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Disciplines > Brand management > Brand is

A brand is a promise | A brand is an associated image | Everything and everyone is a brand


Coca-cola is the most valuable brand in the world, with the name alone worth billions of dollars. But why? What is a brand?

Brand management is a total approach to managing brands that is sometimes extended, by those who understand the power of brands, to cover the whole approach to managing the company.

A brand is a promise

First and foremost, a brand is a promise. It says 'you know the name, you can trust the promise'. As all promises, it is trusted only as far as those promises are met. Trust is a critical first step and brands aim to accelerate that step by leveraging the implied promise of the brand.

A brand is an associated image

Most brands have a logo which acts as a short-cut to remind us of the brand promise. The logo uses color, shape, letters and images to create a distinctive image that is designed both to catch our eye and to guide our thoughts in the right direction. The brand may also be associated with tunes, celebrities, catchphrases and so on.

All parts of the brand image works as a psychological trigger or stimulus that causes an association to all other thoughts we have about the brand.

Everything and everyone is a brand

If you get down to the detail, everything is a brand, because we build our understanding of the world by creating associations about everything. A tree has an implied promise of beauty and shade. Even words are brands. When I say 'speed', you will conjure up images of fast cars, etc.

People are brands, too. When people see you, or even hear your name,  they will recall the image they have of you, (which is something you can actively manage or 'let happen'). In a company where people are visible to customers, such as a  service business, the people are very much a part the brand.

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