What is a brand?

By Jon Raduch, Creative Director


The definition of branding keeps evolving, as creatives and strategists innovate in brand experience. We take a quick trip back in time to understand its context and its meaning today.

Whether it was the Egyptians branding cattle or ancient brickmakers stamping bricks – logos, marks or signatures are an age-old device used by people to identify and differentiate their products and services.

Industrial-age manufacturers used logos to signal product origin, quality and consistency to their buyers. But it wasn’t until the 1960s that advertising agencies started branding companies and streaming content into people’s homes via TV and print. Consumers soon became ‘brand conscious’ across almost every industry.

became ‘brand conscious’ across almost every industry. Today, modern branding is focussed on creating tribes and a sense of belonging. Companies such as Apple and Samsung connect with different consumer segments through purpose and positioning.

People often refer to the logo as the brand, but its definition is much broader.

Your brand is the way your company is perceived by those who experience it, across every touch-point. Your logo or brand mark – although a very important part – is only one of these touch points. Others include product or service experience, packaging, website, app, brochure, social media, presentations, exhibitions, traditional media and many others.

A visual glossary

Your brand is the way in which your company is perceived by those who experience it, across every touch point.

Logo or brandmark
An identifying symbol,​ design element or ​lettering​ adopted by an organisation to identify its products.

Another name for a logo and traditionally used when referencing the font used in a logo.

A trademark is a proprietary ​name or symbol ​registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office to assure exclusive use by its owner or licensee.

The style of the font chosen, or the ‘clothes your words wear’.

Brand positioning statement or the brand promise
The core statement that defines your brand and the promised experience.

Brand values
Internal beliefs that drive your team’s behaviour, so that the brand promise is realised.

Brand personality
How you talk, look and behave expressed through experiences such as customer interactions, brand look and feel, brand copy and the promised experience.

Brand colours
The colour palette selected to represent your brand. These normally have a hierarchy – primary, secondary and supporting highlight colours.

Brand hierarchy
A brand family or sub-brands below a parent brand that represent different business units, services categories or products.

Brand tone of voice
Your ‘verbal brand’ and the personality you express through word choices, language and style.

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