Posted by Andrew VanderPloeg
There is a lot of confusion out there surrounding the word "brand". People use the word differently, but frequently, it's one of the following definitions:
Brand (Image) - Many people use the word brand to refer to a logo. That graphic or word mark that represents an organization. We all know these. They are the iconic logos like the: Swoosh, Golden Arches and the Apple with the bite out of it. They are also the powerful word marks like: Microsoft, Coca-Cola and Google.
Brand (Experience) - When others use it, ourselves included, the word 'brand' means a lot more. The definition we use around here for brand is as follows: “The perception one holds after coming into contact with you and your organization”. It is a holistic understanding of the brand that incorporates all aspects of an audiences interactions with your organization. Whether it is the purchase of a product or service, product support, advertising materials, phone systems, website or even your real-world location, every aspect of how you do business lends itself to the impression left in your audiences mind. The logo is an important part of a brand as it is the visual hook which people tie their brand impressions to in their mind, but we don't consider it the brand proper.
I say all this to encourage an appreciation for the fact that the word 'brand' is just one of those words that have a lot of baggage and varied understandings around it. So when you or we use it, it's important to clarify what it is that you mean when you say it. We talk about branding a lot on this blog, my hope is that this clarification will help provide some much needed context to all the things we say about it here.