How to define a brand.

I followed a confused conversation about brand strength on Twitter the other day. So I think it’s time to tackle the brand issue again.

In my mind it’s quite simple.

A brand is an overall feeling.

This feeling builds from a combination of three brand aspects:

The functional, the emotional and the con-textual properties.

The first aspect tells us what the brand is capable of, using only objective and measu-rable facts.

The second shows us what the brand feels like, in terms of subjective expressions.

The third deals with historical, cultural and psycho-social patterns.

All in all, these are merely reflections of what’s going on inside the brand.

The brand’s core.

Now, let’s create some drama.

Normally, the core is built around a couple of core values. Personally I think core values are a terrible waste of money.

Why? Because it only creates omnipotent brands that nobody cares about. Instead I


believe it should be built around a drama.

So how do we define a drama?

First, we need a character, a brand persona.

Second, this character needs to have a good side and a dark side.

The good side consists of qualities to look up to. But why a dark side?

Because we need to see shortcomings so we can identify with the character.

Real people have flaws. No flaws, no iden-tification, no relevance.

A hero brand.

We also need bad qualities to create con-flict. Yes conflict. Because conflicts create feelings. And feelings are the most effective way to move people. And products.

Because it leads to action.

At the core of every successful brand we usually find a struggle between two opposing forces. Small vs. big. No-frills vs. status. Risk vs. safety. Chaos vs. order. Good vs. evil. And so on.

Which brings us to the third property.

The character also needs a truly inspiring