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Branding: Cutting Through the Buzzword Clutter

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In Her Shoes Guest Contributor: Ashley Stewart of

You know what? The world of branding, marketing, and advertising has become, in my eyes at least, a giant cluster of amazing. This is largely due in part to social media. The dilemma with being surrounded by a giant cluster of awesomeness is it’s easy for misinformation and misunderstanding to occur. So, I tapped Renae to allow me to tackle one of the biggest mix-ups that you will find in this cluster.

If you’re up for it, keep scrolling and let’s get down to the root of things. We are going to cut through the bullsh*t and buzzwords of “branding” with a one, two, three, four combo.

1. Perception = Brand
Girl! The words “brand” and “business” are not necessarily terms that should be used interchangeably. Since the boom of social media and the influx of knowledge bearers and sharers, I’ve witnessed the two words and their definitions begin to flow into each other.

Now, let’s meet Forbes, our Moses for this discussion. beautifully says, “Your ‘brand’ is what your prospect thinks of when he or she hears your brand name…Your brand name exists objectively; people can see it. It’s fixed. But your
brand exists only in someone’s mind.”

Did you feel the mist of the waters parting as that knowledge was laid down straight? Okay! Slick down your edges and let’s continue.

2. Vision = Business

My good friend Merriam-Webster says, “Business is purposeful activity, usually commercial or mercantile, engaged in as a means of livelihood.” What we can gather from this lovely definition is, your business is your purpose/vision.

So, let’s put it all together. Your business is YOUR vision, while your brand is how OTHERS see it. Catch that. Got it? Good.

3. Brand+ing ( It’s a verb, it’s what you DO to answer WHO?)
I can remember my mother always reminding me to “take care” when it came to my appearance outside of my home. Even now, I can see her adorning her fingers with rings, lining her eyes with the blackest kohl, fanning out her lashes with the best mascara EVER, and brushing her hair into the perfect position whenever it was time for her to make an appearance.

These are the visions I immediately recall when someone asks me “what branding is”. Branding is the actual crafting and assignment of differentiation and perception. Simply put, branding is how you present yourself to be perceived. It is everything that your vision is in the minds of the audience.

In 2015, branding is composed of the following things:

brand strategy
brand narrative
brand identity
brand collateral
and the sensory attributes of your digital + offline scenes

All of these make up, what we like to call at The Patent Pump, brand experience –
the art and design of how someone encounters your vision.

4. The Do’s & Don’ts of Branding

Let’s not put branding in a box, or consider it in black and white. Rather, here are
some suggestions when it comes to thinking about branding tactics:

Do think your brand is alive and has a pulse.

Your brand must interact with highly sensory human beings who feel, see, smell, taste, and hear. To not consider your brand as a living entity could prove to be a huge misstep. Why? Because the first gate that most humans must pass through in any process of choice is identity. Going back to how we are sensory beings, when encountering new things we most always consider how something looks, feels, tastes, sounds, and smells before making a decision to engage with it. The more appealing your brand experience is to their senses, the more your target audience will want to interact with it. If they’re completely blown away by all facets, they’ll want to interact again. Fact.

Don’t limit or restrict your thinking when it comes to business.

Sometimes, you have to think outside of the box to get many things accomplished. I think we all can agree on that. However, sometimes this “outside-the-box” thinking may require you to reevaluate an already established plan to accomplish your goals effectively. Don’t restrict yourself to a course of action that may be falling apart before your eyes just because it’s “the plan”. In the same breath, don’t limit your thinking, things can evolve. Evolution and revolution are natural.

Do plan, prepare, and conceive.

Take the time, develop, and have the research done. Take a lesson from the beautiful, unparalleled process of creation. Babies aren’t developed in haste. It takes at least 9 months for a fetus to fully develop, so take the time to fully develop your baby (vision).

Don’t think that you can cheat the process.

Example A: Choosing a color, name, or font solely because you like it may not be the best option. Sometimes you need to call in the color theorists/psychologists, typography geniuses, and wordsmiths to help you come up with an identity that is sure to engage your prospects.

Example B: Finding a mentor is great! But don’t use anyone to try to gain an advantage to get ahead.

YES rockstar products/services can make business BOOM all by themselves, due to amazing marketing or advertising tactics; but products/services (nor marketing or advertising) alone can create brands SO STUNNING that you’re coming back for more than just the product or service. You want a brand that forms a genuine relationship and obsession within your audience. All of this, grounded in the fact that your business understands, helps, is purposeful and truly cares about what it puts out into the universe. Now that’s branding.

To learn more about Ashley Stewart visit!

As a New York City storyteller, filmmaker, digital content creator, and PR strategist, Renae Bluitt created "In Her Shoes" to empower and enlighten women committed to realizing their dreams.

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