Brand visibility begins with understanding what a “brand” is. The American Marketing Association, brand is the "name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller's product distinct from those of other sellers." I suppose you don’t have to be a “seller” of something in order to have a brand, although I imagine every “brand” from a single individual to a multination corporation is essentially offering something to the general public. If not a product or service then at least an idea. Just as this “something” should be unique, so should you and your brand. The term originates from cattle branding where the point is to have a unique identifier that people can then related back to you. This identifier could well be seen as today’s marketing logo.
Going to market with a poor brand is a form of badvertising and you would be better off doing nothing as opposed to risk diluting or even ruining your brand image further. Don’t prioritize brand visibility and rush to get your message “out there” without thinking about every way in which your customer will perceive, interact with and experience your business, product(s) and service(s). This is includes not just the verbal, written, electronic and physical aspects of a traditional marketing plan but the thought process that drives you and what you do. Your brand is an extension of your business which is in turn an extension of you. Bright, shiny posters and fancy marketing will not do the trick if every aspect of your business and messaging do not come together to create an integrated brand that best reflects your core values.
If you are thinking about brand visibility then let me ask whether you have put as much thought into what your brand is and what it represents. If you think about it, a brand is not anything concrete like your logo or ads or even your product(s) or service(s). When you think of a company brand, you do not think of the actual corporation with employees, nor do you think of what benefits you derive from doing business with that company. Rather, what comes to mind are thoughts, feelings and associations somewhat similar to what happens when you think of a specific person. There is an interesting section in the movie “The Corporation” where people describe familiar brands as if they have actual personalities; McDonald’s is “young and enthusiastic”, Microsoft is “aggressive” and Disney “goofy” (what else?). What is your marketing personality?
The humanizing of business may have started by accident – who is to say? – but is a definite and definitive trend that underscores the reality of brand visibility in the 21st century. It is no accident that the most successful companies nowadays are also the most active on social media and the authoritative, unidirectional one-to-many marketing of the past has been the replaced by the desire to engage and interact with communities of consumers (watch Gary Vaynerchuk if you are at all interested in more on this). Let’s say that this “human” side of your business is what your brand represents. This is what you are aiming to cultivate in a way that is faithful to you and your values and appealing to your customers. The question then becomes: how do you create the brand that you are aiming for?
Everything about you says everything about you. If you are worried about brand visibility then keep in mind that it is not only those things you actively promote that are going to shape how people see and feel about your brand. A business with great products but bad service cannot prosper. Similarly, great products and service may not save your brand if your CEO goes out and does something stupid, for instance. What I am getting at is that is that everything you do and are is what goes into making your brand. If you are a quality brand, therefore, every last thing down to the doorknobs in your office will speak to that. If you really want to take this thinking to its limit then it is your thoughts, beliefs and values which are actually at the core of your brand because they are what make you do what you do.
It is next to impossible to define exactly what a brand is but instead you can look at all the things that go into creating your brand. When talking about branding and brand visibility, most companies – and sales and marketers – look at the “big” things like advertising, logos, marketing collateral, displays, packaging and so forth. My contention is that branding includes everything you do and is driven first and foremost by you individual and company mindset. What I propose, therefore, is that you begin with that in mind and ask yourself what your core values are and what kind of person your customer is. The bridge that connects these is your business personality or brand. Thinking about these central points and then taking to them into sales, marketing and all other business activities is what is going to create a cohesive brand that you can then represent without holding anything back.
Once you have figured out what makes you tick and who your ideal customer is, there are three areas that I would like to finish up with that may touch on what you originally had in mind when you decided upon exploring brand visibility. Traditional marketing is the art of repeating your message to as large an audience as possible is as many ways as possible. Brand Promotion is basically the same thing in a newer marketing language. Building on that is Brand Association which once again links back to the social question of creating conversations and then communities around your brand. Finally, something to think about is Brand Invisibility; have you ever thought about the fact that the most luxurious brands in the world advertise the least?