Most think branding is your logo and anything you can slap it on. Sure, free things are great! However, branding is a lot more than bribing people to pay attention to your company by handing out that cool flash drive or awesome coffee mug.

Branding is the personality of your business.

A brand should have a certain look, feel and swagger. This “brand personality” should create a relationship that effectively communicates either a particular message or idea that will resonate with the correct audience.

Take Target’s brand for example. Below are two distinct campaigns, but each campaign still feels like Target. Now, what’s similar between the two? For starters: consistent logo treatment, unwavering color, a very steady tone of voice, and similar feeling to both campaigns. Each campaign is intriguing and fun visually while maintaining a tone of voice that is fun and hip. Messages like these speak loudly to the audiences that usually frequent Target. This fun and hip personality is the face and “brand” of Target. Target’s consistency with their brand has created a relationship with most of their audience, effectively communicating Target’s personality that resonates with the viewer.

This successful “brand relationship” has resulted in trust and loyalty to the Target brand. A lot of the time when people want to shop at a place a bit cooler than Wal-Mart, they choose Target. Why? Because Target’s consistent brand personality has led people to believe that Target is cooler than the rest.

So, the next time you’re thinking about slapping your logo on a coffee mug or any other random piece of fluff, look at the big picture. Is this crazy key chain really showing off your business’s personality?

Photos courtesy of Flickr.com