your brand. Because your brand is built and resides in your customer's mind, you don't own your brand. Your customer does.

Brand Identity. What you want your brand to be. It must be realistic, based on the type of organization you are.

Brand Image. Your customers' and prospects' perceptions of your organization. Your brand image might not match your brand identity. The more you know about your customers, the more the two can coincide.

Brand Symbols. Your logo, colors and other recognizable representations of your brand. High-profile examples include the Nike "swoosh" and Verizon's "Can you hear me now?" guy. A common misconception is that an organization's brand consists of its logo, brochures, ads and other visual communications. While these help convey the brand and should be consistent with it, the brand extends well beyond them.

Resonate. Making your customers and prospects feel like "This is an organization for people like me." You need to resonate with your customers to build your brand. It requires knowing as much about your customer as possible.

Touchpoints. The many ways and places your customers and prospects experience your product, service or organization. They are your facilities, employees, website, publicity, voice-mail system, signs, mailings, events, programs and more. Ideally, every touchpoint consistently delivers the promises of your brand.

Even if you aren’t aware of it, you have a brand. Companies have brands. Nonprofits have brands. Units of local government have brands. Even people have brands. The more consistently they deliver on their promises, the stronger their brands.

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