The brand equation solved…

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Here is what some people have been saying about brand. Join the conversation and tell us your thoughts!

  1. Pam Baker says: 01.26.20125:20 pm

    Brand may include a logo but that’s not all it is. A “brand” is how others perceive you – and it distinguishes you from others. Done well…it is distinctive…it separates you from others. People see or read it and you come to mind. It captures your essence.

    • Romana Mirza says: 02.12.20122:21 pm

      Hi Pam, your last four words are the key. So many brands are developed on the surface. The ones that are based on your essence – what I like to call “who you are on the inside” are the most distinctive because not two people or management teams or organizations are the same! Thanks for participating in our conversation!

  2. Jerry Freeman says: 01.26.20125:50 pm


    They are all intertwined and work and play off each other. You cannot separate the brand form a logo and vice versa

    • Romana Mirza says: 02.12.20122:35 pm

      I agree completely Jerry. Intertwined is a great word, it reminds me of how we judge a person. First visually (the logo) then by their voice (the brand essence) and then what the person says, ( the brand message) and how they say it (the brand personality).

  3. Kerry Rutz says: 01.26.20126:49 pm

    To me “brand” is an assembly of parts that in the end represent one thing. It is the product itself as culmination of its attributes (function, quality, design, etc.), it is the assorted methodologies utilized in isolating and emphasizing product identity and delivery (packaging, display, etc.), it is the service that links and binds vendor/client or manufacturer/user relationships. I guess I tend to see it as a total picture kind of thing because that is how I as a consumer locate what I want.

    • Romana Mirza says: 02.12.20122:37 pm

      I like that “assembly of parts”. Whether the part is tangible or intangible each part is important. Thanks for sharing that.

  4. Adrian Leeds says: 01.27.20121:20 am

    Good question. BRAND is a name, an image, a concept. If you’ve BRANDED a product or yourself well, then most observers will walk away with the same NAME, IMAGE, CONCEPT that you set out to achieve. It’s all you can hope for!

    • Romana Mirza says: 02.12.20122:38 pm

      And done well it can be achieved. I like this common theme of unity in everyone’s input.

  5. Peter Klick says: 01.27.20129:02 am

    Brand means to me actually to set something on fire… Brand, that’s the German word for fire and blaze.

    Start the fire and there will be heat! You are a maverick without a brand…


    • Romana Mirza says: 02.12.20122:41 pm

      And I’m interpreting your fire as life. A well built authentic brand brings those organizations to life!

  6. Jill Olson says: 01.27.20129:26 am

    Oh you know how much I love the topic of branding, Tom! To me, a brand is a promise, an experience, a way of being. When you create “brand”, you create a personality, a living entity. To properly execute brand, you have to look at logo, ads, packaging, etc but you also have to consider the total experience of interfacing with your company, even how the receptionist answers the phone. At the end of the day, the best brands change the way PEOPLE FEEL.

    • Bettina Hoar says: 02.2.20128:08 pm

      This really speaks to me – it’s true – it’s a “feeling” – the personality behind a business.

      • Romana Mirza says: 02.12.20123:48 pm

        What a great guide for you as you develop sage Bettina! I hope you’ve enjoyed this discussion as much as we have.

  7. admin says: 01.27.201211:09 am

    From Julie @ The Merchandise Mart Chicago:
    Check out Ken Schmidt’s (of Harley Davidson) presentation ‘Open the Throttle and Dominate Your Marketplace.’ It is about the strategy at Harley and how they saved the company from bankruptcy in the 80’s.

    • Romana Mirza says: 02.12.20123:53 pm

      Thanks for sharing this Julie. There are so many great success stories of American brands, we are proud of every one. They work be cause those stories are an authentic reflection of what the company is on the inside. The mistake is made when other organizations feel like all they need to do is “open the throttle” to dominate the marketplace – when in really doing just that isn’t enough. You have to make a connection to who you are as an organization – that is how this kind of success can be repeated.

  8. Vince Gammino says: 01.27.201211:10 am

    Brand is the construction of your presentation/message to the world based on the core values that motivate/define who, what, and how you are. This having to do with perception.

