Her review of The Brand Gap by Marty Neumeier is excellent, but it caught me off-guard. Some of the first words of the book are:
First: A brand is not a logo.
Second: A brand is not an identity.
Finally: A brand is not a product.
I had no issue accepting the first and final statements. I know from experience that a brand is not those things. The second was harder to swallow. My thought had been that a brand was the total represented identity of a business, product, or service, not limited to the logo or product, but certainly inclusive of them in its overall identity. When people ask me what I do, I tell them Brand Identity Marketing. Taking identity out of it seemed extreme. If a brand isn't the identity of the company, what is it?
A brand is a person's gut feeling about a product, service, or organization.True to form, I got hit in the gut when I read that. It's true. We buy and act emotionally, because those decisions come from a primal place. When we are satisfying our needs, even if we think we're doing so logically, our needs come from a primal place. Those decisions are partially rational, but driven by an emotional need.
It's a gut feeling because people are emotional, intuitive beings. It's a person's gut feeling because brands are defined by individuals, not companies, markets, or the public.
The best brands tap into that need, provide a well-designed product to meet that need, exceed customer expectations time after time, building customer trust and loyalty. Trust = reliability + delight. Great brands take time, because they create trust, and building trust takes time.
Check out Nubby's post for the graphic illustrations of this book. I don't want to bust anyone's copyright, so I'm not reposting, but half the awesomeness of the book is in its design.