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The Whole Definition of 'Brand'
By: Janet Kalandranis
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There’s a textbook definition of the word "brand" and it’s pretty specific. According to the dictionary, it’s something very profound like: “kind, grade, or make, as indicated by a stamp, trademark, or the like: the best brand of coffee.” Yes, that definition is ridiculous. Because that definition is from years past and today the word "brand" is so much more. It’s not dedicated to only big brands or products that customers buy, but instead can encapsulate more aspects of a business. The definition of brand has expanded and today includes a feeling, a community, and of course a business. But it’s important as a brand to understand what this word means and make sure to deliver on all it can bring to customers.

Companies that assume the definition of a brand is simply what’s stated by a dictionary are missing out. Sure, the foundation is built on products and services, but that’s only the beginning of what this word means. Brands now have a deep emotional side that connects with its customers. Brands now incorporate engagement and community and advocates. And simply ignoring this side of a brand means businesses are missing out on the opportunity for more success. The word brand is also descriptive of many more “things” these days. It can be a person, a group, a non-profit...you name it. It’s no longer reserved for the big companies, but it's able to describe that “thing,” which has certain characteristics.

Don’t think any of this is true? Then how about some examples. CrossFit, a brand that is built on community. It’s number one characteristic is a group of related individuals who participate in a certain type of fitness. But it’s less about the gym and more about the camaraderie. This brand is selling a community before anything else. And how about people that become a brand? Of course actors and actresses started this trend — think Angelina Jolie. But what about the newer world of bloggers and their brands? They deliver content from a personal side, creating a brand that is all about them.

The lesson here is to not limit a business to boundaries that are described in the brand definition. Doing so sacrifices the breadth of success a brand can have. Focusing on products and services without touching on the emotional side of the brand creates only part of a brand, and ignoring community and engagement leaves a brand that is less than stellar. But taking that word “brand” and stretching its limits allows any business to push past any boundaries and create additional brand success.


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About the Author
Janet Kalandranis is here to give you all the little brand thoughts that run through her head with a little dash of spice. Find her online here.
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