Company News

What is a Brand?

by webmaster — November 17, 2009

“Why,” she asked “did you put two Xs in Exxon?”
“Why ask?” he asked.
“Because,” she said, “I couldn’t help noticing?”
“Well,” he responded, “that’s the answer.”
—Alan Fletcher, The Art Of Looking Sideways

So, what is a brand? Here’s an Old West analogy from your friends here in Arizona:

In the days before Microsoft and McDonalds, a brand was an indelible mark of identification used by cowboys and ranch owners to prove ownership of stock animals and provide a point of distinction; it was also the process in which this lasting impression was made.

Every brand was different because every ranch was different. A unique brand differentiated your cattle from your competitors’; in a brown sea of seemingly identical animals, your cattle would always stand out.

Today, a brand does for products, companies and services what it’s always done for livestock: it makes identification, recognition, differentiation and connectivity possible.

A brand is an entity that forms an impression, and the process by which that impression is formed. It is an identity, the sum of all of the thoughts, feelings, beliefs, perceptions and associations that consumers have about a product, company or service.

As it appears on the backside of a cow, a brand is a symbol. In today’s competitive marketplace, however, a brand is more than just a logo, icon or name. It is inclusive of the many unique attributes—product, service, name, logo, packaging, color palette, typography, graphics, tagline, etc.—that enable a consumer to identify, connect to and choose one product, service or company over another. With these unique attributes come the brand values, associations, identities, images, personalities, promises, experiences and communications that separate the good brands from the great.

In this way, branding is about identifying and combining brand attributes, and effectively managing everything else that comes along with them. The branding process is the single most important objective of the marketing process. It determines how your brand is presented to the world, and how the world perceives it. Your brand is the glue that holds the broad range of marketing functions together, and, ultimately, all operations must support it.

The true power of a brand lies in its ability to influence purchasing behavior. A successful branding program, systematically developed by a comprehensive brand strategy, creates the perception that there is absolutely no other product or company in the marketplace like yours. It’s what turns “I need a new car” into “I want that car.”

And once you’ve made consumers desire a partnership with your brand, you’ve created an emotional connection that spells long-term success.

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