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What Exactly Is A Brand?

Brand awareness, brand loyalty, brand marketing, on brand, off brand, Russell Brand.

We’re all familiar with this term, and whether we like it or not, brands and branding are constantly in our faces, mainly because we can’t look away from our screens and all the advertisements, pop-ups, suggestions, recommendations, and notifications that appear in technicolor and clamor like the busiest casino on the Las Vegas Strip. 

Full disclosure: I currently have three monitors up and my Samsung phone PopSocketed, because God forbid I’d have to crane my neck without that simple, yet game-changing widget.

Brand is an interesting word because it is widely used but not completely understood. Well, let’s start with the basics and address exactly what a brand is.

An Incredibly Brief History

I’m only going to waste a little bit of your time on the history of branding (because you don’t have better things to do right now) and invite you into the Way Back Machine. 

Branding can be traced back to circa 2000 BC--which is some time before Bitcoin and some time after Cro-Magnons walked the earth--when farmers would brand their cattle to distinguish them from other livestock. Eons later in the states, cattle ranchers used branding irons on their animals so that by the time the cattle arrived at the slaughterhouses, it was easy to tell which ranches they were from. 

Following this example, craftsmen would imprint or brand symbols on their goods to indicate their origins. The theme here is distinction and standing out, the very backbone of branding, and it was inevitable that branding would evolve the way it has. 

Brand Definition

Used to be that “brand” referred to the non-generic name given to a product or service from a specific source. 

Think of Kleenex or Tupperware. But as marketing and messaging strategies progressed, the concept of a brand became bigger and more sophisticated. People started to connect with brands emotionally, and a new definition of brand emerged. 

Take it away, Investopedia: “A brand is an intangible marketing or business concept that helps people identify a company, product, or individual.”

Brand Name Vs. Brand

A brand name is something tangible that people can see. Kleenex has a particular look and packaging that we’re familiar with. We default to asking if someone needs a Kleenex instead of a tissue. 

Brand, on the other hand, refers to the perception that people have about a product or service. Consumers associate Kleenex with comfort, relief, softness, care, scents, safety, soothing, etc. 

I alluded to PopSocket before and joked that it allows me not to strain. Well, look at that. Its brand represents to me--and I’m sure to many others--convenience, utility, functionality, and reliability.

Now that we’ve got a cursory overview of branding, the next blog post will shine a light on the value of content to branding. Here’s a cliffhanger: without content, your business does not have a brand.

About the Author, David Telisman

I am a Writer and Content Creator, and I work with businesses to inspire their customers to buy from them. I believe that my clients deserve to feel proud of how their content marketing looks and what it says, and I deliver by providing expert copywriting and marketing solutions.

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