Brand what?

Have you ever been lost in the maze of terminology that surrounds brands? You’re not alone.

Brand spirit, brand personality, brand experience, brand model, brand spine, brand amplifier, brand stewarship, brand image, brand identity, brand architecture, brand life, brand blueprint, brand idea, brand culture, brand ambition, brand strategy, brand implementation, brand equity, brand evolution, brand extension …

(…the list is all from “branding” group web sites from around the world.)

Now I work with brands and I can’t figure out what some of these mean, so heaven help any “mere mortal” business people who have to navigate the morass of terminology that litters the landscape. Maybe its time to add a new term to the above list – brand junk! Like space junk, it floats around and occasionally comes to earth landing on something, usually with less than desired consequences.

Honestly it’s hard to be immune from brand-itis (there’s another one). The sheer numbers of people jumping on the brand wagon (and another one) make it almost impossible to get noticed, and so we try and turn our terminology into products to make them seem different and get attention. Or maybe because a vast majority of brand practitioners come from a creative background they just can’t help themselves. Whatever the reason, we shouldn’t!

Fact is there are plenty of things out there already that are part of the brand, so there really isn’t any need to come up with new packaging for what we already know (and honestly that’s what most of that list above is). Core values, vision, mission, promise, company charters, culture and the like – all already exist, and are all important parts of your brand. (I have talked about some of them in other blogs here, and here.)

So when you strip away all the smoke and mirrors, what’s left? As intangible and annoyingly hard to define as it is, what’s left is – just brand. Maybe if we get rid of the junk around it we can start having useful conversations about what that really is and what role it plays in an organisation.

See you next week.

Alignment is Michel’s passion. Through her work with Brandology here in Australia, and Brand Alignment Group in the United States, she helps organisations align who they are, with what they do and say to build more authentic and sustainable brands.

To read more Michel Hogan blogs, click here.


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