    • Romana Mirza says: 02.12.20123:55 pm

      This is our first comment on core values Vince and I feel you are so right! What an organization is on the inside is their core values and we often forget this when we are “opening the throttle to dominate the market”. It worked for Harley Davidson because that approach reflected their core values. This may not be true for another organization. Thanks for bringing us back to our core.

  9. Jane Tesch says: 01.27.20121:16 pm

    Brand is symbolic of what is behind the brand. Quality, customer service, reputation in the marketplace, timeliness, fulfillment of agreements, creativity, values…and probably lots more…all go together and are represented by and as “brand.”

    • Romana Mirza says: 02.12.20124:03 pm

      I couldn’t agree more Jane. The big question is how does an organization get all the various departments: quality control, customer service, marketing, shipping, sales and so on, on the same page so everyone is working off the same jumping off point? Once a brand strategy is defined the greatest challenge is living the brand. We’ve come up with a system for Brand Living at Studio Pinpoint. It’s the most important part of the brand process.

  10. Tom Tesch says: 01.27.20121:35 pm

    Well there partner of the plains, a brand is an iron poker with a unique symbol or logo on the end to be heated in the ‘ol campfire to burn the skin of the livestock so no rustlers can steal our cattle by gum by gully. So, it is all about identification and possession don’t ya know?

    • Romana Mirza says: 02.13.20129:52 pm

      That’s right partner, it’s about our unique identity. If another rancher had the same design on their poker well then how could we tell the ol’ livestock apart?

  11. Dorothy Kaylor Ceglinsky says: 01.27.20123:39 pm

    “Brand” is an all encompassing idea
    and becomes more than what it started out to be and eventually is its’ own creation,,either we remember all that it was or we know it so well we do not know where it came from.

    • Romana Mirza says: 02.13.20129:56 pm

      Your description is a succinct illustration of something I talk to clients about all the time. Do you create your brand or is it evolved. When you create it you tell the world who you are – and when that story reflects your culture and values then you make a connection. If your brand is evolved, the outside world is creating the story for you and that’s when the “we do not know where it came from” syndrome sets in.

  12. Don Rasmussen says: 01.27.20124:00 pm

    Recognition. Going through a new “Branding” since the first of the year, it’s all about recognition, and getting people used to the name/brand.

  13. KT says: 01.27.20125:03 pm


    I wouldn’t define “brand” as a logo, but certainly an image that represents the business is part of brand, and the logo should be something that sticks in the mind like the burn on a cow’s butt. Brand also equals “mass production” somewhere in my head, where as with smaller businesses I think of ‘kinds’ rather than ‘brand.’
    A brand also lets you know things about a product, like the quality and expense of the item, like think of a KIA vs Audi vs Volvo. This helps you make choices like “oh, look honey should we get the balogna made by Natural Farms or by Exxon?”

    so to sum up:
    Brand = Logo+familiarity/reputation

    • Romana Mirza says: 02.13.201210:02 pm

      I love your equation, way to sum it up KT!

  14. Janet Bar says: 01.27.20125:04 pm

    We are currently going through the “Brand” discussion for our business. A “Brand” to me is something that identifies a product or company. It needs to be consistent so eventually it becomes a recognizable symbol (hopefully in a good way) of who you are and can evoke feelings, thoughts, memories, etc.

  15. Romana Mirza says: 01.27.20128:21 pm

    I’m loving this dialogue and it’s all on point. A brand is how we the public and consumer define it. It’s up to us marketers and strategists to ensure brands are created with integrity. This means who you are on the inside must be reflected in how you present yourself to the outside world. When you have this inside/outside match you have integrity. When you have integrity people have confidence in you, when they have confidence in you they trust you and that breeds success.

    • Bettina Hoar says: 02.2.20128:21 pm

      Excellent point. A good brand shines when the true “personality” of the brand permeates both within and outside the business. When the brand is truly developed it is strong and clear enough for stakeholders on all sides to identify. Any mismatch – you know you still have some work to do.

      • Romana Mirza says: 02.13.201210:07 pm

        Just “be who you are, everyone else is taken.” – Oscar Wilde.
        It’s my favourite quote and it’s so simple.

