What is a brand? Digital Odyssey Blog. Digital Marketing and web design agency in Kenya.

What is a Brand?

Let’s play a really easy game. 


Look at the advertisement below. 

Image Source: Reddit 


This is an example of brand advertising – the next slide would include your business’ name and some of the great goods/services you offer. 


But what’s a brand, anyway? 


David Mackenzie Ogilvy, the “Father of Advertising”, defines a brand as “the intangible sum of a product’s attributes”. But this definition might seem a little too scholarly for most people, which is why we also understand brands like the way an organisation or individual perceives them when they experience it. It is more than just a name, design or symbol – brands are feelings the product or business evokes. 


Despite being intangible, brands are tools that drive commercial value. When you think of any brand – Nike, Jumia, McDonald’s-, it isn’t just the great burgers or sturdy shoes that come to mind, or the dramatised TV ads and minimalist storefronts. It isn’t something you can physically experience. 


It’s the progressive, seamless experience you’ve had with it; the reason you come back to the same store for the third time to buy groceries because you know nothing else comes close. In essence, having a powerful brand encourages customers to choose you over your competitors, usually because of the lower-cost-per-acquisition. 

Image Source: The Brand Compass Where Your Brand Is Headed


To really help you understand what a brand is, we’ve outlined some of the major factors that make up a brand in this post. 


The Promise

The essence of your business. What will customers get when they purchase/use products under your brand umbrella? Will your quality remain consistent throughout services and time periods?

For example, Nike’s brand promise represents performance, strength, and fun. 


The Expectation

Based on your promise and delivery, customers begin to have expectations from your brand, in every interaction. If your brand fails to deliver, they’ll get confused and start looking at other alternatives that do meet their expectations every time.

For example, if Maki Oh started selling dresses at half their usual price and quality, customers would get very confused, as it doesn’t meet their expectations of a luxury brand. 


The Persona

This is where we ask “who is the brand?” instead of “what is the brand?”. Every brand has personas – both profiles that represent your ideal customers, and the appearance and personality of your business itself.  It’s what people judge before they do business with you. 

For example, when we think of Apple, the minimalist and chic style comes to mind. 


The Elements

We’ve said your brand is intangible. But it has tangible elements too – the logo, packaging, messages. They all come together to shape your brand persona, promise, perception and expectations. If one element feels off, the entire brand suffers.


The Architecture

This is the visual language of your brand. The palettes and symbols come together to create intuitive architecture that is founded on research into your customer experience.


The Website

The most visible manifestation of your brand. Great websites with compelling content and engaging design and images leave a lasting impact, which is what our digital marketing agency does best. 




What came first: brand awareness or sales?


We say sales. 


While it’s true that brand awareness feeds sales, don’t look at where big companies are right now for motivation. Look at where they started. No one starts out by spending a lot on advertisements and brand awareness. They hustle and make deals and sell their products/services. 


As a business, don’t try and copy the marketing practices of larger companies from the get-go, because your best form of brand building is selling. The brand is your personality, so let people get to know you best by buying from you. 


Digital Odyssey can help you stay on top of trends to effectively navigate the complex waters of the internet. Our marketing agency can help you with further ideas of how to design world-class websites, seamless user journeys, and digital marketing campaigns.



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