What is a brand?

Here is the irony: As a Brand Strategist, I don’t like to use the term brand too often. Granted, it is a sexy word. Yet, more often than not it is misused. Let me explain what I mean.

Do you remember the old TV show, Batman? There was a Bat version of everything. Our heroes had a Batmobile. They lived in the Batcave. They even had Batearplugs to protect their ears and a Bat Spray to repel sharks. As you can imagine, the Bat prefix got tiring, repetitive, and even confusing after a while.

Similar logic applies to the term brand. From identity to image, to logo, to name, people refer to way too many different concepts as the brand that it creates a confusion. And for that, there is no one but the branding professionals to blame.

Over the decades brand consultants generated so many terms such as brand differentiation, brand champions, brand essence, brand culture, brand mission, brand partnership, brand portfolio management -and one of my favourites- brand rally. You get the point. After a while, the word loses its magic. Since this is my very first post, I wanted to clarify what I mean by brand.

The brand is not your logo. It is not your name. It is not your slogan. It is not your ad.

While there are as many different definitions of brand as there are brand strategists, probably the most commonly agreed upon description is this: “A brand is a promise.” Every time your customers come into contact with your organization, you must deliver on your promise. You could allow your customers to have shinier hair, get best financial advice or feel smart. Your brand is whatever benefit you promise. What differentiates a good brand from a mediocre one is the degree to which the brand delivers on its promise at the critical touch points.

The purpose of this blog is to help you better understand how to create relevant and different promises. It is my hope that by bringing your promise to life you can create a sustainable competitive advantage for your brand.

Our next post will look at the criteria of a powerful promise.

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