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Steven R. Van Hook

Fundamental Basics of Branding
Getting to the heart of making yourself known.
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 by Steven R. Van Hook, PhD

Steven R. Van HookSome say the primary purpose of advertising and marketing communitions is
to advance your company brand, a program theme or slogan, or even the personal brand of *you*.

Branding can be considered the graviational center of much of our work as business communicators. Much of what we write has to do with increasing brand awareness, and boosting our brand value and competitiveness in the marketplace.

Branding is typically achieved through our efforts in marketing, advertising, public relations, direct contatc -- just about any means where you can get your image and message out to the general public, a targeted audience, or a single person.

Here is a standard textbook definition:

A brand is any name, term sign, symbol, or design intended to differentiate the goods or serves of one seller from those of another.

In other words, what is so special about you? What makes you so different from everyone else?

Here is a noteworthy quote on the value of a strong brand name:


And that gets to the heart of what branding is all about. What we are striving for as brand-builders is to create a relationship with our customers or our target audience, so their life feels more complete because we are in it.

We should note there is a difference between brand value and company value. The brand value is how much the brand itself and alone is worth -- not counting production lines, distribution routes, supplies and resources.

This value is measured by how much public good will you have for your product or service, and how much more returns you can expect simply based on the value of your brand.

Of course you can brand companies, products and services. You might also create brands for organizations, and for social programs and their associated messages such as Please Don't Litter.

Politcal parties are also a brand of a sort, with their associated causes and positions.

And consider that you -- yourself -- are a brand. Your name is assoicated with what you are; your stock value can rise or fall to an employer; people can like you more or less, according to how well you maintain your brand value.

Be sure to watch the video below to see more concepts of branding at work.

Fundamental Branding Basics

You can find more articles on fundamentals of marketing and communications on pages here, and on our sister website

And visit our YouTube video libraries on Communications & Business, and Personal Development.

Steven Van Hook has taught MBA and undergraduate marketing 
and communications courses for colleges and universities in the 
United States and abroad for more than a decade, and has 
developed more than a dozen courses with an international focus.

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