Branding in business is much like branding in cattle raising. A brand identifies you, your product or service and makes it stand out from the competition. It can be a name, like "Kleenex", a term, like "roller blades", a sign or symbol, like Target's bull's eye, or any combination of these.

Big companies spend a lot of time, money and effort developing their brands. Some have done so well that many consumers use brand names as common nouns ("Kleenex" instead of facial tissue, "Hoover" instead of vacuum cleaner, etc.).

A brand is also more than I've discussed so far. In fact, it has a much deeper purpose than just to differentiate you in the market. It's purpose is also to establish an emotional connection with your target market.

When I say, "Oreo," what do you think of? My initial sensation is that of good times growing up and eating Oreos dunked in milk. That's an emotional connection.

So what does this all have to do with you, the small business owner?

Branding can make the difference in your business, as well. It can attract more clients to your practice, get more people to buy your products and services, even cause a viral, word-of-mouth referral system to spring up without you even trying.

So develop your brand ... make that emotional connection with your target market in all your marketing efforts.

Author's Bio: 

Carma Spence-Pothitt has more than 20 years experience in marketing and public relations. She helps creative professionals develop and nurture a thriving web presence through website design to social networking to search engine optimization. Read more of her business articles at The Women's Business Gallery,