There are as many ideas about what a ‘brand’ is as there are marketing consultants. I’d like to put forward my thoughts in a way I hope business owners would find useful. Originally a brand was a logo but nowadays it encompasses so much more than this and has a value on balance sheets. A brand is made up of 3 elements;

  • Visual – what they look like (e.g their logo)
  • Verbal – what they say (e.g their headline)
  • Behaviour – how they, and their products, perform or behave

But not all these elements are equal

So think of a brand as a person. Imagine you met someone who had the most fantastic quality clown suit on with all the fancy makeup and said they were a clown. But they never cracked a joke, or did anything remotely funny, how long would it take you to stop thinking of them as clown? If they cracked a few lame jokes your belief in them as a clown may last a bit longer, but eventually they wouldn’t be a clown to you.

However, if you met someone dressed normally in shirt and trousers but they cracked great jokes, did some funny slapstick and drew a crowd. Then you heard they were actually a clown you would probably think they were one of the best clowns ever. Without a red nose or pink fuzzy wig in sight.

So when it comes to building your brand it’s your behaviour – or the behaviour of your products or services – that really matters. Make sure that is as good as it can be. Then think about what your messaging is and what your logo or headline is. These things come out of your behaviour. They shouldn’t be created in the hope it will make you, or your products, be something they are not. No matter how much money you spend on expensive clown suits and pay a comedian to write some great jokes, if you are not a clown don’t try to be one – everyone will see through it eventually.