What is a brand?

What is a brand?

Posted by Stacey Pilcher

People talk about them. Companies want them. Wall Street admires them. But what is a brand?

A brand is not a logo. A logo is a symbol for a brand.

A brand is not a product. A product is something you get to make your life easier, better.

A brand is not a service. A service is something you get from someone to help you.

So what is it?

Is it . . . a promise?

Is it . . . an expectation?

From the age of the orginal mad men, Al Ries and Jack Trout, said, “A brand is a singular idea or concept that you own inside the mind of a prospect.” And David Ogilvy, “The Father of Advertising” described a brand as “The intangible sum of a product’s attributes: its name, packaging, and price, its history, its reputation, and the way it’s advertised.”

Then, isn’t a brand really a person’s feeling about a company, product and service? Think about any product you own. How you feel about the brand is based on every experience you encountered in obtaining the product. From your first impression, to sharing experiences with friend over a beer, to reading reviews, and then visiting the merchant or website to see it first-hand. Was the website interface, store, staff and the packaging consistent with expectations? If not how did that change your feelings? Maybe you weren’t ready to purchase and left, and later happened to read an article about the company’s focus in the community. Again your feelings changed. And maybe now impulse took over and you just had to have the product. Your experiences with the purchase process, billing, and product performance all impact your feelings as the brand continues to evolve.

Strong brands tie experiences together, so at each stage of consumer engagement, the brand is reinforced, right down to the five senses.

The latest trend in brand strategy development is using scent to strengthen the brand experience and there is science behind the strategy. Olfactory scientists (smelly scientists) say people smell first and that information goes directly to the brain centers of emotion and memory. “It finishes the emotion we are trying to create in the store,” said Robert Argueta, director of visual merchandising for the United Colors of Benetton.

When you think about your brand, think about how your customer feels. How you want them to feel. Make the experience consistent for all the senses and you’ll be creating a lasting impression and fulfilling your potential for growth.

Download “What is a Brand?”, click here.

To learn more about brand strategy follow me on twitter @pilcheretal or connect on LinkedIn.

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