What the heck is a brand anyway?

I’ve read a flotilla of articles and blogs about the importance of having a personal brand, and how key it is for companies to have a positioning that excites their target markets.  Yet, I haven’t read anything to my satisfaction that clarifies in simple language all the terms that are bandied about.

The word “brand” has come to have many definitions.  The key is that when you are working on your brand it is important to use a common vocabulary so that you and your colleagues are communicating in the same language.

Here are three simple definitions:

What is a brand?

  • A brand is what an organization wishes to be known for.  It’s the words you use to describe yourself and/or your company, and is the result of a strategic analysis to establish your unique selling proposition.  It is an inside-out process.

What is positioning?

  • Positioning is how an organization and the services it provides are perceived in the minds of its target audiences. It is looking from the outside-in.  The challenge is to have your brand and positioning in alignment.

What is corporate identity?

  • Corporate identity is the visual expression of the organization’s name, logo, tagline.

Now isn’t that simple to understand?  What’s not simple is defining your brand, whether it’s personal or for a business.  It is hard work to understand what makes you unique and what you are really selling.  I haven’t figured it all out myself yet, and when I see that even the biggest companies mess up their brands (remember Coke?), then I take heart that I’ll get it right someday.  How do you feel about your brand?

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  1. This is as simple as anybody can elucidate what a brand is. Very well articulated, even a 5th grader would understand what a brand is and what’s its positioning all about.

    I’m a beginner and a novice practitioner of this quintessential art called “branding”. I believe in simplicity of words too, I wrote a small post on identifying the soul of a brand.

    I’d really appreciate if you can drop in and write a comment @ http://bit.ly/kfY7W


  2. “A brand is a name or trademark connected with a product or producer.” According to Wikipedia. I think it is being used as a slang “catch all” term when it comes to Web marketing.

    In essence a brand is an image you want to convey, for yourself or your company.

    Personally, I have always said I want to convey my image as a casual teacher and explainer, rather than a sophisticated hard sell salesperson. If I could, I would walk into a client’s office with adhesive tape around my glasses and a pocket protector.

    I think your article sums it up.

  3. A brand is a bundle of attributes, in the mind of the buyer, associated with a product/service. These attributes are generally lifestyle associations the buyer favors or disfavors. Therefore, the buyer is either attracted to or repelled by the brand and its associated bundle of attributes.

    The perceptions of the buyer are the primary inspiration to buy your product/service or gravitate to your competitors.