3.6 billion answers to the question, “What is brand?”

3.6 billion answers to the question, “What is brand?”

There are about 3,580,000,000 Google search results for question “What is brand?” Which probably means in addition to some duplication, there are a good number of different takes on the answer to that question.

Which just goes to underline that there isn’t a “right” answer. And while I do have my own version of the answer it would be hubris of the first order to think that it was THE answer. At best it is an answer – there are others.

So what’s the best answer for you? It depends.

Nothing fits everyone all the time. Goals change. Environments shift. People come and go. Markets mature and sometimes die off completely. Regulations and legislation are rewritten. And that’s just the beginning of a very long list of things that could impact which answer is the right one for you.

There is a tendency to think in terms of absolutism. This is right. This is wrong. No room for grey. No room for this is right for now but maybe not forever.

When you are starting out, brand and identity to build awareness with customers might be where your focus needs to be.

As you mature and grow, so does an increased focus on brand’s relationship to internal culture.

New products and services in the mix underline the importance of brand’s overall alignment across it all.

Different ideologies, practice strengths and approaches will deliver different outcomes that will benefit your organisation at different times. The one constant is that you need to be the owner of your brand. No one person, agency or group will ever replace that.

My answer to the question is that brand is the result of the promises you keep. It’s not THE answer. It might be an answer that works for you. But that’s not for me to decide and maybe not the question to be asking.

A better question might be, “What do I need right now so I can keep building my brand?”

See you next week.

Michel is an independent brand analyst dedicated to helping organisations make promises they can keep and keep the promises they make – with a strong, resilient organisation as the result. She also publishes a blog at michelhogan.com. You can follow Michel on Twitter @michelhogan


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