A definition of “brand” (it’s not your logo)


I think it’s helpful when speaking about branding to get some definitions clear. In this post we review what the terms “brand” and “branding” mean and what they do not mean.

What a brand is not ? To the average person in the street a brand is simply a logo. This probably comes from a simple deduction that if something is “branded” with a name or an icon then that name or icon therefore becomes a “brand”. However I would argue a wider meaning is actually preferable because a “brand” is not simply a graphic by which a company can be recognised. It goes much deeper.

What is a brand? There are many different definitions of "brand". Here are some of the ones I have found most helpful:

“Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” – Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon

“A brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service or organization” Marty Neumeier, writer and Director of Transformation, Liquid Agency

“A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.” Seth Godin, entrepreneur, author & speaker

I define brand as: “the meaning an audience attaches to an organisation, product or service”. Brand is meaning.

This meaning is not something which is ultimately defined by marketeers or the founders of a business because it is in the hearts and minds of their audiences. This meaning is defined by the audiences emotional response to any aspect of an offer. The truth is - you don’t own your brand. A potential buyer does. They create the meaning.