What is a brand?

(In a minute or less)

An entity's brand is its perceived identity. It is purely the summation of peoples' attitudinal and emotional appraisals towards everything it is and does. It's a matter of psychology- as such, we are dealing with subjectivity, so brands can mean different things to different people. For these reasons, branding is more of an art than it is a science.

There is no definitive set of 'components', but organizing the information this way will make the entire concept much easier to understand, and it will help with any branding activities. The following list is informed by my education, experience, and research.

Let's go!

1. Design (Name, Logo, Artwork, Audio, Product Design)

The 'Design' is a brand's artistic component. It can be equated to a brand's 'style' or 'theme'. What do people think of when they see the artwork; what thoughts, emotions, memories, judgments come to mind?

The badge of the Dodge Ram.
The badge of the Dodge Viper.
The badge of the Dodge Hellcat.
The badge of the Dodge Demon.

What emotions and judgements is Dodge trying to evoke with their artwork?

2. Delta Factor (Positioning, Differentiation, USP)

'Delta Factor' is a term I've coined to describe the change the company brings to the market. What's unique about the brand, or how is it different from the majority. What do people think of when they consider the Delta Factor; what thoughts, emotions, memories, judgments come to mind?

The Tesla logo.

Why does Tesla produce such different products than their competition?

3. Communications (Message, Style, Medium, Channel)

'Communications' is simply what a brand literally says, how it says it, and where it says it. What do people think...

A frame from the Cards Against Humanity Superbowl ad (a potato with the word "advertisement" written on it).

Cards Against Humanity is uniquely irreverent with their communications. This potato was their ad for Super Bowl 51. Check out their hilarious post-mortem here.

4. Known Associations (What/Who is sponsored, partnerships & licensing, customers/users)

The events, people, or organizations that an entity associates with become part of it's perceived identity. What do people think...

Joe Rogan stretching his hamstrings next to an Onnit gorilla kettlebell.

You can't think of Onnit without thinking of Joe Rogan. A case where the associated 'thing' is bigger than the brand.

5. Perceived Purpose (Mission, Vision, Values)

The truth doesn't matter here, only public perception. Innocent companies have been marked as evil and vice versa. What do people think...

The Halliburton logo.

Halliburton was accused of war profiteering- not good!

6. Reputation (What's known, what other people are saying)

The reputation of a brand is what's known about people's experiences with the brand, including your own. These can be amazon reviews, stories from friends, or even news articles. What do people think...

The United Airlines logo.

United's reputation took a serious hit after violently dragging a man off a flight. This caused irreversible damage to the brand.


1. Design

2. Delta Factor

3. Communication

4. Known Associations

5. Perceived Purpose

6. Reputation