Brand is a word that has many meanings. It can mean as little as an identifiable trademark (a name or logo) or it can be used to describe an entire business. When it comes to savvy marketing what is key is that it is an idea that exists in the mind first and foremost.
So the moment you decide to create a business or cause, you have created a brand – it just exists in your mind alone.
Many organizations start to operate without a serious consideration of brand. They start operations, and customers start to perceive their brand. Those that love the solution and how it is delivered, have positive brand associations. Depending on their experiences others will have negative or indifferent brand experiences. Still others may or may not be aware of the business and will go on considering only competing brands.
Over time, a company develops promises, positions, personality traits and attributes that are great, good-enough or unintentionally discourage proper awareness, consideration and loyalty. Businesses that are destined for greatness take ownership. They realize “we have a brand, whether we like it or not.” They will quickly make their brand work for them and not against them, and these businesses will recognize that they need to define their brand in a way which is authentic to their business and meaningful to their customer. This is the essence of brand strategy – deciding how you are going to win in the mind of the customer.