So, you think you know what a brand is, eh?
Everyone seems to be throwing around the terms “brand” and “branding” lately, but what do they really mean? Let’s see.
The American Marketing Association defines a brand as a “Name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.”
I would say that is incorrect. Your name, term, symbol or other features are brand elements—but not your brand. Would you know a BMW without it’s badging? Sure. Could you walk into a logo-less Apple store and know where you are? Of course. What about a Starbucks without the mermaid? All of those companies have created brands that extend far beyond their brand elements.
To me, your brand is “the feeling your audience has when they interact with your product or service.”
Did the American Marketing Association get it completely wrong? I think not. The term that seems to fit best is “design”. The design is the key. Not just graphic design, but every kind of design: from your logo and stationery to the way you interact with customers. That all impacts that feeling your audience has for you.
Decide what your audience wants, or better yet, what they need. Then become it. Make sure everything you do is designed around that central idea—from your logo, to your web site, to the music you play, to emails you send. Then (and this is important) don’t change it until the needs and wants of your audience changes.