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Brands are everything. But what are they really?

Brands have the power:

To make humans laugh | To make humans cry To bring humans together | To keep humans apart To make humans sell things | To make humans buy things

To start movements | To stop movements To build nations | To destroy nations To harm the world | To save the world

What brands are not & I’m sure you’ve heard it all

- A brand is not a logo

- A brand is not a trademark

- A brand is not a product

- A brand is definitely not marketing

- A brand is most definitely not advertising

If brands are everything. What is a brand?

Let’s start here — a quick exercise for you to do — complete the dots.


I truly believe … I value … People love me because … People may not like me because … People can count on me to … I make people feel … I contribute to my team, my community by …

Now replace the “I” with your business or brand.

Do you get the idea?

Why the confusion?

Understandably people are confused because if you Google “what is a brand” this is what you get.

A brand is a type of product manufactured by a particular company under a particular name. A 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.

Which is exactly what we said it isn’t.

The new definition for a “brand”

In the true spirit of Wabi Sabi — perfect imperfection — there is no flawless definition for a brand. We believe it lies somewhere in the combination of these definitions.

Purpose or Why: the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.

Values: guiding principles or standards of behaviour; one’s judgement of what is important in life.

Experience: practical contact with and observation of facts or events.

Connection: a relationship in which a person or thing is linked or associated with something else.

Belief: an acceptance that something exists or is true

Your brand is ultimately what humans believe you are.

So I had some fun putting together a new definition based on the above key “brand” words to define why brands are everything to us.

Here you go in all its imperfection:

Brand definition: Your brand is the space I hold in my mind for what you mean to me

WHAT IS A BRAND (the complex version): A brand is as an organisation, product or service that owns a space in someone’s mind where its purpose & values are recognised by the person. Over time through consistent experiences with the product or service they will form a connection, associative memories & ultimately a belief that defines what the product or service means to them.
WHAT IS A BRAND: (the simple version) A brand is the space someone holds in their mind for what your organisation, product or service means to them.

It’s a messy business — the path to discovering your brand purpose and a long journey of applying consistency in communication & dedication to that purpose to build & hold a space in your consumers’ minds.

Image by JR Korpa on Unsplash


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