The first definition of “brand” is the name given to a product or service from a specific source. Used in this sense, “brand” is similar to the current meaning of the word “trademark.” More than a century ago, cattle ranchers used branding irons to indicate which animals were theirs. As the cattle moved across the plains on their way to Chicago slaughter houses, it was easy to determine which ranches they were from because each head of cattle was branded.
Beginning in the later part of the 20th century, marketers began to grasp there was more to the perception of distinctive products and services than their names—something David Ogilvy described as “the intangible sum of a product’s attributes.” Marketers realized that they could create a specific perception in customers’ minds concerning the qualities and attributes of each non-generic product or service. They took to calling this perception “the brand.”
Put simply, your “brand” is what your prospect thinks of when he or she hears your brand name. It’s everything the public thinks it knows about your name brand offering—both factual (e.g. It comes in a robin’s-egg-blue box), and emotional (e.g. It’s romantic). Your brand name exists objectively; people can see it. It’s fixed. But your brand exists only in someone’s mind.