Opinion

A simple truth about brand

By Nick Johnson
Issue No. 05 The Brand One
June 2017

3 Min Read

I could talk about brand all day, everyday …in fact I do. Yet, I really didn’t know where to start with this article. And when I did, I started writing a piece titled "Brand …it's dog shit!” to compliment what I thought was a great analogy about how literally ‘everything' has a brand, like it or not. Career suicide right!?

The problem with writing about ‘brand' is that it’s one of those words that means something different to everyone. In fact, that is the ironic thing about it - as a brand is simply an opinion that manifests in someone's mind. At Precept, we view brand in its broadest sense, as the combination of reputation and perception (what people say and think about you). But influencing people’s thoughts, conversations and decisions isn’t easy - well, unless you're Derren Brown …or Donald Trump.

So, unfortunately, I can’t write a snappy '5 steps to creating a successful brand’ article - as it just isn’t that simple. And as the lovely Katherine Wildman will tell you, there’s already many great authors publishing great books on brand theory.

But I’m a realist, not a theorist. So instead, I'll share a simple, but significant truth I’ve learned about building successful brands: 

"Your brand is the sum of all of your parts, it is not a project - and it is never finished."

Building a brand is not something that happens overnight or something you can just define during a brainstorming session. Nor is it something pretty that turns up gift wrapped from your agency - ready to go. It’s not an ‘every five years’ investment, but an ongoing concern that needs nurturing and developing as it grows and evolves. A brand is not something you can choose to have either, ‘everything' has a brand ...yes, even dog shit.

If you only take one thing away from this - after reading, just try to think how every action you take sends a message about your brand. Consider the feelings it might evoke and the opinion it might manifest in others. In business, that could be an inspired email to your team, announcing an amazing hire or contract win on LinkedIn, an awkward cold call with a prospect, that weird tie you often wear, your gangster handshake, a trendy website, a beautiful business card, a risque comment on Twitter - or that oddball article you wrote on Converge that referenced dog shit! Each will influence your brand for better or for worse. Your brand is the sum of all your parts, it is not a project - and it is never finished.

So I suppose the big questions are, how do you become the brand you want to be? How do you manifest the right thoughts and opinions in your audience? How do you build the perception and reputation you desire?

The honest answer is, the solution is different for every brand. But hard work, commitment and a little patience is a must - both in the boardroom and from your in-house team or agency.

Thanks for reading. We'd love to hear your thoughts and opinion below.