What Is A Brand?

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There’s an enormous amount of confusion, especially among small businesses, as to what a brand is.

A search on the Internet gives the following diverse range of answers:

“It is the emotional and psychological relationship you have with your customers”

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“A type of product manufactured by a particular company under a particular name”

“The name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s product distinct from those of other sellers”

“It is the idea or image of a specific product or service that consumers connect with, by identifying the name, logo, slogan, or design of the company who owns the idea or image.”

All of these are only partial answers. I like to eliminate fluff and keep things simple. So here is my definition: a brand is the personality of a business. In fact you can use the well understood word “personality” as a direct substitute for “brand”. That instantly clarifies the meaning.

The Personality Of A Business

Think of your business as a person. What attributes make up its personality?

  • What’s its name?
  • What does it wear? (ie design)
  • How does it communicate? (ie positioning)
  • What are its core values and what does it stand for? (ie brand promise)
  • Who does it associate with? (ie target market)
  • Is it well known? (ie brand awareness)

This personality varies dramatically between businesses. Toyota and Rolls Royce both produce functionally the same product, but their answers to the above are very different.

The Best Brand Building Is Selling

Some small businesses look at the flashy advertising campaigns of well known brands like Apple, Coca Cola etc. and get caught up thinking that they also need to spend time, money and effort building “brand awareness”. That’s putting the cart before the horse.