Branding seems to be something that is coming up in my reading a lot. And recently at an art show a well dressed woman leaned over to me and said “I like your brand – its clean, clear and simple.” Aha! The work we have done to create uniform packaging, labeling and product is beginning to be apparent as a brand. The work we put in to our products was with intention. Natural ingredients, simple packaging… it all looks so easy, but the truth is that brand is much deeper than the product itself.
The idea of branding came originally to us from the old Norse language, where makers fired up their fires, and headed an iron until it was glowing hot, then they used the tip of the iron to burn a mark into their work. By branding their work they identified the maker. Brands became noteworthy, and able to be traced to the person who made the work. The silversmith industry adopted this quickly, with each smith bearing a different mark. That is why a tea set made by Paul Reveer is so much more valuable than one unmarked.
But brand goes beyond the product and the mark it bears. Brand is the ethic, behavior and reputation of the company as well. As a child i remember that everyone purchased their washer and dryer from Sears because they had a reputation for great service, responsiveness to the customer, quality of appliances. But using the same example, brand can have a down side. In our current age Sears has put aside that customer service and responsiveness, choosing to coat tail on the reputation of their past. Sadly, the Sears brand is slowly unraveling as people look for great service and do not find it.
Brand can also be what you say, write, speak, and do. Your words and actions establish a reputation with others. It is a total package – the work, and the artist which form the brand. Recently in my reading i found a great little quiz to help you work through the idea of what brand is. Click the link below to go to the quiz, sponsored by Staples office supply.