A brand isn't something that you create; a brand is something that you become. While it takes intention on the behalf of the people who make up the business, it's in the minds of the consumer that a brand becomes. A brand becomes when the right memories are implanted, favorable memories that consumers can align themselves with. It's when those memories create an emotional connection that a brand is born.
As a business owner, it's important that you don't confuse ownership of the business with ownership of the brand. Seth Godin said it best when he said:
A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another. If the consumer (whether it’s a business, a buyer, a voter or a donor) doesn’t pay a premium, make a selection or spread the word, then no brand value exists for that consumer.”
Brand value is the total sum of a positive consumer memory multiplied by their desire to want to act upon that memory to make a purchase or spread the word. How does your business impact people so that they, in turn, help to build your brand?
History has shown us time and time again who the true brand owners are. Remember the New Coca-Cola? How about when GAP changed their logo? Qwiskter? I could go on and on but instead, I'll pose you a question. Why do you think those rebranding efforts failed?
They failed because they went against an already established brand memory. The owners of the brand (hint, it's not the business) stood up and took their brand back. More and more people are identifying themselves by the brands they consume. If you doubt that people identify who they are by their favorite brands then let me ask you, are you a Mac or a PC? Do you drink Coke or Pepsi? Do you like Android or iOS? What are your favorite brands, why?
Seriously, why? The answer to that simple question will help you to shape your own brand memory. It all starts with why:
I purposely created this post with the idea that it wouldn't be long. I did that because I wanted to drive a particular point home, and that is:
To create a brand that resonates, you must put it into the hands of those that can shape it. You do that by engaging with purpose, intently creating a memorable brand memory that influences people to what to do business with you and to tell others to do the same.