Rebranding Branding

November 1, 2012

Rebranding Branding

Your logo is not your brand.
Your slogan is not your brand.
Your packaging is not your brand.

You are not your brand.

Anybody who has ever tried to peddle their wares in the last hundred years has heard and read dozens of little axioms about strengthening their brand.

“You gotta build your brand.”
“You need to develop your brand awareness.”
“Make sure it all aligns with your brand.”

Nine times out of ten, that’s the end of the lesson, followed up with a toothy smile and a wink.  That’s one to grow on, Champ.

As much as people love to trot out the word, “branding,” and all of the platitudes that go along with it, not too many people are keen on explaining what a brand really is.  So let’s take it straight to everybody’s favorite brain substitute, Wikipedia:

brand is a “Name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.” Branding began as a way to tell one person’s cattle from another by means of a hot iron stamp. A modern example of a brand is Coca Cola which belongs to the Coca-Cola Company.

Bam.  Knowledge.  All you need for a brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature and you have yourself a brand just like Coke.  Name?  Check.  Slogan?  Check.  Web site?  Check.  Logo?  Check.  Any other feature?  Check.  Branding complete.


Of course not.  Each of those things is important to a brand, but they are not–as separate parts or a combined whole–a brand.  Think of them as pieces of the well-tailored suit that the brand wears.  They are critical for making the proper impression, but a logo is no more a brand than a necktie is a salesman.

“Stop it,” I hear you say. “Stop telling me what a brand isn’t and get to the point.”

Okay, then.  If, by my prior instance, all of your words and pictures are the suit, what’s wearing the suit?  Almost the same thing that goes into a real suit.  Ideas, personality and culture.  Those are the things that truly make you distinct from other sellers.  Nothing on the planet will mark you more clearly than the ideas, personality and culture emitted by your company.

And I’ll tell you right here and now: Establishing a consistent idea, personality or culture is far more difficult than whipping up some ol’ logo.  It takes time, consideration, team work, focus and consistency over long periods of time.

So, to hear me tell it, a brand is your collection of ideas, personality and culture all wrapped up in a swaddling of logos, slogans and websites.  Right?  Well, not exactly.

“You’re doing it again.”

I know, but hear me out.  I’m getting somewhere.

All of that stuff–ideas, personality, culture, logos, slogans, websites and you–all help to generate a brand. But if you took all of that stuff and threw it into a vault, you still wouldn’t have a brand.  So here’s the payout: Your brand is all of that stuff, multiplied by the feelings they invoke in others. If people don’t feel anything when they see your branding, you don’t have a brand.

Re-Branding Branding

Building a brand isn’t about checking items off of a list until your branding efforts are ‘done’.  Your branding efforts are never done. Branding means winning the hearts and minds of clients and potential clients through word and deed, all tied together with the aforementioned stuff.  Like all things worth doing and having, it takes time and effort and attention, and there are no magic bullets or potions to do it for you.

That’s branding.

Now then:

“You gotta build your brand.”
“You need to develop your brand awareness.”
“Make sure it all aligns with your brand.”

And that’sone to grow on.  Chief.

Categories: Blog