What is a brand? Fluffy cloud or reinforced concrete?

brand fluffy cloud

What is a brand? This is the kind of question you can receive an infinity of answers to. And as many personal interpretations. Which is not even that wrong, because actually the modern definition of a brand says it is the quintessence of the relation between a business and its clients.

Despite all this, I have very often met situations in which managers or entrepreneurs consider that the brand is exclusively the responsibility of the marketing position. If we are lucky enough that the marketing also has a strategic role, too, of analysis and involvement in business decisions, and gets its points of view listened to also, then the situation is not so bad. Because in such circumstances, marketing can define the platform and character of the brand and can watch over its consistency in its behavior and expression in time.

But in many situations (could be more rather than few), the brand is seen as that blurry crust or layer, somehow separated from the business, like a good make-up covering more than just imperfections. And it is left for the ”beauty” department to be taken care of, but without being really connected  to the essence of the business and of the operations. It is like when products have quality issues which are covered up by some ”inspirational” ads distracting all attention. Or when sales people are demotivated and do not really believe in what they sell, but marketing is being asked to build a positive and attractive image, forgetting that the real buying decision is taken in contact with the sales person or with the store, or that the impression after the purchase will be that which will model the continuation of the relationship and, possibly, the construction of loyalty.

History and statistics have proven yet that when the brand is treated like a fluffy cloud, the story does not take too long and is washed away just like the cloud upon a wind blow. But when the brand is built like a healthy relationship, anchored in the business structure itself, sustained not only by the marketing, but also by the other value generating positions, understood and assumed in a unitary manner by all company personnel (especially decision-taking type), transmitted and expressed coherently through all ”junctions” where clients could pass, then it will get the strength of a reinforced concrete construction, will provide trust and security and will be able to sustain real long term growth.

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