What exactly is a brand?

When you read about marketing, you’ll see references to a company’s “brand.” A brand is not a logo, a nationally distributed product, or a well known business or company. A brand is simply your small business’s reputation. A reputation, or a brand, is built by consistently acting or operating in a certain fashion.

When a business decides to to be upfront about a mistake it makes, it enhances its brand or reputation.

When a business decides to hide a mistake or pretend no mistake was made, it erodes its brand or reputation.

How you do business with your customers builds your reputation and brand. The message in your advertising, along with the manner in which you advertise, communicates how you do business.

Some people view business as a poker game or competition (let’s see if we can make the opponent put some more money on the table), some see business as a shell game (let’s keep things moving and maybe no one will notice that they’re not getting any value), and some people see business as a partnership between equals.

Sometimes a business owner views the activities of business one way, but communicates in his advertising something entirely different. A person who is running a shell game will probably communicate that his business is a partnership between equals, but there will be a lot of hype to distract you from seeing the truth. But very often a person who sees their business as a partnership between equals will inadvertently advertise a winner-take-all poker game.

Unless you are a new business, you already have a brand. Your brand is your reputation. Be sure you take care of it, both in business practice and in how you advertise.

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