What is branding?

Branding in its simplest form means creating an identity that the public can recognize instantly.

Why is branding important?

When we hear “marketing,” we may start thinking about things ranging from forms of advertising to logos and more. Branding is developing a distinct, unmistakable identity: think of the Nike swoosh or Geico’s gecko or the golden arches of McDonald’s. The first step in effective branding is consistency in how we carry our name.

When it comes to developing public awareness, our highly fragmented identity has been one of our greatest weaknesses. Even our loyal customers know us by many names—which means they may have a hard time finding us in a directory listing or online, or referring their friends to us. And if people can’t find us quickly, they may stop looking.

Moreover, our loyal customers, supporters, and key funders need to understand that funding for University of Maine Cooperative Extension means funding for us.

What branding will accomplish

If we use our name consistently, in time the public will be able to easily find and identify University of Maine Cooperative Extension. Our audiences will know what UMaine Extension stands for and the type of education we represent.

How we all brand

If you work for UMaine Extension, you are marketing all the time. When you give a speech, host a meeting, work with the news media, or produce a newsletter, you are marketing the University of Maine and UMaine Extension.

To market effectively and to make sure people will remember who we are, it is important to use our name and images consistently. Each of us can help build a high level of brand awareness for University of Maine Cooperative Extension.

Excerpted and adapted with permission from Texas Cooperative Extension’s Identity Guidelines and Purdue Extension Marketing.