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What is “brand”? Everything can be a brand

What is “brand”? I feel the need to clarify what I mean with this word because often people tend to get confused and exchange or overlay a lot of different concepts to this specific one.

“Brand” is not – and should never be used as – a synonym of “logo” or “trademark”: those concepts are very different. Nevertheless the logo/trademark can be seen as the visual synthesis of the universe of values that a brand represents, but that is another chapter of this story…
The concept of “brand” doesn’t match and overlap completely with concepts expressed by each single artwork, product, means of communication or strategy approach related to a trademark.

“Brand” is multidimensional variable, it is a term that includes conceptuallty not only all the artworks, products, means of communication and strategy approaches related to a trademark or a subject, but also its history, its facilities, the experience of people that had or will have a relationship with this subject and everything that can be related to it, all expressions of its referring universe of values.

Everytime I have to synthesise the definition of “brand”, I like to quote Colin Bates who in his book “Building Brands” wrote that “a brand is a collection of perceptions in the mind of the consumer”, so it’s something, a sort of “allure”, that derives from having a direct or indirect contact with the subject or at least one of its expressions.

Why am I talking about “the subject”? Because anything can be or become a brand. Usually we connect this term with a company, a product or a service, but it can be associated with a person, a city, a territory, an ONG or a charity, an abstract concept [ex. “pure new wool” or “futurism”]…

Building up a brand that can be strong and charismatic is becoming a fundamental matter for every subject that would have a place in the market – whatever is the referred market in question – for 3 simple reasons:

  1. People have too much choice and too little time
  2. Many of the offers have similar characteristics
  3. We tend to base our purchasing decisions on pure convictions

So we need to have a “brand” and to follow the advice of Tom Peters when he says “You have to stand out if you want to move up”.

Does your organisation or product/service have a strong and charismatic brand? If you are not sure, we can figure it out together. 😉

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