What is a brand?
Brand is the proprietary visual, emotional, rational, and cultural image that you associate with a company or a product. When you think Volvo, you might think safety. When you think Nike, you might think of Michael Jordan or “Just Do It.” When you think Hooters, you think big beautiful…well I think we know what we think of, at least us straight guys!
When you think IBM, you might think “Big Blue.” The fact that you remember the brand name and have positive associations with that brand makes your product selection easier and enhances the value and satisfaction you get from the product. That at least is why Fortune 1000 companies literally spend hundreds and billions of dollars in “brand advertising and marketing.”
While Brand X cola or even Pepsi-Cola may win blind taste tests over Coca-Cola, the fact is that more people buy Coke than any other cola. Most importantly, they enjoy the experience of buying and drinking Coca Cola.
Coca-Cola is without a doubt one of, if not they most recognizable brand in the world.
The fond memories of childhood and refreshment that people have when they drink Coca-Cola is often more important than a little bit better cola taste with another brand. It’s this emotional and mental relationship with brands that make them so powerful. Read that line again very carefully, because it’s the reason people pay $500 for a pair of designer Gucci sunglasses that are made in the exact same sweat shop overseas as the $20 pair you can buy at Sunglass Hut. The only difference is the branding and image surrounding it.
Branding sells like water in the desert.
What makes up a brand identity?
A typical brand identity includes a brand name, positioning statement, category descriptor, organizational values, brand archetype, and the brand’s key purchase factors with their tangible and emotional benefits (brand associations).
A good brand name gives a good first impression, is easy to remember, and evokes positive associations with the brand. The positioning statement tells, in one sentence, what business the company is in, what benefits it provides and why it is better than the competition.
Imagine you’re in an elevator and you have 30 seconds to answer the question, “What business are you in?” The category descriptor lets your customers know what “hook” to put your branding on in their racing minds.
Linking your internal organizational values with your brand builds trust with your customers. Brand archetype and personality adds emotion, culture and myth to the brand identity by the use of a famous spokesperson (Bill Cosby – Jello), a character (the Pink Panther), an animal (the Merrill Lynch bull) or an image (You’re in good hands with Allstate).
Brand associations are the attributes that customers think of when they hear or see the brand name. Ideally, you want customers to think of what they want from the brand (e.g., reliability and the benefits of reliability) and then associate that attribute with your brand name.
In closing what is YOUR brand?
What do you want YOUR brand to mean and say to people?