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All in the MIND

Nothing has kept me more interested in marketing than the whole concept of a brand.

I’ve had a few goes at my view on it, from everything that’s built up in my head over time. My brand of brand.

But I’m always up for more. So I was all over Richard Huntington’s latest post in his Strategy With Heart series, called ‘What is a brand?’.

His take is that a brand is the set of associations that sit inside people’s minds about a product, service, company or organisation.

So everything you do and say will help contribute to this list. But fundamentally companies don’t own brands, people do.

And people build that list up over time. The post quotes Jeremy Bullmore: “People build brands as birds build nests, from the scraps and straws they chance upon’.

That means for Richard “the art of strategy is making sure that what people chance upon are the right kind of straws”.

Elegantly put.

Yes, but that got me thinking.

If companies don’t own the brand, what do they own?

Do people own the brand or their experience of the brand?

Is it like a song? Someone has to write it but anyone can then sing it. Oh, is that what Accenture are on about?

And what are associations anyway? Are they all about intangible thoughts, beliefs and feelings? Or do they also include tangible assets like logos, features and taglines? Who decides?

Could you go further and say a brand only exists at the moment of interaction? The moment of closeness even.

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

Existence in the absence of an observer is at best a conjecture, a conclusion that can neither be proven or disproven. Quantum Marketing.

Or is a brand just the one you choose when you’re down the shops?

Right, get on with some work now.


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