From St Mary Portas and that nice Jeremy Gutsche down to some expert on the internet you’ve never heard of. But what is a brand? With so many experts saying so much, it’s surprising that there’s so much mystery about it. And if making a strong brand follows a formula, then why are so many falling by the wayside?
On top of all the talk, there’s a long, long list of terms that go hand-in-hand with branding: Brand Equity, Brand Strategy, Brand Identity, Brand Engagement, Brand Vision, Brand Values, Brand Building, Brand Awareness… the list goes on and on, but what does it all mean?
First of all, let’s answer the question ‘what is a brand?’…
Branding then and now
The original term ‘branding’ comes from the Wild West, when ranchers marked their cattle with a sizzling iron stamp to identify them – like thatchers and masons had been doing for centuries. The ‘brand’ was the actual mark (or logo in today’s terms). Easy.
But through the growth of advertising and the increased sophistication of consumers, a brand has become much more than just a logo. If it were, you could remove it and the brand would cease to exist. Imagine Apple products and communication without their logo: still totally recognisable. The logo is just a symbol for the brand, it is the ‘mark’ that is burned onto their products.