By Sybil E. Satterfield
Owner at Sybil Brand Affairs
This article is the first in a series of articles about branding.
The series is geared toward the start-up entrepreneur who
want to get the edge on creating a brand identity and
managing that brand to maximize the desired outcomes –
brand loyal clients, customers and fans.
When we think of a brand our mind conjures up images of
of logos and pictograms that have distinctive colors,
shapes and fonts. What we may not realize is that images
are one small part of what is conjured up when a brand
image comes into our mind.
Depending on our experience with a brand, we can ‘hear’,
‘smell’, ‘feel’ and ‘taste’ the brand in our mind. Oh yes,
think “McDonalds”, or “Burger King”. You have two very
distinct images and distinct memories of aromas waft
through your brain.
Effective branding, at its core is a complete sensory
experience in the mind of the target. It can get very
Large corporations spend billions of dollars annually to
ensure their brand stays on your mind through strategic marketing tactics. So, don’t confuse branding and brand
management with marketing. They are closely related, but
not the same.
Even so, companies will still spend millions and billions
creating the perfect image for you to experience and for
you to become and remain loyal to the brand.
In this first installment, we will discover the very simple
foundation of branding.
So, what is branding?
Branding in its most basic form is a mark. It is traced back to the
time of livestock ranching when ranchers actually burned a
mark (called branding) onto the side of each head of cattle to
identify the owner of the livestock. Branding is a unique
identifier. Makers or owners marks can be found in antiquity on
signet rings and pottery. Maker’s marks can be found on jewelry
In the realm of business, branding includes a unique identifier
and a more complete experience that is designed to elicit a
response from your desired audience.
The most basic aspect of your unique identifier is your brand
name. This name, like naming a child, will follow your brand
forever, unless you decide to change it. The name could be any
word or name, but should not be offensive in any language or
While you may plan to have a small, local company,
international exposure is easy to come by in the world in which
we presently live.
While your brand name can be the same as another company,
this usually is not a good idea. You will lose something in the
‘unique identifier’ category if you name your company
The name should be memorable, or easy enough to be easily
You can search your local, state and federal agencies to discover
if a business name has already been taken.
Your local county recorder can establish a business entity for
you on the cheap if you are willing to be a DBA.
Your state’s Secretary of Commerce can do a business entity
search to see if the name you want is taken.
The same process is easy enough on the Federal level.
Consider that your business moniker should be attractive to
your intended target. If you want to do consulting for faith
based organizations, “The Funk Factory” may not be the best
name for your business.
Your business name should also be a reflection of you.
In our next installment, we will begin to examine the complete
sensory experience that your brand should bring.