What is a ‘brand’?

What is a ‘brand’?

It may be time to take a step back and think about this definition.

The backstory: The other day, we had beer with a small business owner.  Something he said caught us off-guard when we started talking about his brand.

When we asked him to describe his brand in under 15 seconds (you know, a short elevator ride) he said, “I don’t have a brand, I’m a service business. Service businesses don’t have a brand. You need a product to build a brand”.

Say what?! We had to stop, and quickly fix his thinking. 

A brand is not just a logo, not just a product, its not just a fancy tag line, it is much more.  There are many definitions of what a brand is, but one has stuck with us for some time now.  Ready for it?  You can use this one anytime during your next management meeting or to just throw your marketing guy or gal off.

A brand is what people say about your company when you’re out of the room.

Think about it for a minute.  A good brand has a good reputation.  It does not matter what you do, what you sell, who sells it, how you sell it, or what colours you used in your logo. It is what people say about your company when you are not in the room.  You may think this blog topic is a pretty ‘back to basics’ post, but that’s the point. Sometimes, we need to take a step back and really analyze what we are doing in business.

The best part about our conversation is that he shifted his thinking by the time he got to the bottom of his glass.  We felt it was important to not dismiss the most important part of his business – his reputation. 

It turns out that people love working with his company, so much so that most of his business comes from referrals. – he must be selling a good brand.