The Brand Evolution

Let's talk about "brand."

I would be hard-pressed to find a subject that is as misunderstood as is branding. This confusion is easy to understand since the term "brand" has evolved to mean different things over time.

Many marketers cite the first brand as being that used by ranchers to identify their cattle. I argue that - although it wasn't called a brand back then - the seals used by nobility on their correspondence may have been an earlier use of branding.

The branding of cattle or use of royal seals gave "brand" a physical presence, which has carried on in the minds of some today who believe that a brand is nothing more than a logo.

The next stage in branding evolution came along when corporations began creating their brands. They they owned their corporate reputations. Most of the rest of us had little evidence to disprove them and took it at face value that they were what they said they were.

Today, with the onset of digital and social platforms, "brand" has evolved again.

A brand is, quite simply, whatever someone believes your business to be. Every interaction a customer or employee has with you or your company informs their belief about your brand.

Brands are in the hands of the public and the perceptions individuals have of you.

Does this mean that you shouldn't bother trying to establish your brand or create a logo?

Absolutely not!

It means that as you figure out what you want to stand for - what you want people to think of you - you can't only think of a tag line or slogan. You have to think about how you're going to deliver on your brand promise.

Think about all the points-of-contact customers have with you. Do you have a storefront? An online store? Website? Social media accounts? Phone? Mail service? Newsletter or other email contact? What else?

Is each interface created and managed to deliver on your brand?

And, since we're talking about delivery, who is delivering on your brand? Your brand isn't only external. Do you have employees or partners? How are you expressing your brand to them? What policies or processes do you have in place that support your brand? Training programs? Hiring, retaining and reward processes?

There is so much that goes in to creating a brand. Don't even think about your logo until you've got your brand sorted out.

Till next time,


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