With regard to internet marketing, the word “brand” is used quite frequently – certainly much more so than in years past (as it would pertain to traditional marketing and promotional methods).  The most common references have to do with brand exposure, brand recognition, brand visibility, and so forth.  What, really, is a brand?

According to the Tronvig Group, ‘branding’ is what you are (as opposed to ‘marketing’ being what you do).  Forbes, on the other hand, states that a brand is what your prospect thinks of when he/she hears your business name; it is everything the public thinks they know about your name brand offering both factual and emotional.

The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) of the United Kingdom has a more extensive definition of what a brand is, as follows:  A brand can be a trade name, a sign, symbol, slogan or anything that is used to identify and distinguish a specific product, service or business. But a brand is much more than this; it can also be a ‘promise of an experience’ and conveys to consumers a certain assurance as to the nature of the product or service they will receive and also the standards the supplier or manufacturer seeks to maintain. For example, a ‘brand’ might focus on exclusivity of design; or perhaps excellence of customer service or maybe high moral standards in its dealings with suppliers; or perhaps a combination of these and other values. This guaranteeing function is not created overnight; it is usually hard won in the marketplace and develops over time.

The Marketing Blog provides a thorough definition of a brand, saying (in part): It is the emotional and psychological relationship you have with your customers. Strong brands elicit opinions, emotions, and sometimes physiological responses from customers.

The Marketing Blog’s post also goes on to provide a quote from a book by Daryl Travis that says, “a brand isn’t a brand until it develops an emotional connection with you.”  The blog clarifies further by stating that logos are not brands, they are merely representations of brands.

Again quoting The Marketing Blog because I really enjoyed their post about what a brand is, they go on to say that a brand is the cornerstone.  All other “stones” set in the process of constructing your business will be placed in direct reference to that cornerstone, and that your brand determines the position and strength of your entire marketing framework.

In most cases, a company’s logo (visual representation of their company’s name, purpose, products, etc.) evokes emotional responses in prospects and customers.  This means that the logo (or brand name) has established a brand in the minds of consumers.  For example:

  • A small, cartoonish Roman with a spear stuck through two pizzas can cause you to hear “Pizza! Pizza!” in your head (Little Caesar’s).
  • The name AFLAC, especially when displayed alongside a white duck, brings to mind “AHH-FLACK!!” commercials.
  • For the older crowd, FedEx’s name and image conjure up their old slogan, “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.”
  • A somewhat weak example on the negative side would be the fact that many, many vehicle owners will never purchase Firestone tires for their cars, simply because the manufacturer had a bad batch that infrequently blew out or shredded off the rim at high speeds.

If you look at a company’s name or logo and feel or think anything at all, that company has created a brand name or brand logo that has established itself in the branding world, and the way you think and feel about that name or logo is the company’s brand (on your mind or heart).