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Meaning WHAT?

What’s the best word to describe that thing at the centre of a brand, the circle in the circle?

Essence? Too static.

DNA? Too cod-science.

Belief? Too spiritual.

Values? Too plural.

Attributes? Same.

Vision? Too C-Suite.

Mission? Too should-you-choose-to-accept-it.

Proposition? Too Adland.

Promise? Too fingers-crossed-behind-your-back.


Hmm, tempting.

Maybe if it could stay put as ‘the reason you exist’.

But the more it moves towards brands saving the world, too one-size-fits-all.

Anything else?

What do you mean, that’s it?

Nothing in any of those old brand models?

Hang on, what about ‘meaning’?

We’d have to agree brands do mean something to people. They’re not just a set of meaningless assets.

But they’re not the meaning of life either. An antidote to the tragedy of human existence.

No, simply what a brand means to people. A word or two they come to associate with the brand.

With layers of meaning. Words that say something about what the product offers AND what the person wants or needs.

A meaning shared with a big enough crowd to make the brand viable.

And soon to be expressed in a way that sticks in the mind.

So maybe in my new brand model, the one with two concentric circles, the outer circle remains ‘how you stand out’, but the inner circle changes from ‘what you stand for’ to ‘meaning what?’

But then I can’t call it a Brandstand.

I suppose ‘what you stand for’ and ‘what you mean to people’ are basically the same thing.

If they aren’t, who are you fooling?


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