What is a Brand?

“Products are made in the factory, but brands are created in the mind.” Walter Landor

Your brand is not your logo. This is only the physical aspect – the identifier. In communication theory, it is the “signifier”. It works to signal a set of meanings, promised experiences, expertise, knowledge, creativity or whatever your business stands for.

Each of these things are what is “signified” by the logo. The power of a brand is only released in the mind of the consumer.

The Power of a Strong Brand

Imagine I give you a bar of soap.

It is an ordinary-looking cake of white soap, like hundred of others you have seen.

You smell it. It smells like… soap.

Now think about the soap for a second. What words come to mind?

Maybe the words you thought of were ‘clean’. Fresh. Pure. Hygiene.

What if you were to tell you that the soap is Imperial Leather.

Now what comes to mind?

Is it Luxury? Wealth? A Cruise-liner?

What if I told you that it is not Imperial Leather. It is Body Shop soap.

Now what comes to mind?

Ethical. Compassionate. Not tested on animals. Environmental.

That is a brand.

The Brand is the set of perceptions that are unlocked by your name, your symbol, or your signifiers.

The brand exists in the mind of the prospect or customer.

What the brand unlocks are associations including:

  • Personality
  • Higher Order Goals
  • Archetypal stories and mythology
  • Story of struggle, and success
  • Culture
  • How customers see themselves

A strong brand  works to tap into the collective unconscious and release a set of universal, archetypal stories. A brand is a fairy tale. It has a hero and a villain, a struggle against adversity, human spirit, emotion, vigour, and lasting value.

The strong brand can be globally relevant, because it represents aspects of human experience, which we all share, irrespective of the culture in which we were raised.

 

Photo by Jess Watters from Pexels