The word brand began simply as a way to tell one person’s cattle from another by means of a hot iron stamp, which makes it the oldest form of marketing or promotion! In the beginning, before modern marketing there was just branding – a form of DIFFERENTIATION. Today RELEVANT DIFFERENTIATION is still the cornerstone of modern marketing.

Here are a few definitions of branding:

Brand (noun):
– a mark made by burning or otherwise, to indicate kind, grade, make, ownership, etc.
– a kind or variety of something distinguished by some distinctive characteristic
– verb (used with object) to label or mark with or as if with a brand.

David Ogilvy, the father of modern advertising defined it as:
“The intangible sum of a product’s attributes: its name, packaging, and price, its history, its reputation, and the way it’s advertised. A brand is also defined by consumers’ impression of the people who use it, as well as their own experience.”
Entire process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product (good or service) in the consumers’ mind, through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme. Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers.
The marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products. Your brand is your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from that of your competitors. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be.

Hence getting your branding “right” is the cornerstone of all your future marketing communications. Unfortunately most small businesses do not get this right and their marketing becomes a painful experience akin to getting “marked” with a hot iron – for all the wrong reasons.