Our favourite synonym of the word branding is marking.
Marking on the surface level seems like the names, symbols, and physical attributes we use to identify one thing from another.
We see it in our villages how livestock owners mark their goats, chickens, etc. That is branding in its basic form.
We see it in the story of Eden how Adam marked the other creatures by name. What we know as a lion today could have as well been known as an ant if Adam named it so. That is branding in its basic form.
It is the same thing with the logos, colours, and designs on our phones, cars, gadgets, etc.
But then, marking goes beyond just physical attributes to internal characteristics.
Your voice is part of your mark.
Your belief system is part of your mark.
Your culture is part of your mark.
An Ijaw man cannot become an Ijebu man just by taking on the Ijebu tribal marks. There is more that defines an Ijebu person beyond the tribal marks.
An Asus laptop cannot become a Macbook by sticking an Apple logo on it.
A Keke napep cannot be Mercedes because one Keke Rider fixed a Mercedes Benz logo on it.
If no be Panadol, e no fit be like Panadol!
Some Chefs have a signature meal because of the mark they have given it (the recipe).
The Chinese and Japanese have an architectural system unique to them because of the mark they have given to it.
The face of the person in the image attached to this article is not clear but you can most certainly guess who it is…that is the power of a mark!
Points to note in summary:
1. Branding is the intentional marking of a product, service, city, person, etc
2. To give it a uniqueness and identity
3. That differentiates it from others and creates the right impression
4. In a manner that shapes the desired perception
5. And draws people towards it for patronage (as loyal customers, fans, tourists, etc)
The question for your business brand and even you as a personal brand is WHAT IS YOUR MARK?
Note: The mark is plural – the summation of everything internal and external that makes you different.
What makes you unique?
There are many bakers out there, what makes you different?
So many schools out there, what makes yours different?
Many hotels out there, what makes yours different?
A lot of service providers and contractors out there, what can stand you out?
Figuring it out may not be easy (we can help you), but it changes your course and yields better results once you get it right.
Take branding seriously.