Do Brands Dream Of Neon Sheep?

Defining a brand: for what and for whom

Brands are remarkable beings. They function like living, breathing organisms. They grow, they mature, they evolve over time. Much like us, they adapt to survive. They are the first of man’s creations to take on a life of its own. They incorporate values and beliefs to create a personality for people to identify with. They use images and messages to form an identity that makes them unique. We relate to and feel strongly for brands, some of which we have come to love.

In essence, a brand is a distinguishing characteristic or set of characteristics that defines a company or product to set it apart from its competition in the consumer’s mind. However, it’s more than that: it’s a reflection of man, it has a name, a face, and values. It’s the tangible middleman in an intangible society, it’s the face of faceless corporations. It is a weapon and it empowers those who use it.

Over time, brands have gained new abilities. Thanks to the internet, companies have discovered new distribution channels and founded new market places. Brands allow for communication to take place and for relationships to develop between products and consumers. In this sense, brands are connectors. They connect people and companies.

As brands become more human-like, we become more brand-like too. With the rise of social media, we’ve been given the means, the power and the freedom to create and promote our own brands, to express our voice and principles and reach more people. In that sense, brands are enablers. They enable people and companies to speak up and be heard.

People and companies need brands. Brands are a one of the great inventions of humankind and continue to impress in terms of possibilities through creativity and innovation. They are a way to grow beyond our reach, to expand our grasp and to cast a larger net. We need them to survive in a dog-eat-dog world.

How do you use your brand?


Recommended reading:

Define: brand by Seth Godin (defines a brand in plain and simple terms)
What is a brand, anyway? by Forbes (discusses the difference between ‘brand name’ and ‘brand identity’)

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