A slew of answers has been given to this deceptively short question — some great and others terrible. A brand used to be a logo and some graphic design around a product or company, and before that, a literal mark on cattle. Brands have grown up and now indicate something else, something deeper.
Seth Godin, on his blog, defines a brand as the following:
“A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another. If the consumer (whether it’s a business, a buyer, a voter or a donor) doesn’t pay a premium, make a selection or spread the word, then no brand value exists for that consumer.”
Here we can learn 3 important things.
First, Your brand is in the mind of the consumer.
The design, marketing, sales, and fulfillment work you do will impact what your consumer thinks and feels, but they are not branding in and of themselves.
Second, your brand must be of value to the consumer.
This may seem like an obvious statement, but there is a lot more to it when we take a second look.
It is not that your product must have value to the consumer, that’s a given, but that the emotional and relational aspects of the interaction between the consumer and your company must have value. It is out of these emotions and stories that the consumer will take action.
Third, branding is not design.
Logos are important, but they aren’t a brand. A logo can remind a consumer of your brand, their expectations, and the memories and stories they have about you. In short, your relationship. However, it is that relationship that is the brand.
Your brand is much more than a logo, website, or a business card.
It is the story a consumer tells a friend when they see your logo.
It is the expectation they have after visiting your website.
And most important, it is the relationship you are building when you hand someone your business card.