What is a Brand, Really?

The American Marketing Association defines a brand as a “Name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s goods or service as distinct from those of other sellers.”

To further define a brand— it is a unique design, sign, symbol, words, or a combination of these, working together to create an image that identifies a product and differentiates it from its competitors. Over time, this image becomes associated with a level of credibility, quality, and satisfaction in the consumer’s mind. It is the perception and emotional connection, good or bad, that your customers or prospects have about you.

The definition is very precise and a bit sterile, but it is spot on. I feel like I still talk to lots of people who say they understand what their brand is and what a brand is, in general, but they have never done a brand development or fully developed their brand. They may understand very basic brand elements— be the best in their industry, have outstanding customer service, produce great products or services. These are all good things your company should have (they are no-brainers really). All companies should absolutely be best, outstanding and great but sometimes it is not enough.

Your brand encompasses EVERYTHING. I know that is a very vague statement but it is true. Think about everything you do as a company—your literature, business cards, website, advertising, social media, events, photos, customer service, content, sales calls, customer experience and anything else I may have missed. This is worth keeping in mind—once people have a perception of your brand, it is going to be the perception forever…or, at least, for a very long time.

Think about the brands you know and love. What do you love about them? Why do you love them? How do you identify and identify with them? Why do you identify them (in your mind) in a certain way?

The reason I was giving this topic some thought is that I heard Danica Patrick lamenting that the term “sexy” was being used to describe her. “Can’t you use another word to describe me” is what she asked. I get frustrated when I hear her say this because this word is being used to describe her, not because of a sexist twist to the story about her, but because this is how she has portrayed the Danica Patrick brand for many years now. With her choice of sponsors, commercials and photos, they seem to outweigh the serious Danica Patrick race car driver brand and image she says she wants to portray. Whether or not there is an element of sexism in how she is portrayed, she made a willing choice to join in and contribute to that sentiment. No way around it—it IS her brand. She has made a lot of money from the “sexy” brand and that is fine…but understand it. It IS your brand and you have profited mightily from it. It is the brand she developed over the years. (I find it to be a shame because she is truly a trailblazer and I think her brand could be so much more…and so much more valuable.)

                       

On the opposite side of the spectrum, I think about Tiffany and Co. They are so consistent; I do not think I can find a single example of straying from their core brand values. Their products, look, service, customer experience…their everything…is unmistakable. They are fiercely protective of their brand, even when they speak at a non-Tiffany and Co. event. They control every aspect of their brand and do so with the long-term benefit in mind.

       

I like the way they brand!

So…what is a brand, really? It is EVERYTHING. It is everything that contributes to the perception your customers and prospects have about your company. It is vitally important that you plan for it.

Please contact Anna Brice at Pinnacle Peak Marketing, Scottsdale AZ about Marketing for Small/Medium Business.

Email: anna@pinnaclepeakmarketing.com
Phone: 480-661-0292
Website: http://pinnaclepeakmarketing.com

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About Anna Brice, Pinnacle Peak Marketing

I am an Independent Marketing Services Provider and Principal of Pinnacle Peak Marketing. Pinnacle Peak Marketing provides companies, small and large, the opportunity to utilize a reliable outsource marketing resource and take advantage of the flexibility of the full menu of marketing services we provide. Clients can pick and choose the precise services they require and only contract for those specific services. This is what I refer to as On-Demand Marketing Services. Our work includes long and short-term projects or can be done on an hourly, retainer or project-by-project basis. I am a marketing professional with 13 years experience in the travel industry and 11 years in marketing. My past experience includes marketing management roles at Sony Electronics, Fujifilm and GoDaddy.com. I have worked in every level of marketing and the experience at each level has served me well. I continue to learn and in marketing today, the changes are so swift and dramatic, that one must continue to learn in order to survive and thrive. I work with a group of professionals and we work together and separately and are able to provide a wealth of knowledge and resources as a combined group. My husband, Ed and I also have two vacation rentals in Scottsdale and one vacation rental home in Edgartown- Katama in Martha’s Vineyard. We rent these properties through our company, BREO Vacation Rentals (www.breovacationrentals.com). It is great fun and we have been very lucky with great renters. We have had only one bad experience, so we really can’t complain. We have been very lucky to get many repeat renters (all of our properties now have had repeat renters), so we feel like we must be doing something right. We do try hard, that’s for sure. I am never far from marketing, between Pinnacle Peak Marketing and BREO Vacation Rentals. I enjoy it, love it and have a goal to help companies grow; connect those companies with their customers and their customers to them.
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