If you’ve been searching around on the internet for the ultimate definition of branding, you probably haven’t found it…at least not one that makes the definition plain and easy to follow for small business owners.
After honing my craft of brand and web design, and coaching thousands of entrepreneurs over the span of 15 years, I’ve developed a definition of my own that I believe will resonate with business owners big and small.
What is Branding?
I was invited to WREG News Channel 3’s Live at 9 Morning Show with Kontji Anthony (check out the video replay and the transcript below). On the show, I shared my very simple definition of branding:
Later, I shared this same definition of branding on Threads App. Here is some of the feedback I received.
Lifestyle Designer and multi-hyphenate creative @AndreaFenise’s feedback tells me that entrepreneurs stand to benefit from viewing the word “branding” as an action…something that never stops and improves over time.
@WineOutOfWater, another social media user and blogger herself, chimed in with her thoughts on the definition:
Play the video below or keep reading this post to see the interview transcript.
Video replay of Dana James Mwangi with interviewer Kontji Anthony on WREG News Channel 3 Memphis’ Live at 9 Morning Show.
Kontji (Interviewer) – “With the internet and social media these days, personal branding is extending beyond celebrities and Fortune 500 companies. Everyday people and entrepreneurs are standing out by building their personal and professional brands. And here with a backstage pass on how that’s done is Dana James Mwangi. of Cheers Creative. Welcome to the show.”
Dana – “Kontji, I’m so happy to be here. Thank you.”
Kontji – “Okay. You’re giving me everything in the red, the hair, the nails! And I just know it’s part of the brand. Okay, so what is the definition of branding? And why is it so important?”
Dana – “Well, there are so many definitions of branding. And you could talk to 100 experts and somebody will say, that it’s your logo, it’s your website, or it’s “what they say about you when you leave the room.” I dare say it is all of those things combined. So branding is an act. Just like I’ve branded these clients here, right? Branding is the act, the constant act, of telling people who you are, what you do, why you do it, what is the benefit to the customer, and how you treat that customer as you give it to them. Okay? And then the feedback you get from that customer. All that together, is branding. And then we could throw visuals in there, all based off those things.”
Kontji – “…that kind of stimulates your mind. Anyone who’s kind of looking in, can I drop some client names? Yes. Okay, Harlem’s Fashion [Row]. Lebron James. (Dana James Mwangi laughs) So what exactly do you do at Cheers?”
Dana – “So, at Cheers Creative, we do brand consulting, brand design and web consulting and design for top industry leaders, content creators, like YouTubers who have like millions of followers, and just people who are at the top of the game in their industry, okay. And then for everyday entrepreneurs, we have what’s called the Brave branding Academy™, where it’s like they have a brand strategist, and they pocket. And I teach them the skills they need to brand themselves, tell their story, build a website that becomes their cash register so that they can continue doing bold branding and being the CEO or the leader in their business.”
Kontji – “Okay. And another name… (cough…) Google. (Dana James Mwangi laughs) Okay, so I’m just saying you’ve worked with all the brands. Okay. So what are some common myths that are out there about branding that you’d like to dispel and straighten out?”
Dana – “One branding myth is that “branding is just your product.” The idea that you could just put a product or a service out there, and your your job is done. The truth is, there’s a lot of people who do great services, there’s a lot of people who create great products, but your brand is not your product. It’s how that product, or how you deliver that product, and it makes your customer feel.”
Kontji – “Let’s let’s put this into action. Let’s talk about maybe a success story so that people can really just go through the actual flow of branding.”
Dana – “Do you want me to talk about a client in particular?”
Kontji – “Or, you know, you don’t have to say names. We know some of them you can’t say. But um, you know, just a success story.”
Dana – “Well you know, before I go into that, what I will say that sometimes I can’t lead with those big client stories, I tell the stories that people will believe so that they can see themselves in the story.
So one of my success stories was a 51 year old grandmother, who had beat cancer, and all types of odds. And she wanted to give advice and counseling, spiritual counseling.
We did her branding, her photo shoot and all these different things. And we did a website, right? But everybody is offering counseling. There’s tons of life coaches out there, and things like that. What we did was make her website look like warm, like a living room, and with very casual language. That’s the branding that makes you feel comfortable and disarms you before you even meet her.
Check this out… she had never made money before online. We launched the website. With less than 1,000 Instagram followers, she made her first virtual sale, in 90 minutes of launching that website, while she was picking up her granddaughter from daycare.
And you know, once an entrepreneur has done something like that, there is no turning back, because now they know what they’re capable of.”
Kontji – “Wow. So, is that search engine optimization combined with the actual presentation?”
Dana – “It’s a lot of things. I’m glad you’re talking about SEO optimization, because that’s a very big word. But what I can say is, the more clear you are, the more people will find you, the more you talk the way people actually Google.
So [for instance], if I shine shoes, instead of saying, “I’ve done this for X amount of years and we help you look your best,” that could be anybody. I say “we shine shoes and deliver them in 24 hours or less, without taking any shortcuts,” that will get you sales. That’s what boosts up the SEO.”
Kontji – “Oh my goodness, Dana. We can be here for literally the entire live show. And I know that that’s what people ask you to do. So I can’t thank you enough for being here.”
Question for You: Was this definition of branding helpful to you? What will you do differently now in your business after taking some branding cues from this blog post?
Let me know in the comments below.