Published on Entrepreneur.com

This is an excerpt of an article I originally wrote for Entrepreneur.com:

Over $500 billion is spent on advertising each year. The average American is exposed to an estimated 3,000 ads per day. Fifteen minutes out of every hour of television programming is devoted to commercials.

That’s a lot of marketing. And a lot of marketers. With six million companies in the United States alone, that’s a lot of people competing to get their message out. How do you stand out from the crowd? How do you get noticed?

This is where branding comes in.

What is branding?

Branding is the art of distinguishing a product or service from its competitors. It’s the term for creating a recognizable “personality” which people will remember and react to.

A company with poor branding is throwing away marketing dollars. Why? Because without a focused message, companies weak in branding are invisible. Nobody remembers them and they blend in. They become just another leaf swirling in the wind, amid all those marketing messages consumers see each day.

In marketing, the point is to actually reach someone, to connect. The way to do this is by focusing attention, not dispersing it.

Discovering your brand

Too often, people try to “dream up” a brand for their company. However, a brand isn’t something you dream up—it’s something you discover. Specifically, it’s something you have to discover about yourself.

Read the rest of article on Entrepreneur.com.

Image credit: Jerine Lay, Flicker