Good branding is about far more than an eye-catching logo, consistent colours and a snappy slogan. It feeds into everything your business does.

Marketers routinely use the word ‘brand’ interchangeably with ‘business’ or ‘company’ – and, although less common, ‘branding’ is sometimes used synonymously with ‘marketing’.

But are they really the same thing?

Well, according to the Macquarie dictionary, a brand is: “any mark of infamy; a stigma.” 

Okay, maybe not. Tempting though it may be to characterise the logos of your competitors as marks of infamy, that’s only one of 13 definitions. We’re only concerned with the first two.




  1. a trademark or trade name to identify a product, as that of a distributor, or a manufacturer or other producer.
  2. the company identified by such a brand: to battle the big brands.

So the brand is what identifies your company or product to distinguish it from all the others. And, as the second definition suggests, the brand is the company – or is at least inseparable from it. 

Therefore, branding is the practice of creating and establishing that recognisable identity in the market – usually through a combination of logos, designs, slogans and so on. And that is how most dictionaries define the word.

But these definitions are a bit limiting. They don’t present the whole picture. Strong branding is more than just a name, a logo, a few colours and a slogan.

The key word in these definitions is ‘identify’. Your brand is how people identify – and identify with – your company. And that means how your company is perceived can be just as much a part of your brand as your logo.

Just about anything your company puts out there – especially marketing – feeds into the brand.  

Today, branding isn’t just your company’s visual identity and a bunch of trademarks, but also the experience you provide, the values you represent, the responses you give. Everything from your activities on social media to the way each member of your team answers the phone is now firmly within the purview of ‘branding’.

Why is branding important?

A solid branding strategy informs not just your marketing but every level of your business. It defines what you do, how you do it, why you do it and why you’re the best company to do it for each potential customer that might come calling.

It’s about establishing a customer experience that is not only distinctive, recognisable and trustworthy but also consistent.

Whether they’re reading a blog post or a product brochure, whether they’re talking to the sales team or the support team, a prospective customer should always feel they’re interacting with the exact same brand. Even though each touchpoint might involve a different arm or silo of the business, every interaction should feel part of the same continuous conversation, the same consistent experience.

Consistency helps people become familiar and comfortable with your brand. More importantly, consistency is vital to building trust with your customers.

A good branding strategy has also been shown to increase satisfaction and pride in employees by giving them something tangible to believe in.

So how do you make sure your brand is helping, not hindering, your business.

How to strengthen your branding

Adobe, Google and Nike are all excellent examples of what a strong brand looks like. Meanwhile, Apple remains the world’s most successful company – with a market capitalisation of 2.75 trillion dollars (Statista, May 2023) – due in large part to a brand that is among the most recognised in the world. 

Let’s break down what these mega brands have in common to extract some principles you can apply to strengthen your own branding.

  • They are unique. Any time you interact with any of these companies, you always know you are dealing with that company. They own a space that is their own.
  • They are audience-focused. Everything these companies put out is focused on what their audience wants and needs, not what the brand itself wants or needs.
  • They are consistent. Whether you are speaking on the phone, interacting with a website or using the product or service itself, the branding is always consistent. The tone of voice is the same across every asset.
  • They are trustworthy. These companies keep their brand promises. While there will always be a few bumps along the way, consumers know what to expect and trust they will get what they’re paying for – every time.

Each of these companies has invested an enormous amount of time, effort and capital into ensuring their brands are known for far more than a recognisable logo and slogan.  They’re branding remains a key part of their continued success and market dominance.

Why does branding matter?

A strong brand will outperform a weak brand across a wide variety of measures, including:

  • Awareness. A strong brand is unique, instantly recognisable and memorable.
  • Business value. Investors know that a strong brand doesn’t just mean more sales. It also translates into greater company value.
  • Customer retention. People like consistency. A company with a strong, consistent  brand experience will be more effective in retaining the loyalty of its customer base.
  • Customer generation. A strong brand and a consistent experience is more likely to encourage positive word of mouth from existing customers, resulting in more positive reviews, more recommendations and more referrals.
  • Employee morale and engagement. Pride in your company is likely to improve productivity, reduce staff turnover and also prompt employees to encourage other talented people in their networks to join your team as well.
  • Market share. People prefer to buy from brands they’re already familiar with. The more familiar your brand becomes, the greater your share of the potential market becomes.

In branding, perception is reality

As always, there’s two sides to branding – and the difference will often come down to  consumer sentiment. A bad customer experience or some negative press can impact how people perceive the brand.

Consider some of the major brands which have suffered security incidents in recent years. On paper, the brand is no different; same logo, same messaging and slogan, same customer experience. But in the minds of consumers, the brand is associated with bad news, or risky practices, or whatever might have spawned the negative sentiment. Trust is impacted. Belief in the product is shaken. A stigma is attached to the brand that might take some time to counter.

Get it wrong too many times, and a strong brand can also become infamous and eventually implode. Just ask Enron. 

Maybe that other definition of a brand – “any mark of infamy; a stigma” – isn’t quite so irrelevant after all. Maybe it’s a warning of what can happen to your brand if it isn’t woven through everything your business does – with consistency, transparency and authenticity.

That’s why branding is important.