It occurs to me that the words “brands” and “branding” are being used far too loosely these days.
A growing number of people seem to equate the word “brand” with “perception,” as if everything that can be perceived is suddenly a brand. In addition to political parties, religions and economic systems (“the Christianity brand,” “the capitalism brand,” etc.), here are some groups of people I’ve heard described as “brands” in the very recent past:
- Artists of all stripes
- Every single person alive (“personal branding”)
If we continue this line of thinking, doesn’t it stand to reason that your child is a brand? Certainly, he or she is perceived by other children, parents, teachers, etc., and is chosen for friendships, sports teams and academic recognition accordingly. Are our children in fact brands? Why or why not? Is it a good idea to teach our children to think of themselves as brands? If it’s a bad idea, why do so many adults so readily embrace the concept?
This example is clearly meant to provoke, but I’m sincere in the asking. And it points to other questions: When it comes to what’s a brand and what’s not, where exactly should we draw the line? Is everything a “brand” these days, or are we better served by being more precise in our thinking and terms? I certainly have my view, and I look forward to your thoughts.
About Matthew Fenton: Matthew founded Three Deuce Branding in 1997 with a simple mission: “To help good people build great brands.” He’s a former CMO who repeatedly led underdog brands to dramatically outpace the market, and now he does the same for the clients he serves. Businesses with revenues of seven figures or more trust Matthew to help them achieve “brand clarity” through core brand strategy and positioning. Matthew is also a highly-rated speaker. Contact Matthew here. He’s based in Chicago.
Copyright 2014 – Matthew Fenton. All Rights Reserved. You may reprint this article with the original, unedited text intact, including the About Matthew Fenton section.