The Human Experience: The best definition of a brand ever

50 times a day, 100 times a day, 200 times a day. Ever wondered how often you, your clients, your colleagues say ’brand’ every day? Probably not.

Last Friday I set myself the task of counting. I gave up after two hours, but in one meeting I counted 78, so that makes the average day count about 360. I do worry that this is a strange, slightly OCD habit, but there is a point.

We spend all day discussing brands, yet how often do we step back and ask what do we really mean by a brand and how should we be thinking about them in the new era of media?

You could argue that multiple channels, fragmentation of audiences, consumer empowerment and the many specialist agencies involved require us to be much clearer about brands than ever before.

If we don’t have a simple, engaging, flexible definition of our brand that works today, we’re setting ourselves up for failure.

Let’s have a look at a couple of definitions.

‘A name. term, sign, symbol or design or a combination of them, intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of the competitor.’

‘A blend of complementary physical, rational and emotional appeals. The blend must be distinctive and result in a clear personality which will offer benefits of value to consumers.’

Oooph. All a bit dry, cryptic and complicated if you ask me, and not that useful in our day-to-day lives.

I always keep coming back to this definition, developed years ago:

The promise of a unique experience (delivered).

By experience we mean a human experience, something that enhances our lives.

Things like

Driving Pleasure for BMW

Entertaining Family Fun for Disney

Extreme Energy for Red Bull

The Creative Spirit for Absolut

Shoot Like a Pro for Canon

The Power of Sharing for Facebook

Each is simple, engaging, and it’s easy to imagine how you could execute it.

Now, when this definition of a brand was conceived, digital hardly existed, the promise was the ad, the delivery was the product. However, with a little tweak it is perfect for today; simply remove the brackets.

The promise of a unique experience, delivered.

As communications becomes part of the actual brand experience, we can ask ourselves when, where and how people experience the brand and how do we bring it to life in those moments- whether it’s TV, social, search or Pinterest.

Canon drives enthusiastic amateurs to a digital Shoot Like a Pro Centre where they can learn from experts and exhibit their shots.

Absolut offer online tours of their art collection, which began with Warhol over twenty-five years ago.

Felix Baumgartner who used Red Bull carbon wings to cross The Channel in 2003 rather bettered it this year by jumping from the edge of space.

Think of your brand as a human experience delivered and you’ve got the best possible start point for building a strong brand in today’s digital world.

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