5 Ways Your Brand and Branding Define You

There is a big difference between your “brand” and your “branding.”

Your brand is you: who you are , what you do, what you stand for, your DNA personality. You are a tangible artifact, which you create into a brand–an image that lives in the minds of the people you interact with and who come to know you. Are you…

  • A watercolor nature artist?
  • An NBA athlete?
  • A criminal trial attorney?
  • An eighth-grade science teacher?
  • A cupcake baker?
  • A cardiologist?
  • A business consultant?
  • A French chef?

who are you

Your branding is what you do: every way you put your brand in action to create  associations with you, including your…

  • Website
  • Blog
  • Email marketing
  • Community involvement
  • Social media platforms
  • Collaborations
  • Partnerships
  • Sponsorships

I recently discovered a brand website called Ranking the Brands, which lists and profiles some of the most trusted, popular, core power brands out there today–Coca-Cola, Google, BMW, Microsoft, Walmart, Hershey’s, Apple, Harley-Davidson and UPS, to name just a few.

What do these standout brands have in common?

  • First, they are laser focused on what they do, who they are and whom they serve.
  • Second, they differentiate themselves from their competition.
  • Third, they evolve how they serve through their brand story.

These brands have built legacies and leadership by paying back and paying forward. They have built schools, donated food, supported the Olympics and encouraged educational and philanthropic activities, which is why we want to support them and what we remember them for.

Here are five ways your brand and branding define you and your business:

1) It’s your calling card, piece of real estate, your stake in the space.

2) It’s the only way to make a footprint and imprint.

3) It tells a story about you and what you do.

4) It’s the way people remember, recall and recommend you.

5) It is the single most important way to establish your credibility, authority and niche.

Sam Walton wanted Walmart to be remembered for saving people money so they could live better.  Milton Hershey wanted to open new doors for children in need.  Deborah Shane wants to be known as someone who cares deeply about helping people succeed in their careers and business.

Here’s the new Forbes Top 100 Entrepreneurial Websites for Women. Some standout brands in here for sure!

What does your brand say about you and your business?


Deborah Shane Deborah Shane has been recognized as a Top 100 Small Business Champion and Top 50 SMB Influencer (Dunn and Bradstreet 2015). She is a career transition author, personal branding and social media specialist. Deborah's book "Career Transition: Make the Shift" is available through all major book sellers.

19 Reactions
  1. Deborah, Thanks for the information on Ranking the Brands. I checked out the 100 most mentioned brands on Twitter and as a tea & espresso drinker I found it fascinating that Starbucks is number 1.

  2. Martin, I found it fascinating that most of these brands other than Google, have been around for many decades. They hit and miss but keep evolving with the times and trends. We know we can count on them. Raising my espresso to you!

  3. It’s also worth mentioning that even an iconic brand (from Woolworth’s to Circuit City) can go under if they lose their focus, so even if you feel you’ve “arrived” as a brand you still need to keep on your toes.

  4. Robert, so true. Staying laser focused on their what, who, why and evolving organically with trends and demographics shifts. Taking customers for granted and going to automated is a big NO NO. Agree?

  5. Thanks for the great post, Deborah – and the simple “branding checklist”, a helpful reference and/or reminder for the small business owner. Community involvement and sponsorships are terrific items to include. Paying it forward reaps rewards in untold ways – both personal and professional. Everyone benefits!

  6. DIYSEO Team, Thanks for the nod and I am honored that you took the time to post here! I appreciate the support. Keep up the awesome work that you all are doing as well to help people maximize their web reach and brands!

  7. My business partner and I live in the mobile tech space, 24/7. We are true believers in the (realized) potential of the smartphone to improve many aspects of peoples’ lives. But I don’t think our site, marketing materials really show that passion. I fear we look like a couple of guys hawking yet another line of forgettable mobile accessories. We won’t sell anything that we don’t think offers either new enabling functionality or functionality that so eclipses the competition, that we don’t consider them competition. HOW do we get this into our brand? We tweet, and barely ever plug our brand. We are trying to do stuff right …

  8. Hi Todd, thanks for your note and question. Translating who you are and what you do into your marketing vehicles is the big must and challenge for small businesses. Testimonials, pictures, real representation of you and your partner as the people behind the brand is a good goal. Tangible benefits, results are good things to tweet and post. Feel free to connect with me on the socials to continue this conversation.

  9. Thanks for assembling this info about branding. You brought up some good points. This can be a tough area since it can take a significant investment in time and money to build up that brand recognition. Too many people think this can be accomplished overnight. If you can gain instant recognition overnight, it is more likely from negative publicity!

  10. May, it does take time, clarity and consistency. I can’t really say I know too many overnight successes. More like 10 year overnight successes! Thanks for your comment.

  11. I would like to say that it is extremely important for a business owner to select a highly effective brand development strategy. Just be aware of the fact that once you manage to create a well-recognized brand you will become a successful entrepreneur.

  12. Great article, Deborah. I think it is also worth remembering that your uniqueness and authenticity defines you and only you. There is only one you. In our rush to appear “hip,” or “tech savvy” we often get lost amongst the “Shiny objects” as Dan Kennedy says.
    To thine own self be (branded) true!!

  13. Terje, and that brand development strategy takes time and should be flexible. Thanks!

  14. Pauline, the brand is all about YOU and your It, X, Wow. Figuring it out, focusing on it is the mission. Thanks for chiming in!

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