Hey Google, What is a Brand?

by Kraig Guffey | Jan 4, 2022

If you ask Google or most people walking down the street, “What is a Brand?”, they are very, VERY likely to give you some sort of the answer you see above. It’s a logo, it’s a mark, it’s a symbol that represents a product of the company….

Well – we see “Brand” as something much much more than that, and for good reason.

Using that definition of Brand is like describing DAS BBQ as “Smoked Meat” – nah, not even close.

Plate of BBQ meats on a table at DAS BBQ with DAS BBQ sauces

(source: https://www.foodnetwork.com/restaurants/ga/atlanta/das-bbq-restaurant)


If we had to come up with a proper definition for ‘Brand’ it would be something like:

Brand = the emotional response you have to an organization based on EVERY experience you have with that organization – Visual, Experiential, Audible, Tactile, and if you are DAS BBQ, even Taste!

With that more appropriate definition of “Brand” we actually gain control over architecting the emotional response we desire for our customers.

If Brand is just a logo, you have a 50/50 shot at creating the emotional response you are looking for. The person will either 1) like it or 2) not like it. But if your Brand is really the accumulation of every experience, we can work to control and ensure each of those experiences are organized, strategic, consistent, and cohesive – all pointing toward that emotional response you want a customer to have.

That process of controlling the experiential pieces of your company to produce a desired emotional response is what we call creating your Brand Strategy.

A Brand Strategy is your clearly communicated centralized plan on:

Who are you for?

Why are you for them?

How are you going to serve them?

What is your product/service/nice?

AND

What do you want the emotional response to be?

We communicate to ___________ so they feel ____________ and say we are _____________.

The power in that last sentence is that you can/could change “communicate” to any of the more detailed “actions” of your business (know, all of those ‘actions’ ARE communicating something) but the words you use to fill in those blanks should never change. 

Ex.

We market to

We sell to

We produce x product to

We call to

We post on LinkedIn to

Now, why in the world do we care about the emotional response a customer has toward our brand?

Because that emotional response is what drives people to choose you.

To choose you the first time.

And to choose you again, and again, and again.

And to lift their voice in the marketplace about you.

It’s what keeps your company growing. 

One of the most common issues we’ve worked through in the 1,000s of conversations with company leaders is the stall (you BBQ folks will get that pun, the rest of you, well….) – the stall in growth.

“We’ve tried so many things, but we can’t really break through.”

As we unpack the issue with the business leader, we most often see that their initial growth was fueled by an incredible product, an incredible salesperson(s), and/or previous industry advantage – and these successes lead to new products or ideas, where those same resources can go and win.

But there comes a point where the reliance on one particular strength doesn’t equal the same level of success and growth OR the new products or ideas that have been created have complicated the business in a way that can’t be as powerfully communicated.

Ultimately the business is no longer in control of the emotional response.

A Brand Strategy brings the chaos back into order. It brings the power of all that’s been created in the business to the surface, and organizes it so that it can be clearly communicated to the market.

Friends don’t let friends call DAS BBQ just “Smoked Meats.”

Friends don’t let friends define a Brand as just “a logo.”

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 by Kraig Guffey

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