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What is a brand? | Claritas branding

While the leaders of most businesses and organizations start their marketing efforts by asking what their brand is, this is not always the right starting point. With the Claritas Branding process, we start with a more basic question – What is a brand?


We do this because it is not possible to define a brand if there is confusion about what it is in the first place. The word “brand” has become such a staple of everyday marketing conversation that we seldom stop to think about what it is and what it is supposed to do.


Yet for many of the largest global corporations, their most valuable asset is their brand. To appreciate the importance of brand identity, think of Apple, Ford, Nike, Ralph Lauren and many others whose brand identities conjure a variety of expectations and associated emotions in consumer’s minds. This is also true for smaller companies who are able to clearly define their brand identity. Customers appreciate clarity in brand communication and reward it with greater loyalty and spending.


Many people believe that things such as logos, taglines, specific color schemes, a particular visual look in marketing materials or a combination of these constitute their brand. Others believe their brand is about their organizational or operational philosophy.


There is truth in all of these definitions. A brand is indeed all of these things. But it is also much more. The most effective brands are defined by your organization’s core values and the transcendent identity from which those values flow. Embedded in this transcendent identity is a core promise, one of the most important elements of any brand.


Brands that fail to live up to this implied promise, or that fail to understand that they have made such a promise in the first place, often encounter great difficulty not only in attracting and retaining customers, but when there are inevitable problems that require forgiveness or understanding from them.


Claritas Branding was created over a period of more than a decade dealing with clients who often struggled to articulate the core elements of their brand identity and values. We do not impose an identity or values on any client. Rather, our mission is to guide clients through the process of self-discovery that leads to true insight and transcendently effective brands.


by Michael Meurer