What is Your Brand?


What is your Brand?

A dictionary will tell you that a brand is a collection of symbols, experiences and associations connected with a product, a service, a person or any other artifact or entity.

We all know the brand symbols such as the golden arches, the swoosh, and the red ribbon of the Coke label.  But these are not “the brand” as much as the visual representation of the brand.

Together, this visual is what helps communicate the reputation of the brand.  You see a McDonald’s golden arch and whether you like them or not, you know what kind of french fries you can get there without going inside and without even really thinking about it.

The brands I mentioned are leaders.  They are known.  They are reminders, not sales pitches.  They are concepts.  And they are shown to reinforce, not create, a communication with the customer and potential customer.

But a brand, even a world famous brand, does not necessarily mean automatic revenue generation nor automatic reputation protection.

One of the common mistakes I see people and businesses make is the assumption that they are branding themselves well and that the way THEY see the brand is how OTHERS (clients) see the brand.

Usually, it is not the same and this assumption is where we fail to connect with the potential client.

We all see companies and individual that believe because they have a logo or tag line or website or brochure or flier or fancy office, then they have a known, respected brand that will be remembered.  NO, NO, NO!

Just because YOU connect to the logo, tag line or brand does not mean anyone else will!

Most times a brand will not be remembered unless it is the business of family or friends or someone we already have a relationship with independent of the logo or tag line. The world is too crowded with advertising that yells at us all day, every day for us to process (much less remember) all these messages.

For instance… I’m glad your logo is the best logo ever.  I likely won’t remember it because it is one of literally thousands I saw today and there is no way I can process that.   Can you?   Do you remember all the logos you saw in the last 24 hours?   I didn’t think so.

How many relative strangers does your marketing material convince to say, “What a great logo and tag line… I need to run over there and trust them with my money right now!!”

I submit that pushing your brand is just like pushing anything else that people are not looking for at the time… it just gets ignored.  It is nothing against you and your business, it is just part of the crowd of messages that we cannot possibly process each day.

The Secret of Branding…

Your brand and your reputation are built every day through your product and/or service.  Period.

Most of us do not have the millions nor decades of time to build and promote a brand like Nike or Coca-Cola or McDonald’s.  But that is fine.  We are not selling to the masses either.

I suggest a smart goal is to “get over” being enamored with our logos and websites and tag lines… and BE the company we would love to do business with and be the company that inspire clients to tell others about us.  And that means work, often a lot of work!  But that is okay.  That will give you an advantage over the bulk of your competitors, competitors that likely still think a cute tag line or cool logo will inspire customers to come and bring their trust and money with them.

Excellence clearly above your competition that will inspire strangers to talk about your business is the best reputation.  It is that reputation, in conjunction with your visual images as a reminder, that is your brand.   A very good brand.

How did you work to build your brand today?



About the Author

Glenn S. Phillips works with leaders who want to leverage technology and understand risks within. An author and blogger, Glenn is often quoted in national media, plays a really ugly tuba (it even has a bullet hole) and is a fan of dark chocolate and great puns.