What is a brand?

October 16, 2020

Close your eyes and imagine the word ‘brand’. Perhaps hundreds of different logos begin to circle around in your mind and you imagine that the formula for a brand is: symbol + name = brand. Take the RSPCA for example. Paws + RSPCA = brand.

But, the truth is, a brand is much more than just the logo and a name. It’s perception and a promise, and when used strategically, a very powerful business tool.

Brand is perception

A brand is not something you can physically hold or see, but the feelings and opinions that people hold about a company, product or service as a result of their interactions with that company.

It is the perception of a company – how it is known, understood and considered.

When people hear your company’s name, do they think ethical, trustworthy, successful? Or do they hear innovative, leading and bold? Most importantly, do they think and hear what you want them to?

Knowing what you want customers or other stakeholders to think about your brand is critical. It’s what informs your visual identity, marketing, and customer experiences to ensure they are effective in meeting a customer need.

Brand is also a promise

Reputation and what people think about you is a result of what they see and hear about your company, as well as their personal experiences.

Through the brand you make an overt promise to stakeholders, which is why it’s essential that the products/services, as well as the experience, live up to that promise. If your promise is delivered, the brand is maintained or enhanced, but if the promise isn’t delivered, it can be damaged.

Remember, it takes only one bad deed to ruin a good reputation. So when companies don’t deliver on their brand promise, whether as a result of a faulty product, poor service or experience, then customers start to look elsewhere to get their needs met.

Brand is not a logo

Logos are one way to bring your brand to life. They are a visual representation or expression of your company. Logos and names are important, but far more important is knowing what your brand’s promise is and building a product/service and customer experience that delivers on this promise.

Your brand is an asset

Brands are assets that can help to deliver value to your business when they are managed. They can also contribute to creating a sustainable competitive advantage. So, it’s worth articulating your brand promise and knowing why, where, when and how your brand should and shouldn’t be used. This will help your company to attract and maintain the right customers.

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