  16. KT says: 01.28.20122:34 pm

    I wouldn’t define “brand” as a logo, but certainly an image that represents the business is part of brand, and the logo should be something that sticks in the mind like the burn on a cow’s butt. Brand also equals “mass production” somewhere in my head, where as with smaller businesses I think of ‘kinds’ rather than ‘brand.’
    A brand also lets you know things about a product, like the quality and expense of the item, like think of a KIA vs Audi vs Volvo. This helps you make choices like “oh, look honey should we get the balogna made by Natural Farms or by Exxon?”

    so to sum up:
    Brand = Logo+familiarity/reputation


  17. Effie Slapnicar says: 02.1.20128:50 am

    I see a brand as a company’s personality. It is the way others perceive the company to think, act and feel. As much as company’s try their best to identify their brand, it is really the customer that defines it. This has been the case with McDonald’s or KFC. They have tried to shy away from their unhealty origins but the public can see through the facade that it is still an unhealthy place to eat.

    • Romana Mirza says: 02.13.201210:10 pm

      I believe it is possible for companies to define their brand. I believe McDonald’s and KFC do it quite well. That’s why despite the truth about their food, there is virtually one on every street corner!

  18. Kristine Porter says: 02.1.20128:57 am

    Value of your Brand = (Number of people who recognize you) divide by (Number of people who dislike you)

    Therefore, if many people recognize you, but dislike you, then your Brand Value is low.

    However, if some recognize you, but few dislike you then your Brand Value is higher

  19. Paula says: 02.1.20129:02 am

    A company’s identity

  20. Rick Shea says: 02.1.20129:20 am

    I think of brand as being what your market thinks of you. Of course, a market is made up of many individuals, each with their own experiences and interactions with your brand, all coloured by their own needs and perspectives. Your brand is the accumulation of what all those individuals think and feel and believe about your brand.

    So, I guess brand is really about how all those individuals experience and perceive your brand, from promise to delivery, from your marketing communications through to the actual use of your product or service and all the interactions those individuals have with your employees, be that in person, by phone, by email, or through social media. The challenge for marketers and their organizations is in executing consistently, in a valued and differentiated way, across all those touch points, and in a way that matters to each individual. Probably a lot easier said than done!

  21. Felix says: 02.1.20129:25 am

    Best case scenario branding should tell your story, values, goals, ideals etc. in a open and detached manner (invitation to participate without expectation).
    Worst case scenario, a tool to align with affluent demographic and…well you know the rest.

  22. Name * says: 02.1.20129:28 am

    Brand is the authentic personality of a business and how it is conveyed.

  23. Eiman says: 02.1.20129:47 am

    I don’t think that logo has something to do with the brand, it’s about meeting your client standard
    by determining the quality and strategy of your product or service.

  24. Alex Revai says: 02.1.201212:05 pm

    To me “brand”, whatever its representation may be (logo, name, slogan, jingle, etc), is that upon seeing it or hearing it, people think of you (or your business) exclusively and positively.

  25. Amy Leask says: 02.1.20122:05 pm

    Brand is your “inner coolness”, all the amazing things that make you who you are, and that you hope others will remember about you.

  26. Farida Mirza says: 02.1.20122:25 pm

    Brand means reliability, consistency and trust.

  27. Hindal says: 02.1.20129:24 pm

    Brand is a company’s essence. Everything else is derived from it. It is integral to the company’s soul. If it cannot be relied upon, then neither can the product.

  28. Romana Mirza says: 02.1.201211:02 pm

    …and the dialogue continues. The comments, whether from the US or Canada – and yes there are both in the postings above have a clear theme – it’s what’s behind the logo that matters and it better be authentic. Maybe we are all tired of being lied to? One of my favourite quotes:

    “Be who you are, everyone else is taken.” Oscar Wilde

    …rings true as the core essence who we are at Studio Pinpoint. That’s why we are are such a good match with the team at marquardt+. When two strong brand advisers are holding true to what the people say they want: authenticity – then how can you go wrong?

    What you all are saying is true. It’s not about positioning for the sake of it, it’s about being who you are.

    The comments are amazing and the conversation continues – thank you!

  29. Judi Snyder says: 02.3.20125:33 pm

    Brand is to company as Spirit is to human being.

    It is the “soul” or essence of a company. Much the same as the “heart and soul” of a person. When someone mentions your name…they automatically think of __________(description of your spirit). When someone mentions your company name they automatically think of ________ (description of the spirit or essence of the company). The key is not in logo’s and websites per se but consistency and passion of the message.

