Not everyone understands what a brand is or has another idea about what a brand is. We define a brand as a unique message about who you are and what you stand for.
We’ve talked a lot about brands here, but haven’t spent as much time on what a brand is not. Let’s take a couple minutes to dispel some of the misconceptions.
This one is confusing, because you often hear the term ‘brand name’ but let’s break that down. A name is important, but it’s not your brand. A brand is what people think of when they think about your company. For example, when people say, “I want a brand name shirt,” what they mean is they want a shirt made by a company with a name I trust because of their brand. That brand could be quality or durable or high end.
It’s not a brand, but a visual way to identify a company, person or product. People see an image or wordmark that stands for your company and they can connect the dots, but without a brand message behind it, a logo is just some fancy writing.
Now we’re getting closer. A tagline, catchphrase or slogan is closer to a brand, but still not quite there. This is a great way to distill a brand into a word or short phrase to share with your audience to explain who you are.
A website, ad, facebook page, twitter account, merchandise line or anything else
These are all great examples of brand touchpoints. Like the above, they are ways to communicate something about your brand, but without a core brand established, these touchpoints are at best misaligned and at worst meaningless.
Brand first, then go. We say it in the office enough times to annoy each other, but it’s the best way to create a meaningful impact for a business or person. Don’t settle for a slick logo or tagline. Find out who you are and what you stand for before moving onto creating those touchpoints.
If you still have some questions about what a brand is and isn’t, try me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also download our personal branding eBook to get started yourself!