Brand Builders Part 2: What is a Brand?
Understanding Brand Building Strategy
So, what is a brand? I mean, if I’m going to do this whole series on how you can build your brand, we need to start with defining our terms, right? So, what is a brand? When most people think of a brand, they can think of a brand identity, you know, a logo. But we’re gonna use Marty Neumeier’s definition in his book, “The Brand Gap”, which is that our brand isn’t that visual representation, that thing we call brand identity, that it’s actually the emotional connection between a person and a company, its products or services. So, that emotional connection is the brand. So, when talking about building a brand, we’re not talking about designing a logo, or adding colors or changing a typeface, we’re talking about building emotional connections.
Now, there’s a couple of important parts of that, number one, it’s an emotional connection. Not a mental connection, emotional. You know, how you see something that you want, and you know that it’s completely ridiculous, but you just want it? So, you find all these reasons to justify it? “But it was on sale”, “but I’m going to be able to use it later”. “Look at all the money we’re going to save by spending this money on it”. Now, whatever those justifications are, those are because your heart has made a match. And you’re trying to get your head on board, right?
So, when we think about the emotional connection, we do that because when your emotions are involved, you’re all in. And so, when we build brands, we want people to be completely connected to your company, completely obsessed with your products, completely delighted by your services. So, it’s an emotional connection. Now, the other important part of that definition is, it’s a person’s emotional connection. Not yours, not that person’s, not your employees’, not your coworkers’. Your customers.
It’s their emotional connection. It’s how they think and feel about you. Which means you can’t tell them how to think and feel. You could put some things out there and hope it connects with them. You can let them know that you are like them, and that you get them you understand them. You know them, you hear them. But you can’t tell them how to think and feel. So, all you can do is put out what you hope to be the correct expectation that you’re setting and then just make sure you exceed that expectation at every turn.
So, with this definition, when we talk about building brands, we’re not talking about designing logos; although that’s a part of it. We’re talking about specifically how to get people to feel so connected to you, that they will drive across town to make sure they’re buying from you, passing up three, four or five of your competitors on the way. That’s a strong brand. And that’s what we’re going to build for you.