Meet Jane: What is a brand?
Is a brand a logo? A tagline? An icon?
If you said yes, you’re correct – but you’re wrong.
What makes up a brand?
A logo, a tagline, an icon – these are all elements that make up a brand, yet, they aren’t the brand alone.
Lamb, Hair and McDaniel’s MKTG have no fewer than 13 definitions for branding in some form or fashion, all dealing with the different aspects that contribute to the overall brand.
Seth Godin defines a brand as “the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.”
You don’t have to look far to understand that a brand is greater than the sum of its parts.
Since starting in my current position as the senior writer for a marketing communications department in a global company, I’ve had the opportunity to work extensively with branding – from supplementing branding guidelines with messaging to introducing new branding elements for online media.
Working with sage colleagues, I’ve also had the chance to learn a lot from their experiences. Recently, the chief marketing officer for the parent company presented an analogy to explain the meaning of a brand. She introduced the audience to Jane.
1) The Name
A company name, like a person’s, is the first identifying feature. This moniker is a organization’s, or person’s, initial outwardly presence. Jane is Jane as Aubia Communications is Aubia Communications.
2) The Logo/The Signature
Jane’s signature is equivalent to a company’s logo. Just as her signature differentiates her from other Janes, a logo is individual to a business. As Jane is careful where she signs, organizations take legal precautions to protect their logos.
3) Creative Identity/Physical Attributes
Jane has blonde hair, green eyes and a medium build. These are her physical attributes, which are comparable to a company’s creative identity. Aubia Communications’ creative identity is purple and gray with sans-serif font.
4) Everything Else
If Jane were to fill out one of those online dating profiles, she would be completing the “everything else” portion of herself – her studies in anthropology, her interest in Celtic folklore, her intense love of Bluegrass music. Just as a company’s culture, value, policies, even its packaging and telephone greetings make up the rest of its brand.
What does your brand say?
A brand, therefore, is all the pieces, tangible and intangible, that are visible to the stakeholders. How does your whole package represent your organization’s brand?