brand: (n.)

So, what is a brand? 

In 2018, it honestly depends on who you ask, right? Social media has turned branding into a buzzword that everyone has defined in their own terms. Some people immediately equate a brand with a logo or other visual branded assets, like a website. Others may consider it their public persona on the internet or in the minds of people. If you were to ask a marketing industry professional, they might begin to spill into this large, abstract definition that attempts to encompass all of the above. 

This ambiguity is frustrating. 

So, for the sake of all things byscottieo, I wanted to take the time to clearly define what a brand is, what it isn't and what it can be. 

A brand is a holistic manner of viewing how your business operates, how you relate to your consumers and connect with your customers. It is comprised. in part, of visual assets, like a logo or packaging, but that alone is not is a brand. Social media accounts, mailing lists, and any touchpoint all contribute, but again, not entirely a brand. Even if you add all of the components together, it still isn't really brand.

Often, I will compare a brand to a story or an abstract narrative. Now, please understand that is a two-part narrative. One side of the narrative is a story defined by the business, and this story is by far the most important component when crafting marketing messages. It can direct how you communicate in terms of tones in written content, colors in visual assets and framing for all branded content. It has the power to make your marketing messages compelling and can earn real engagement from people. It is how a business defines and differentiates itself in the marketplace.

However, that is only part of the story. The other side, and often barring the most influence, is the story that your consumers have constructed about your brand. Piecing together interactions at every touchpoint, the branded content that is published, and their experiences with a product, customers form their own idea about who is a brand is. While the logo and social feeds may help frame how they view a business, it cannot override their personal experiences. Failing to truly connect with consumers, costs money. Touchpoints are ultimately how people decide which brands are worthy of their patronage, loyalty, and recommendation. 

Together, both sides of the narrative form a complete brand. One side, you have the power to completely control. Own this. Invest in your brand and wield its power to stand out in the mind of people.