What is your brand?

There are many ways to define a brand. And not just your brand. Just ask a few people what the word brand itself means. You’ll hear it’s a logo, or a name, or a design. Or all three. A brand is also an asset on the balance sheet, a trademark, a mark seared into living flesh. You’ll also hear that a brand is whatever your audience perceives it to be.

Clear value signalling among competition and clutter is the starting point for brand building. It’s also the end point. You could say it’s the whole game.

In the C-suite brand is often seen as a synonym for reputation.

All these definitions are correct in various contexts.

In fact we instinctively understand what a brand is. It’s baked into our monkey nature as a basic survival trait. Branding is a consequence of our ability to instantly identify something of relevance.

In nature, distinct colours, shapes, sounds, motion and smells draw our attention to danger and opportunity. Branding also appeals to our senses.

 

Survival of the fittest

At its most basic level, your brand must flag value. It’s important because each day we’re exposed to literally thousands of brands.

Although it’s no longer necessary for our survival (except maybe for those of us in marketing), our primal ability to recognise value fast has a strong influence on our decisions.

Clear value signalling among competition and clutter is the starting point for brand building. It’s also the end point. You could say it’s the whole game.

Effective brand building requires identifying and communicating this value with consistency and pinpoint relevance in the context of every encounter.

Balancing perception and reality

What value should you signal? It differs for every brand and every context. Human understanding of the world is distorted by congenital bias and a long list of blind spots. We easily confuse perception with reality.

Brand builders can actually create value merely by signalling it. But this approach is not recommended. The effect of dishonesty is typically brief and shallow. Despite our inherited cognitive shortcomings, most people are incredibly attuned to value, or the lack of it.

Knowing this, the wholehearted brand builder earns people’s trust by scrupulously balancing perception with reality. Trust is required for society to thrive, and so it is with brands. Temptation to brag and exaggerate is to be resisted.

A mirror of reputation

So what is your brand? It’s your simple promise of the authentic value you offer. Effective brand building requires identifying and communicating this value with consistency and pinpoint relevance in the context of every encounter.

As every leader discovers, effective brand building is a challenge. The bigger your organisation gets, the harder it becomes to maintain brand consistency. That’s why it’s wise to invest effort to clarify and simplify your brand. It pays off because a clear promise is easier to amplify and share. And a kept promise enhances your reputation, which grows your organisation’s value.

Key takeaway: Your brand must instantly signify value

As brand builders we typically work with organisations seeking advantage for genuinely premium or innovative offerings. We also work with leaders who are determined to enhance the value of every aspect of their operations. Please contact us if you find this useful.

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