Creating a brand strategy is something that many small business owners never get around to doing. They either don’t think it’s necessary, are too busy to deal with it, or think they will figure it out as they go along.

Much of the problem is that brand and marketing as a whole is confusing as all get out. The terminology and definitions created by professionals are so convoluted, they make “building a strategy” a chore that everyone wants to avoid.

Why is “brand” and “branding” so confusing?

The simple question on everyone’s minds is, “What do I need to do to attract clients?”

You go to Google searching for answers, but step-by-steps, questionnaires, definitions, and jargony blah blah fail to answer the question in any useful way.

Every guru, every dictionary, every marketing website seems to have a different definition of branding. Some are good and make logical sense (Check out OVO’s definitions) but others as so far out there that even I get confused and I’ve been in the industry for 20 years. Every time I read the latest brand or marketing gospel, I wonder if it will throw into question everything I already know.

What’s worse is that many of the terms are used interchangeably by marketing people, designers, and consultants.

Do you know these words and their meanings are debated among professionals and academics? What comes first? Do they overlap? Which is more important? Etc. Etc.

If professionals cannot agree and get clarity on the terminology and definitions, how in the world are you supposed to figure it all out?

When there are no clear answers to your questions (Like how to get customers), you try every trick and tactic you come across. It begins with overwhelm and ends in exhaustion and frustration over time and money spent.

Beginning with a strategy for your brand should be one of the first steps in business. It should be happening right there with your business plan (you have a business plan, right?) If you skipped it for whatever reason, it is not too late to create one.

If you are like my clients, the word “brand” doesn’t mean all that much to you. You just need answers to questions like:

  • How can I get clients?
  • What should I put on my website?
  • What social media site should I be using? What should I post?

These questions can only be properly answered when you have a solid strategy in place. Anything less and you’re just winging it and hoping it works out.

Be sure to check out the next post in this series, “WHAT IS THIS BRAND THING? (2 OF 3)”


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