What defines a powerful brand in people’s mind
You will find many definitions in the marketing literature. My favorite and most accurate comes from Allen Adamson, who was President of Landor in New York, the world’s premier branding consultancy:
“A brand is something that lives in your head. It is a promise that binds a product or service to a consumer.
– Allen Adamson, Brand Simple
Many people mistakenly think of a brand as a logo, slogan or visual identity. They are only symbols that recall what a brand represents. A brand, first and foremost, differentiates products. In fact, the word “brand” comes from the way herders could distinguish their cattle from someone else’s by the symbol carved into the animal’s hide.
Before the brands, nothing could be distinguished, especially in the centuries before mass production. The brands became the way local shoppers requested Louise’s pies, Gilles’s hats and Serge’s horseshoes.
Today, brands often shape our expectations for products and experiences. What do you expect when you think of an Apple, BMW, Nike or Coca-Cola product? Brands are shaped not just by what advertisers say about their products, but also by what we say to each
other through social media. More importantly, our experience with a brand shapes our expectations. A good or a bad experience is more powerful than a thousand advertisements.
So, in a very real sense, there is no “brand”, only the expectations that each of us carries within us about a branded product. In an age where many products are virtually indistinguishable, it is often the brand promise that creates the differentiation.
Take a brand you know (say Apple). Not a specific Apple product. Just Apple.
That’s the brand.
- Do you like or dislike Apple?
- Do you trust or distrust Apple?
- Is Apple hip or square?
- Is Apple fun or boring?
- Does Apple make you feel like an insider or just a member of the crowd?
- What are your expectations of something that says Apple?
- Do you recommend Apple to friends and family?
- Does “Apple” on a product make you more or less likely to buy it (the most important question of all)?
But as marketers, we know that a brand is much more than that. It signifies a contract, a relationship, a promise to the customer.
It’s not just about what colors to use and what logo to design. It’s about what you want your customer to think of you.
A brand is what the customer thinks it is. That’s the brand. It doesn’t matter what you try to put in it.
If you are very clear and have a very strong and distinct brand and positioning, for example. Disney, Tesla, Apple, etc., so hopefully what you think of your brand is what customers think it is.
But if your message is not so clear and you want your brand to mean something, but what customers think is something different. Guess who wins.
It’s the customers.
Your brand is what’s in the customer’s head.
Why is it important?
Often a customer does not know or does not have the time to evaluate a product in its entirety. Does it meet their needs, is it trustworthy, what about price, delivery, etc. Not to mention the comparison with hundreds of other competing alternatives.
So he or she will almost always make a decision based on what they think of a brand and how it meets their needs.
So a big part of what marketing, is is the effort to understand, build, and manage that relationship.
Modern marketing is about building a brand to be more relevant, personal and experiential. Thus, it easily connects with the target customer and becomes a part of their daily life.
Now, I’m going to give you my definition of a brand, for me that’s the definition of a brand:
I hope this will help you. I am happy to answer any questions in the comments.