  30. Jaclyn says: 02.3.20126:28 pm

    To me, brand is the perception of one’s essence and the way in which it affects all interactions.

  31. Tom Marquardt says: 02.6.20125:31 pm

    Oh that dang Brand…

    I heard architect and educator Jeanne Gang interviewed on NPR a few months ago say that “…brand is meaningless and over used as a term”. When I hear these comments, I wonder what definition “brand” is for Ms. Gang. Now of course, and to be fair, I am quoting her out of memory and context, and of course depending on her perception of the meaning of the word, possibly true to her own experiences.

    My sense is though, is that so much blah blah exists in marketing, advertising, PR and the like, where no one really goes deeper than hearing a word, and using it freely without really considering its meaning, lack of meaning, or inappropriate application of meaning. It becomes a trend; a cultural buzz word on the cover of Fast Company, the business thought of the moment.

    Whether we acknowledge it our not, brand is our essence (thanks Jaclyn), the underlying structure that supports things like identity, perception and experience one has of an individual or organization. It is there, whether one chooses to not recognize it, acknowledge it, put it forward and or hide it.

    The first step is to understand and acknowledge its existence and to face what it is, versus what one thinks it is. I find this disconnect with individuals who are so close to their organizations, or themselves that it becomes increasingly difficult to step out of them and look back in to see what perceptions really are, versus what they think they are projecting, working, living thru everything their audience touches. EVERYTHING. It is one thing to be confident in ourselves, and another to be confident enough to question it and reassess when needed.

    Taking a good look, finding that truth, will provide most anyone with a great brand strategy foundation and thus a way to provide themselves with a truthful identity and a template to formulate any subsequent action that then supports that brand.

    And think about it, brand becomes the truth. There’s no blah blah, just stories of reality and a “sell” that becomes synonymous with the reality that everyone experiences, and thus differentiates and evolves naturally and is respected as it is credible from the first exposure.

    Studio Pinpoint with marquardt+ brings the expertise to help individuals and organizations gain a clear honest view of themselves, how it can be honored and organized; and most of all, what to do with it once it’s figured out!

    Most of the time, it is already there, and in line with existing thinking. In many ways, we help pull back the curtain and reveal the story and solidify the foundation taken for granted and not considered when subsequent decisions are being made.

    There should be no fear of developing a brand strategy, as something that will “change” everything a company has done, but as something that will bring depth and clarity into focus, and then supply a lens to test everything they do to be on target with their brand to support their intent of execution.

    And there’s nothing like seeing ones thoughts and perceptions in the things you put out to the world…it’s exciting, and allows for honest passion, dialogue, true relationships and ultimately comprehensive understanding and desire, that leads to success on levels some people only dream of…

    OMG, what Studio Pinpoint and marquardt+ can do for you…

  32. Shirley says: 02.6.20128:18 pm

    I am retired but very much aware of living in our society today which quickly changes with all the newest technologies that many times make my head spin. I recognize a Brand by its Logo or advertizing in the marketplace. I research to know what are the values and creativity behind the Brand. How are the people working for this Brand treated – is it with respect, fairness, equality, justice? What is the quality and purpose of the Brand; the honesty and sincerity of the customer service, the quickness and thoroughness of the customer service when difficulties arise? What creative thinking “out of the box” is being implemented to address a need in society for the good of society and not just for profit, especially for a select few at the top of the Brand? Just a few of my thoughts at this moment. This is a good question!


  33. […] Join our conversation on the marquardt+ blog and weigh in the brand equation. […]

  34. Doug Frick says: 02.15.20121:20 pm

    “A brand is not a product; it is something much less tangible- an aura of meaning. A charismatic brand is anything for which people believe there is no substitute. It is a person’s gut feeling about a product service or company.” -from Brandscapes by Anna Klingman, a nice summation of the breadth and effect of successful brand strategy.

  35. Tom Marquardt says: 02.20.20121:24 pm

    Here is a link Romana sent me on Brand Platform. There is so little history about integrated design, brand design and branded environments, and that has become our opportunity to help clarify it and provide those services. I am proud to be a part of this exciting direction in my practice and to partner with Romana Mirza and Studio Pinpoint!

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