Thursday, April 9, 2009

What is a Brand?

Often clients and prospects ask me to help them better understand what a brand is or what a brand means. I thought I would take a few moments to define and explain what a brand is and isn't and what is significant about a brand's meaning.

First, let's start by clarifying what a brand is not:
  • It is not a logo
  • It is not a symbol
  • It is not a tagline
  • It is not a font or color scheme
  • It is not what you say it is 
Now, let's work on defining what a brand is:
  • It is in part an identity made up of name, logo, colors, fonts or symbols
  • It may or may not include a tagline or taglines
  • It is a means of differentiating a product, service, person or place from competing products or services
  • It is a collection of perceptions held by consumers and prospects about a product, service, person or place
  • It is an experience associated with a product, service, person or place
A brand has to have a meaningful difference for consumers to understand it and decide whether or not it is a brand they want to buy or a person or place they want to endorse or visit. This meaningful difference has been called a brand position, unique selling proposition, differentiating attribute, etc. It is the perceived difference a consumer or prospect believes about a brand. For example, Volvo's meaningful difference is safety. Federal Express's meaningful difference is overnight delivery. Listerine's meaningful difference is kills germs, President Obama is change we can believe in and so on. 

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