‘What is a brand’ is still the most misunderstood and misused concept in the small business arena.
In previous blogs I have at length discussed the fact that it is not a logo, name or packaging, but the total sum of perceptions that your customers and prospects have about your business or organization.
It is what they think and feel about you and those emotions and thoughts are the result of your target audience experiences with your company.
But there is an even simpler way to look at the concept of brand, the way that the world of business looked at it before the word became a way for ad agencies to not only examine competitive strategies in their bid to sell to the mass market in the 1950s but also a way to mystify the advertising process and hence become the guardians of the ‘brand’.
So what did business people say before the word brand entered the everyday vocabulary of business media?
Here’s the way three great mean described:
“It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation and only one bad one to lose it”
“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 min to ruin it. If you think about that you do things differently.”
“A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.
-Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com
So what is a brand?
Simple – it’s your reputation. So brand building is actually all about building and protecting your reputation. Although I hate the somewhat old fashioned and hence manipulative sounding title of the book that at one stage outsold the Bible, the message in it is sincere and well meaning and one that has not been adopted anywhere near enough. I’m talking about a book that gives us all the most basic and amazing principles of persuasion, reputation building and managing people -“How to Win Friends and Influence People”
The next 4 blogs will summarize the 4 chapters of Dale Carnegie’s must read book to effective communication and illustrate the way they directly relate to the AIDA (Attention | Interest | Desire | Action) model of advertising.