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Back to Basics: What is a Brand?

November 14, 2011

What is your brand? Is it just a logo, a tagline? Is it a storefront, a website? Perhaps your brand is an experience, an emotion that each ‘fan’ feels with each company interaction? We’ve spent a lot of time talking about digital marketing, holiday marketing, and social media marketing, but today I wanted to get back to the heart of everything we do here at Quaintise; branding.


Define Brand….

Speaking technically, and according to the American Marketing Association, a brand is a “name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers.”


I tell you what, that definition lacks quite a few important elements of a brand that can truly make or break your business success in today’s marketing. A brand is no longer just a ‘symbol or design,’ no longer just something to help consumers ‘identify the goods and services’ that you offer, or a way to ‘differentiate’ your business from another. No way, not anymore.


There are no more ‘customers’ or ‘consumers,’ there are ‘fans’ and ‘brand advocates.’ There are no more ‘taglines,’ there are story plots and promises.


Today, a brand is an entire story that is weaved into an experience that creates a lasting emotional connection with fans.


Sounds a bit complicated when you put it like that, right? The truth is, it can be extremely complicated, but at the same time it can be quite simple.


As Things Change, They Remain the Same

Many, many years ago there wasn’t as much attention paid to ‘branding’ a product and a business. If you went into a specific business for genuine reasons, you inherently created a flawless product that delivered on its unsaid promises, and your brand experience literally created itself.


In the beginning of Coca-Cola, way back in 1886, before the logo, before the music and marketing, there was just a soda and an experience. Even today, when a small start-up creates a favorable experience with fans, many times that start-up is bought out by a bigger corporation, the log and message might end up getting changed, but the experience remains the same. The corporation is buying the experience that has been successfully created by the start-up, and, of course, making money off of that successful brand.


While marketing and ‘branding’ has changed since 1886, the principles remain the same; create a superb product or offer excellent services, and remain consistent to that unparalleled service. Doing those two simple things can not only establish your brand, but establish your entire brand experience, which, in turn, will increase your brand advocates.