I’ve been to a number of events recently where people have been talking about brand – how to create it, how to manage it and the importance of it. Not once have I actually heard an accurate description of what brand is… of the last three presentations I’ve seen on the topic one didn’t mention this at all, one touched on it and the third just got it wrong.
Let’s deal with some of the myth’s of branding:
Myth #1: Your brand is what a company says and thinks about itself. It’s not!
The second myth of brand: It can be created by marketing. It can’t [at least not directly].
Brand myth #3: you can trade on your brand. You can’t! [Well, you can, but I wouldn’t recommend it as a strategy!]
Your brand is what your various audiences [or publics] associate with your logo, your website, your adverts, your company name. Your brand may differ between audiences [the truth is that you may want it to differ] depending on your relationship with that audience. For example, you may want your customers to think you are an edgy and progressive company, but want investors to see you as conservative and financially prudent… a safe pair of hands.
Brand is not something that can be defined by a company’s marketing department. It can’t tell people what to think about your company [although some try]. A business uses promotion and public relations to try to convince them to see your company in the way that you want them to but, ultimately, you there is no way for it to dictate how audiences perceive its brand through marketing alone.
The truth is that everything a company does impacts on your brand. The way it communicates, the quality of your product and service, the interactions between staff members and a company’s various publics, the way it looks [everything from your logo to the way in-store representatives are dressed]. The extent to which a company lives and breathes the values that are the foundation of the company will also determine its brand.
I’ll write more about understanding and managing a brand in future posts, but if you want to know what your company’s brand is my advice is to ask your publics. If the response does not match with the way you’d like your company to be seen drop me a line to firstname.lastname@example.org.
More Marketing MythBusters posts
#3 | Content Is NOT King