Understand Brand Better And How It Works
Nowadays, "brand" has become a popular term often used casually and without proper comprehension. As a result, its significance has been diluted, and people mistakenly believe that branding is solely a marketing tactic. However, branding is much more complex than that.
By understanding the workings of branding and its implementation, you can develop a profound understanding of its value. This article aims to provide you with a fundamental understanding of how branding functions, illustrating its importance in business, product, and personal branding.
Let's define it. With the vast array of definitions out there, it's apparent that there is no real consensus, and I find this is the most substantial reflection on it, a definition I have crafted:
A brand is an emotional connection that influences our behaviour and action.
The average person's concept of a brand is often linked to its aesthetics, messaging, and perception. Despite this, these notions persist in popular understanding, even though the lack of real comprehension results in unintended consequences. Expressions like "I'm creating a brand", "I am a brand," or "we're already savvy with our brands" are frequently used, but the accuracy is questionable.
Brand - What it looks like
Considering the definition above, here is what a brand looks like, it's made up of connection points and connections. This is the real view:
I know it's intense, right? Well, each connection point presents something: a product, people, a logo, an animal, a job, mum, Apple, fruit, whatever it is. In the middle is You, and the lines you see are the emotional connections that connect to you; it's the meaning we attach to them.
Note this, the strength of those connections plays a significant role in how we adopt that which we connect. So, for example, a higher affinity to an Apple iPhone will result in different behaviour and action than a Banana toy phone.
Now let's look at a simplified version:
Notice on the right-hand side; there is YOU, and looking to the left at one of three categories; an object, a company or a person(s). What connects you are the emotional connections between the two. The connection is a two-way connection.
Imagine that connection like a 'multi-wired connection'; let's take that connection and cut it open to reveal inner wires. Zooming into that connection may look something like this:
Brand Connection - Microwires
There are perhaps many more here; however, this gives you the gist. Notice how within it, we have various wires that make up this overall connection. If we cut one of these primary connections, we'd find even more microwires that make up specific instances. For example, take Vision.
Primary Connection: Vision
- A vision statement
- "Create a Just World"
- Specific behaviours
- Treating people with kindness
- Actions that resulted from set Vision
- "We give everyone a chance; we all deserve it."
All of these connections create the depth and strength of the Brand and depending on what was connecting to, be it a product, your business, a company, another human, an object, our children, or a Gucci bag, how strong our affinity to it reflects how we behave and react.
A Brand Example
A brand is the core element that everything stems from; it's the innermost substance which connects all with it. What might a Brand look like in relation to a business? Take a look at this diagram.
Notice the concentric circles of business. Brand begins at the core, and as we work outward, it directs the company, the visuals, the marketing and anything between or after.
Let's take Apple, for example, and apply this understanding to it.
The solid lines present the brand connection itself, and the dashed lines illustrate the micro links that also are in place with varying strengths. I haven't made this image any more complex for ease of understanding of what is happening, and I hope it's giving you a deeper look at Brand.
A brand is not created.
To the final point here: Brand is not created as it already exists. It may be lower in its strength, but it is still there. Through our experiences, choices and desires, we strengthen that Brand. It's our job to influence how that connection is being built because if we don't, others dictate what it means.