What is a Brand?


The concept of a brand is very large and in many ways esoteric. However, I like to keep things simple. A brand is simply a promise or guarantee of uniqueness made to a customer. The best brands are those that communicate their uniqueness so well that when you think of a type of product or industry their name comes to mind.

Here are a few examples, when you need to blow your nose, you ask for a Kleenex. When you need a copier machine you ask for a Xerox. When you need to do an online search you “Google it.” These brands have been so well positioned in our minds until it is almost heresy to consider another product in the category they dominate.

Coca Cola is and anther great example. Have you ever wondered why it is called “the real thing?” Two words, brilliant branding. This phrase begs the question If Coca Cola is “the real thing,” what is everything else? The logical answer to this question is everything else that is not Coca Cola is a knock off, a fraud, a fake. Why? Because Coca Cola said so…over, and over again and so do all the people you know.
The last statement brings me to another point. While companies do their best to create and influence their brand, the people have the last say.

In the 70’s before Toyota became an industry leader in quality and sales, If you were to ask an American what they thought of Toyota or Japanese cars, most would say that they were an unreliable piece of junk. No matter how much they spent on advertising “Piece of Junk” was indeed their brand. Why? Because based on their experiences, this is what the people concluded and held in their conscious and subconscious mind.

As a business owner, speaker, consultant or coach you must consciously create your own brand. What unique promise will you make to your customer? What can they get from you that they can get nowhere else? This is your brand.