I'm currently reading a book called Zag, by Marty Neumeier of the Liquid Agency. In it, is the best definition for brand that I have heard. Neumeier defines brand as, "A person's gut feeling about a product, service, or company."
Could it really be that simple?
In essence, yes. Perhaps a company's control and degree of understanding of its own core qualities helps to strategically position itself so that it can survive and thrive. Brand has always been important to a company's success and right now it is more important than ever. Customers not only want a quality product at a good price, they want to align themselves with their choices because they know that our choices, our purchases, are a reflection of ourselves. In a way, the stakes have never been higher for companies to develop a solid brand worth emulating. Neumeier argues that the winning manufacturer is no longer the one with the best product but the one with the fastest supply chain. He quotes supply chain expert Rob Rodin who explains that companies today have no choice but to connect to the "three insatiable demands of business - free, perfect, and now."
How are companies to survive in such a climate, let alone compete?
Zag, simply implies that when everyone else zigs, you must zag. Neumeier explains that companies no longer have to just compete with other companies to do things in a more cost effective and efficient way, they must compete with the absolute clutter and constant bombardment that the modern marketplace...provides us. Not only must companies stand out from the pack, they must somehow stand aside while the torrent of products and services flow by in a raging torrent. Marketing wise, rather than just yelling louder to be heard, being clever or witty, a company must be so different and confident in its own brand that it shines so (subtly) that nothing else compares. The best brands have always known this and now because of the incredible rate at which ideas and products are actualized there is even less room for error, or, lack of self awareness and realization.
The question that fascinates me is, how exactly does a company's collective understanding of its own brand affect its strategy and ultimate success - and - why can it be so difficult for a company to understand itself in simplistic and elegant terms?