What is a brand?

What is a brand?

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet… 

or would it?

In our earlier article we spoke about the importance of creating a personal brand. To reiterate, this concept is more important than ever in today’s world. 

But what is a brand?

In simple terms, a brand is whatever consumers think of when they hear a company or product name. It can be objective (Toyota is the world’s biggest carmaker) or emotional (Toyota is a great, reliable car). It is often both, and the emotional attributes we associate with a brand are rarely grounded in fact.

Here’s an example – how would you choose between buying a BMW or a Mercedes Benz? If you’re practical, you look up their prices, fuel efficiency, and maintenance costs. But your decision is also influenced by purely emotional factors. Is an S-Class more fuel efficient than a 7-series? Does an M3 have more horsepower than an SLK? You probably don’t know that, and it doesn’t matter. BMW is aggressive, sporty, and the “ultimate driving machine.” That’s BMW’s brand. Mercedes is luxurious, comfortable, and flashy. BMW also makes luxurious cars and Mercedes also makes sports cars, but most people tend to forget those. Instead, they rely on whatever they can remember first about the brand to make their purchase decision. Because of this, every company has spent years and valuable money building their brands.

This same philosophy can be applied to individual personalities. Every celebrity today has a carefully chosen personal brand, which is why when they do something “out of character,” it makes headlines. Ryan Reynolds’ brand is goofy, charming, and irreverent. Kanye West’s brand is snobbish, but immensely talented. Bill Gates’ brand is rich, humble, charitable. These started out as natural extensions of their personalities but today, they have teams of managers whose sole job is to make sure they do things consistent with their personal brand.

So how can you apply this to yourself? 

There are two simple rules: be true to yourself, and always think of the big picture. We will elaborate on both these in upcoming articles, but for now here are the basics:

  1. Do not try to be someone or something you are not. It is vital that we are true to ourselves. Remember that when we pretend and/or claim to be something we are not, our actions will speak louder than our words and the world will see us as being inconsistent at best, or outright liars at worst.
  2. Think of the bigger picture. This is very important because industries change over time, and this is a great way to keep up with those changes.