So many people don’t seem to understand what branding actually is.

Branding is NOT a logo.

It is NOT a font.

It is NOT a colour scheme.

Does it include all of those things? Yes. More or less. But if branding is all of those things and none of those things, then what in the hell is branding?

Here’s my two cents.

Branding is your reputation. That’s all it is. Branding is what you put forward combined with what people take in.

Now the visual representation of your brand, such as logos and fonts and colours, has an absolute impact on the way people think about you.

Let’s say you’re a global consulting conglomerate. You have offices throughout the globe. You do work on multiple continents. Maybe your logo is a globe. Maybe it’s a globe and a light bulb, merged together. That might work for your brand. That might work for your audience.

But if you own a bakery that serves a small neighborhood, maybe a giant blue globe isn’t the best image to put out there. It’s your reputation. Is your reputation about what you do for the community around you, how you interact with people, or your place in the global marketplace?

If your visuals and your actions don’t line up, you have a problem.

If you are using impersonal colours and images for a business that works in close-knit communities, you have a problem.

If you’re using warm and fuzzy colours and themes and you’re a global business superpower, you have a problem.

Your branding is what YOU WANT your reputation to be. But we can’t control what people do with the information we provide them. We can’t change people’s minds without changing the information we’re putting out there.

And people have a pretty good bullshit detector. So you can try to present yourself as a small town business all you want. You can use the right colours and the right fonts and choose a friendly logo. But if you don’t answer the phone, send impersonal messages, and don’t represent that to people when it counts…

You’re done.

When businesses rebrand themselves, there’s often a mistake that they make.

They rebrand themselves based on how they WANT to be seen. They don’t include their customers and clients and fans and followers in the process. If you want to know what people actually think about you, ask. Maybe all you need to do is change your visual game because people think you’re something that you’re not. Maybe changing your actual image will put you in front of the right eyes.

But. And it’s a big but.

If the problem isn’t how you look, but what you’re doing, it doesn’t matter how many times you change your logo.

People just don’t like you.

Branding and reputation SHOULD be the same thing. When they don’t match, you’ve got a problem.

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