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What is a brand?



Many of my clients make the assumption that their company offering and logo fulfill the 'Brand' requirement, when, in fact, a (capital B) Brand is much more than that. While brand identity (logo, colorway, etc) is a major a part of your Brand, we need shift our thinking to a much more holistic view of what a Brand entails. 

One of the hardest aspects for clients to understand is that they don't really control the Brand. Through building proper brand elements and strategy, you can (and need to) have a major influence over your Brand, but at the end of the day, your Brand really lives in the perception of your customer base. So, our goal is to shape this perception to match the values and mission of the brand - thusly creating cohesion between what the Brand aspires to be and how the brand is perceived in the hearts and minds of potential customers.



 Now, this is usually very unsettling for my clients at first - to realize that all their hard work, financial investment, products, services and time spent curating their offering does not immediately translate to control of the Brand. But, alas....there is hope.

 Through properly assembling your core brand elements, we can utilize brand storytelling to convey the valuespersonality and reputation of your company. In essence, we anthropomorphize your company - that is, give it human characteristics and traits so your customers engage and interact with your offering as they would an actual person. Over time, this interaction, along with the consistency and quality of the product or services being offered, builds trust with the customer.


My definition for trust is best shown as a simple equation: 

 Trust = consistency / time. 

With the consistency of your offering coupled with consistency in both your brand elements and your brand storytelling, trust begins to organically emerge between the Brand and the customer base. I use the word 'organically' very purposefully. 

In building a brand perception with your customer base, we can not tell them who we are - nothing can be shoved in the face of the customer. Through consistent efforts over time, we show the customer base who we are and what we aspire to be. Along with our core values and mission, this consistent effort aligns with our target demographic and those who share our values and mission begin to trust the Brand and will eventually become Brand loyalists and potentially advocates as well. 


Once we assemble the core elements of the brand we then employ strategy and storytelling methodologies to find our target demographic where they are. At first, these can all seem very overwhelming to my clients, but after a strategy session where I can craft a tangible roadmap to a cohesive brand, the path emerges and the next steps start to seem quite obvious.

Stay tuned for my next article where I will illuminate the the core brand elements that will allow strategy and storytelling to build trust. 

If any of this seems like it's something your company or offering could benefit from, please feel free to reach out to me at Zach@ZachHeffner.com or visit my website (ZachHeffner.com) to see my work , case studies and fill out a contact form.



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