For five years now, you’ve heard me talk about branding and practically nothing else. Well, I’m done. No more. No more branding this, branding that. Why?

I’m not talking about branding anymore because when I talk to people about updating their brand, they either think (1) we’re just talking about the logo or (2) that the entire process is far too intimidating or outside their purview. The first one is definitely incorrect and the second one is incorrect more often than it isn’t.

How you structure your business, how you develop products and services…are all deeds that make your message.

So, instead, when I talk about branding, I am going to talk about messaging. What message you are sending to your prospects, your customers, and your employees? Because really, that’s what branding is all about it. It’s connecting with people on an emotional and memorable level, through your message.

Your message takes many forms. Words, deeds, and yes, logos as well as the entire visual identity systems that go along with them, tell your message in a way that is relevant and competitively differentiated, in a way that creates that emotional and memorable connection.

Your Words Make Your Message

It’s not just the copy you use on your website, it’s also the tone that surrounds them. Read these two statements about diversity from Apple and Microsoft. They say essentially the same thing, yet they have completely different tones of voice. Neither is better than the other. Instead, they help each organization connect with the reader in the most authentic way.

Your Deeds Make Your Message

In this context, your deeds go beyond how you treat employees or how they interact with customers—although both of those are extremely important. How you structure your business, how you develop products and services, and how you interact with everyone around you are all deeds that make your message.

Branding is connecting with people on an emotional and memorable level, through your message.

Your Logo and Visual Identity Make Your Message

Just as all people have faces that help us distinguish ourselves from one another, so too do brands. Visual identities play an incredibly powerful role in telling an organization’s message. From the color choices to the shape and style of your logo, everything about your visual identity makes your message.

So when you hear others talk about branding, because it won’t be me anymore(!), think about the message your organization is sending through its words, deeds, and visuals.

P.S., Obviously, I am joking. Of course, I’ll still talk about branding! (But perhaps with just a heavy helping of messaging on the side.)

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