Anyone can say ‘we are a brand’ what separates a true brand from a business is the tangible threads of brand culture and brand identities that people can align with. A brand is so much more than a product, group of products and or services. A brand is a cultural identity, regardless of the sector the brand is within and true brand will have voluntary brand ambassadors.
Where many go wrong is not actually understanding the nuances that make up a brand and create a catalyst and incubator of culture. A brand requires a two way communication, the staff need to ‘buy into the brand’ and the customer base need to ‘align with the brand’. Staff are brand clones, speak brand, hear brand and only see your brand. Every successful brand even more so newer progressive brands see the need for employee culture.
I have a mission statement therefore I am a brand
No; afraid not
The easiest way to think about a brand is threads, each of these threads are representative of sectors within your business.
The threads all weave together to create a tapestry that is your overall brand perception, the brand identity is shadowed by the market back to the brand, that narrative needs to align with the brands market perception objective.
This in essence goes back to the age old saying ‘A brand is not what you say it is, although what your market says it is’
Your brand -
You have an overall look and feel to your brand, how did it begin?
How do you begin a brand?
Does it start with a name?
Does it start with a concept?
Does it start with a gap in the market?
What is your brands objective?
What’s in a name?
Everything is and nothing is in a name - Virgin could be viewed as the most ludicrous of names yet it powers one of the world's single most powerful brands.
What is in colour?
Everything and nothing is in colour, the Virgin Red is the visual trademark, synonymous with identifying the brand yet does it convey a message?
I could blow my own trumpet; say zest exceeds Virgin in brand identity communication, I could say our name and colour scheme are far more intrinsically linked to our entire brand communication.
Is that now a brand?
Does that now give zest a percentage chance of success and does it create brand culture?
A name and colour scheme that match a mental picture, cool so we have some predefined visual communication going on, this of course is great, yet does it make zest a brand?
When you are designing your brand and that is what you do, from the ground up a brand is planned, thought about, argued over and really it is a massive job to put a brand together. Once you have your brand concept down pat, happy with the message the identity is conveying, at market, precipice of launch are you a brand?
Your over all conceptualised message is a thread - Although this is an important thread, and like all weaving once a thread is broken an unravelling begins.
When a customer talks to a sales person - that is a brand thread, what is the brand message, look, feel what is put forward that will be shadowed back. That is the sales thread brand.
When something goes wrong - when a customer contacts you and speaks to a support person, this is the support brand again what message, look and feel is being broadcast and what message may be shadowed back.
This concept goes throughout the business and is not limited to human asset, brand identity and communication is a layered beast.
Next time someone says a brand starts with a name, say No! I do not believe that is correct; ‘a brand starts with culture’ what culture are you going to be promoting, and how is that culture going to be perceived in the market and will your customer base wish to align, enrich and buy into that culture.