This question was recently posed to a LinkedIn group to which I belong: What is a brand?

Not surprisingly, the responses were varied and, depending on one’s perspective, correct. If ever there was a loosy-goosy marketing term, “brand” is probably it.

The question got me thinking, and I submit the answer lies in one or more of three key areas, depending on who you’re asking:

  1. The Brand Identity: this strategic platform is developed by internal company management and answers the questions, “what do we want this brand to be, and what are the steps we need to take to ensure it happens?”  To these brand stakeholders, this is a “Brand.”
  2. Activation via Brand Touch Points: how the various brand interactions with target audiences (customers, prospects, influencers) are delivered will affect what those audiences actually believe about the brand, regardless of what was planned in the Brand Identity. Delivery of the touch points should be in sync with the brand identity platform. To those responsible for delivering these touch points, this is a “Brand.”
  3. The Brand Image: As target audiences interact with the brand touch points, they form an impression about the brand — good or bad — depending on their individual experience with the touch point(s). To those creating an opinion as a result of these experiences, this is a “Brand.”

“Brand” is both a process and a result.

It’s an interesting question to post to an Internet social group, but the more important question is what, specifically, is your brand? What’s your brand identity? How aligned are the delivery of your brand touch points with this identity? What’s your brand image being formed this very minute by your target audiences?

Now, those are some good questions to answer, aren’t they? If you need help getting to your answers, give us a shout here at 34 North.