What is a Brand, Anyway?
We work in the realm of branding every day. But for people who don’t, the concept of branding can be confusing. The words branding, logo, corporate identity, and positioning get thrown around a lot. Sometimes it’s hard to discern what’s what! To make it easy for you, here is our down and dirty explanation of a brand in our own words.
First of all, what isn’t a brand?
A brand is not a logo. The logo is usually the first thing that people associate with a brand, but a logo is only the image that represents your company name. A logo is only the tip of the iceberg.
A brand is not a corporate identity. The corporate identity is the visual look and feel of a company. But a brand is much more than that.
A brand is not what you believe your company to be. Or even what you hope it could be in its best expression of itself.
A brand is not the product itself. Rather, the brand goes before a company’s product or line of products as its representative.
In fact, a brand is not any “thing.”
Well, what is a brand then?
This might sound weird, but you don’t define your brand – your customers do. Because a brand is the feeling that a person has in their gut when they think of your company. It is the sum of all perceptions and interactions a person has with your company, some that you can influence, and some that you can’t.
Your brand resides within the hearts and minds of customers, clients, and prospects. From the in-store display and packaging to the way the phone is answered, every touchpoint plays a role in building your brand in the minds of your audience.
Every person creates their own version of your brand in their mind. You can’t control how someone perceives your brand but you can influence it by communicating the qualities that make you unique. Good branding communicates who you are and what you stand for to your audience. It differentiates you from the competition through a variety of means – in both a rational and emotional way. When enough people come to the same gut feeling about your company, you can be said to have a brand.
“A brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service or company. It’s not what you say it is. It is what they say it is.”
– Marty Neumeier