What Is A Brand?
A Brand is the “name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s product distinct from those of other sellers.” [Source]
A Brand is more than just aesthetic however and it is impacted by several key things. To start out let’s quickly define three key terms. Branding, Brand Promise & Brand Reputation
- “Branding” Defined as: The [aesthetic] marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products. [Source].
- “Brand Promise” Defined as: The primary, valued promise made by the larger institution. Also called a positioning statement or USP. The natural association or expectation (of service, product and/or quality) for a given business.
- “Brand Reputation” Defined as: The position a company brand occupies (within the minds of consumers). How a brand is acknowledged and perceived by customers.
It is understood that any successful brand is built on these key principles. Each one is important in its own right and will impact the Brands success. Crucial to the building and success of any Brand is the “Brand Promise”. This promise is the commitment by which consumers grade the brand.
For example: At Transition Marketing our Brand Promise is to educate, equip, support and maintain the branding and marketing resources for small businesses.
The concept of the Brand Promise, is essentially a company’s commitment. It is their “philosophy” and the direction of their company. It is their promise to the consumer and their Brand Reputation is linked directly to this promise.
A brand’s reputation is just like any other reputation. It is like yours and it is like mine. It is developed slowly through the various experiences others have with us. The more we keep our word, the better our reputation is right?
Likewise it is a businesses ability to keep to their Brand Promise and to fulfill the consumers expectations, that determines how solid their Brand Reputation is. It gives the consumer the ability to “expect”.
To further use the example above: if at Transition Marketing our Brand Promise is to educate, equip, support and maintain the branding and marketing resources for small business, then it is our ability to fulfill these things, that will determine the word that goes out about us and the reputation that we develop.
Every product or service you purchase is purchased for a reason and that reason is almost always linked to the Brand Reputation & Brand Promise being made:
- Purchasing no-name toilet paper? that is because it is less expensive, that is the brand reputation of the no-name brand. That is what is expected when the purchase is made.
- Purchasing “Charmin” brand toilet paper? That’s because it promises a “softer experience”. It may be more expensive, but a lower price was never part of the promise. A quality “cleaning” experience, however, was.
Both brands in the purchases above will be graded on their ability to keep to their promise. That is the Brand Reputation and it will be reflected in your choice the next time you go to make that purchase.
Brand Reputation Illustrated: Google VS Bing
While recently browsing one of our favorite social sites, Reddit, we came across the image below (credit to user: /r/engineeringguy) . At first it made us chuckle, then we gave our heads a shake and realized just how serious what we were looking at truly was.
In the instance below, a user attempted to find the name of a movie based on the description: “spy movie with little girl”. The search results below speak for themselves.
The difference between the two search engines is night and day. I for one know which search engine I would want my children using.
Google has long-held the title as the king of Search Engines. Other brands (Yahoo, Bing, Ask, Alta Vista) are more or less just a joke. However this is not about that. What is important to note here is the stark contrast in these companies ability to fulfill their Brand Promise. Let’s compare.
- Googles Brand Promise: Search the world’s information, including webpages, images, videos and more. Google has many special features to help you find exactly what you’re looking for.
- Fulfillment: A+. Google clearly fulfills their promise, providing clear (clean) and accurate search results that provide the user with the exact information being sought.
- Brand Reputation: Google is well-known as the go to engine for search results. Few if any users use other engines as a primary search tool. As the go to for almost all internet user’s their “AdWords” business generate massive revenue.
- Bings Brand Promise: Bing is a search engine that brings together the best of search and people in your social networks to help you spend less time searching and more time doing.
- Fulfillment: F. Bing fails so miserably in the example above that summer school won’t even do it any good. I would not trust Bing’s services and would never recommend them to anyone.
- Brand Reputation: Bing is joked about widely. It is the Search Engine equivalent of the Google+ social network and likely only used by Bing employees while being watched by their Bing employers. As such Bing generates a fraction of the revenue Google generates.
The example above is not to lambaste Bing (although it does a pretty good job). There are MANY variables to play into search engines and their ability to provide the answers we are looking for. However the example above is the perfect illustration of Brands making Brand Promises and the eventual Brand Reputation that occurs.
Your business will develop a Brand Reputation whether you like it or not. Customers will talk about your business. It may be positive, it may be negative and that is almost entirely up to you the business owner. You must take control of your business, its image and its reputation.
Every business requires a Brand plan. Business owners must take time to develop their brand and take control of their Brand Image. By carefully developing the brand, a business can go from simply surviving to succeeding.
Transition Marketing Services is a small business marketing firm in the Okanagan. Our passion Small Business Marketing. Educating and equipping small business owners with the tools and strategies to succeed. We have made it our priority to know Specialized Marketing. We keep up to date on what is new, what is available and what makes the most sense for businesses of all sizes and backgrounds. We recognize that every Small Business is unique, and their Marketing needs to be as well. Visit us at our website and let us know how we’re doing or if you have any questions.