What is a Brand? Why Does it Matter?

This isn't a question I get asked a lot. But it is a question I ask anyone we work with.

Why?

How you answer this question determines where your brand efforts (read time & money) get placed. Misunderstand what a brand is and you can find yourself spending time & money on things that may not matter as much as you thought.

What is a brand? It is certainly not a logo or icon.

A brand is the perception retained following the mix of experience one encounters with a person, or entity.

It has been a long held belief that brands are thoughts and ideas. True in part, but brands are more than just thoughts or ideas.

Thoughts and ideas without purpose behind them are scattered and inefficient.

Behind every set of good thoughts and ideas must sit a single minded purpose.

People perceive brands under the context of human characteristics. Ask someone to describe a loved brand and you are likely to get the description of a dear friend.

A good brand should embody purpose, thoughts, ideas and personality.

That's why at Blirt it's not just about good ideas. It's about good ideas that have purpose. It’s about good ideas expressed in a personality that fits the purpose.

Brands are a mix of the objective and subjective. To put it in a philosophical way (because that always makes it clearer.. sic!), brands are a mix of substance and form.

Substance is that which is foundational. Change the substance and you change the very foundation you are built on.

Form is the outward expression of the substance. Form is allowed to respond to change.

Purpose, thoughts and ideas are substance.

Personality is form.

That's why we say at Blirt; spirit (purpose) + mind (thoughts and ideas) + body (personality) = brand.

The best way to understand and build brands is in a personable way. Because, after all, people perceive brands under the context of human characteristics.

Here's where you can start to focus your time and money.

The personality of the brand is how you look, act or feel. In the personality bag goes logos, icons, avatars, sounds, smells, colours, fonts - any visual cue that brings to mind the purpose, thoughts and ideas that embody the brand.

Where does the majority of subjective arguing happen in marketing departments? Around colours, pictures, logos, icons, fonts and pictures.

Does it matter? Well, 'yes-ish', from a design and brand personality perspective (form). But, it in the scale of things it matters far less than the substance of the brand.

How you look might determine a first impression (which is important), how you act will determine a lifetime of relationship.

Get the weighting of time and money onto the right parts of your brand strategy and you will find your teams spending more time talking about how to be the brand and less time arguing about colour schemes.

Understanding brand, your brand, your competitors brand's and the consumer's desired brand is the first step in any serious marketing strategy.