A Brand vs. Branding

Brand, Branding

A Brand vs. Branding

What is a brand? What is branding? Is it a name or logo? Is it the company slogan or look of the website? Sometimes we make the mistake of thinking that our brand is what we look like or the message we communicate. While those things may influence our brand, it is more than that.

A brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service or company.
–Marty Neumeier, ZAG

The next closest word to brand is reputation. And your personal reputation, like one of your business, organization or product, lies outside of your control. It’s really the perception or story that surrounds you, your organization and your product. Your brand is not so much what you say it is, but what they say it is. The best you can do is influence it. Your brand is someone’s gut-level perception about you. What do they think of when they think of you, your organization, or your product?

The word “branding” originated as a technique for owners to distinguish their livestock from others. As branding evolved over time, it came to be used as a term for companies to distinguish themselves from the competition. Branding is more than a symbol or stamp, it’s the message you’re trying to communicate. At it’s best, branding is a holistic approach—a collection of every touch point and what is communicated. What is the story you are telling?

Branding is a company’s effort to build lasting value by delighting customers.
–Marty Neumeier, ZAG

People establish a gut-level connection with an organization based on their values and perception long before they buy into their message. Branding at it’s most basic level provides answers to the simple need to differentiate one thing from another.

Branding is the art of surrounding who you are with a power and compelling story.

The reality is that people ask, if I buy this product, if I attend this event, if I give to this organization, “what does that make me?”

When you persuade, speak of interest, not of reason.
–Benjamin Franklin

So, we have to be in the business of shaping perceptions or else someone will do it for us. And we have to put resources into branding or we risk being discredited. This way we can overcome the stereotypes and start shaping peoples perceptions. Who is with me?

1 Comment
  • Evan
    Posted at 03:11h, 12 December Reply

    I love your definition of branding as “a powerful and compelling story”. I am starting a consultancy that helps human services organizations put a human face on their Mission by telling human stories. Your site gives some strong advice that I will follow to help my site tell its own story! Thank you. Evan

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