What a brand really is.

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Okay, you’ve got your whys written down so the next thing we’re going to look at is your brand name – Your Act – and I want to do this next because it is important that you understand what a brand is and how that is actually different from the brand name.

There is so much misunderstanding of the word ‘brand’ that it is vitally important to recognize what a brand IS and is NOT.

A very smart and very famous marketing guru, Seth Godin, defines a brand like this:

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.

Jeff Bezos of Amazon put it a different way:

Your brand is what people say about you when you leave the room

What a brand is NOT is your brand name or a logo. That is brandING. The brandING – the brand name (and graphic logo if you have one) – is just the short form way people refer to your brand. The difference is important.

Your brand is what people think of when they hear your name, a combination of facts and emotion and experience. The emotion part is especially true for music. Your brand lives in people’s minds and hearts.

The definition I like to use to define a brand is the experience part of it.  A brand is a promise consistently kept.

A quick – but valuable – history lesson:

Today’s meanings of ‘brand’ and ‘branding’ actually come from the old west practice (still used today) of burning a mark into the hides of cattle – branding them with a branding iron – so that everyone would know which ranch the cattle came from.

On a purely practical level it was important so that if rustlers stole your cattle you could identify them as yours and important for when the cattle were sent to market so that they could be separated.

What happened as the cattle went to market is that the brands also became associated with the quality of the cattle. So it became widely known that the XO ranch (or whatever) was known to feed their cattle excellent oats and fresh water while the XOX ranch didn’t have such quality standards.

Consequently, the XO cattle could command higher prices.

When they consistently kept that promise,  the buyers started to know that could trust the brand, and then they could tell their friends about the brand knowing that their friends would also have a good experience.

The more people that trust the brand and buy the product, the more the brand itself has a value bigger than the actual oats and water that went into the cattle.

Sounds like a pretty good way to build a fan base, doesn’t it?

If the XO ranch started to buy worse oats and the cattle consequently weren’t as good, then they broke that promise, and the brand became tarnished and not as valuable.

Make a promise and consistently deliver on it. That’s how you build your brand and fans. And sell more music.

»» NEXT: What a well thought out brand will do for you
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