What Constitutes A Brand?

As many of our regular readers will know, at B2B International we have a great deal of experience in the branding market. In fact we have over 30 years experience in industrial branding, and have written many a tome on the subject (most recently “The Power Of industrial Brands“). Therefore, it was with great interest that we stumbled across this post on Seth Godin’s blog last week. The post below covers what Godin feels constitutes a brand – we feel he has hit the nail on the head. What do you think? Post your views on what you feel constitutes a brand in the comments box at the bottom of this article.

What’s a brand?

I think it is the product of two things:

[Prediction of what to expect] times [emotional power of that expectation].

If I encounter a brand and I don’t what it means or does, it has zero power. If I have an expectation of what an organization will do for me, but I don’t care about that, no power.

Fedex is a powerful brand because you always get what you expect, and the relief you get from their consistency is high.

AT&T is a weak brand because you almost never get what you expect, because they do so many different things and because the value of what they create has little emotional resonance (it sure used to though, when they did one thing, they did it perfectly and they were the only ones who could connect you).

The dangers of brand ubiquity are then obvious. When your brand is lots of things (like AOL became) then the expectations were all over the place and the emotional resonance started to fade. If the predictability of your brand starts to erode its emotional power (a restaurant that becomes boring) then you need to become predictable in your joyous unpredictability!

If you want to grow a valuable brand, my advice is to keep awareness close to zero among the people you’re not ready for yet, and build the most predictable, emotional experience you can among those that care about you.

Click here to view the full post on Seth Godin’s blog. For more information on branding, and branding research, visit www.b2binternational.com/branding.html

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