Intro To Branding: What Is A Brand? | Everett Bowes | Skillshare

Intro To Branding: What Is A Brand?

Everett Bowes, Branding. Marketing. Social.

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13 Lessons (46m)
    • 1. Introduction

      3:32
    • 2. Common Misunderstandings About Branding

      3:14
    • 3. Branding Is About The Mind, Not The Eye

      2:11
    • 4. Developing The Human Properties of Your Brand

      3:55
    • 5. A Brand Is A Behavior

      2:46
    • 6. A Brand Is A Reputation

      4:40
    • 7. Branding Object Lesson

      3:40
    • 8. A Brand Is An Accumulation

      5:32
    • 9. A Brand Is A Narrative

      5:49
    • 10. A Brand Is A Device

      3:30
    • 11. Common Reasons For A Lack of Alignment

      4:30
    • 12. Closing Thoughts

      2:00
    • 13. Blooper Reel

      0:49
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About This Class

There is so much confusion about what a brand is!

The sad reality is most explanations of branding are incomplete or inaccurate! Even seasoned marketing pro's have a hard time explaining branding.

This is branding for the rest of us!

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In this course you will get a full, complete, and memorable understanding of what branding really is.

By now we should all understand this: your brand is not your logo, nor is it your product, your product design, color palette, or business collateral.  Your brand is much, much bigger than these visual assets, and it's the key to your business' longevity.

  • Learn how branding is vital for connecting deeply with your audience
  • Understand why branding consistency and alignment are vital
  • See how "companies do not create their brand; their audience creates the brand"
  • Learn where confusion about branding stems from
  • Learn the top four causes of brand misalignment
  • and so much more!

Presented by Everett Bowes, of We Talk Branding, a branding expert and best-selling Instructor, this 45-minute course is densely packed with insight and information!

Each lesson is short, downloadable, and features bullet points to make learning even easier.

Don't get left behind! 

Do you have a complete definition of branding? Is your explanation of branding easy-to-understand, apply, and remember? If not, join us!

See you in class!!

Additional Classes by Everett Bowes, We Talk Branding:

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Transcripts

1. Introduction: I feel like everyone is talking about branding these days. Once it was reserved for the creative elites in the office, the Mac users in the office. But now this term, brand and branding, it's common phrase to all levels of the organization and corporate divisions inside of a company. Beyond that, we used to hear entrepreneurs, product developers, industry leaders talk about building a company. But now, we hear these people and many others talking about building a brand. Well, the good news is there are right. Having a brand-building focus is vital for business success. But with all of this talking about branding from traditional marketers as well as non marketers, there is a lot of confusion about what a brand is. Today, there's no shortage of books. In online classes, they're talking about branding. But honestly, I find most of them are incomplete or even inaccurate. The goal of this course is very clear. I'm going to simplify and clarify branding. This course is aimed to anyone who's seeking a memorable, impractical, and actionable understanding of branding. By the time you're done with this course, not only you going to have crystal clarity about what a brand is, you'll also have the tools to be able to articulate it to others. You will even have the ability to evaluate how well other companies are branded. This course is for people who are new to the concept of branding, but it's also for marketers and business leaders who already have a strong grasp on brand, but are having a difficult time trying to get others in their organization on the same page. I'm going to break down branding into a simple, easy to remember, easy to repeat concepts. We will talk about why there is so much confusion about branding and where likely stems from. We're also going to cover what a brand isn't, and we'll reframe your mindset about the foundation of branding. Then lastly, of course, I'm going to give you a clear and memorable definition of what a brand is. In this course, I'm going to talk about branding in general. But I'm also going to do it by talking to you as if you're building a brand. I'm talking to you as if you're a brand manager or a marketing director trying to get others on board with your vision in your leadership. I'm talking to you as if you're the business owner or a leader and you're trying to bring branding focus into your organization. Teaching the course this way makes the course more active and applicable and just a lot less passive. Before we dive in, just a quick note to set you up for success in this course. Number 1, ask questions anytime, write a comment, or reach out to me directly. I'm just super eager to engage with my students. Feel free to get clarity on the concept of the principle in the course. Or if you want some clarity on how to apply that teaching to your brand, let me know. I'm here to help. Then second, I'm always eager to not only answer questions, but also to give updates and to provide examples and other resources anytime as possible. Come back and check in for those updates. All right, let's dive into branding and let's see, where did all this confusion come from? 2. Common Misunderstandings About Branding: So I am just going to admit it. I have this major pet peeve. So many times I hear people talk about logo and branding as if those two are interchangeable words. I will hear somebody say, Oh, we put the brand on a t-shirt last week and everyone's wearing them or don't forget to wear the brand, or let's put the brand on the product and the product package. Honestly, it just blows my mind. I hear it from non marketers, but what bothers me so much more is I actually hear from people who are in marketing. What we're going to identify as this, course roles on, is that your brand is not your logo, it's just not, your brand is also not your product. Some people would say, let's say I'm a manufacturer of soaps, I sell soap and I have three different soaps, I would say, I have three brands and I would hold up a bar of soap and I'd say, well, this brand right here. Well, while the three different brands, and this gets a little bit tricky, the three different soaps might actually have three different brands, that soap itself is not a brand, the product is not the brand. Some people will have such a crazy product style or packaging style, that don't think that, that is the brand. So your logos is not your brand, your product is not your brand, your color palette is not your brand. None of these are your brand. There's a commonality to all of this. What I find is that most misconceptions about branding or brands is that we often think that the brand has to do with something we can see. But what you're going to find through the rest of this course is that branding actually has way more to do with your mind than with just your eye. Now, the origin of this word branding in marketing, I don't know for sure exactly where it comes from. A lot of people will say that, it stems from the livestock branding where you take a branding iron, it's taken in the fire against the animal and you leave this mark on them. That mark typically would either be a person's name or the ranches name or maybe the ranches initials, or maybe some stylized design, again, all signifying the owner of that livestock. The mark serves as something that signals more than just the owner of that, but we're going to dive into that later on in this course. Today, most people can't escape this thinking of branding as something that they can see or maybe tangibly feel. In fact, in America, we don't use this word branding for anything else. There's either branding livestock or something to do with marketing, that's it. Most people think a brand is simply that logo. But as I said already, a brand is much more. In fact, there's a powerful branding principle that can be learned by breaking down the Chinese word for branding. We're going to cover that in the next lesson. 3. Branding Is About The Mind, Not The Eye: In a previous lesson, we talked about this misconception that a lot of people have, they feel that branding really is all about what you see. However, the Chinese word for brand gives us a really cool and different perspective. First, major disclaimer here, I'm not Chinese. I think you already knew that. Number 2, I'm not a native Chinese speaker. Again, I think you already knew that. But when doing the research for this course and looking up the Chinese word for brand, I kept coming up at this word, mingji. Now, I don't know if I'm pronouncing mingji correctly or not, but I kept coming up at this word. I took this to some native Chinese speakers, and they said every mingji it can mean brand, but that's not necessarily the word that I would use today. What I found is that everybody told me, everybody that I spoke to said, "Look, the Chinese language is complex. It's difficult. Different areas use different words and it's just a challenge." There is another word for brand or branding that I think it might be a little bit more popular today. But for the purpose of this course and this lesson, I want to stick with this word, mingji, and you're going to see why. Mingji can be interpreted as brand, and when you break this word apart, it means bear in mind, keep in mind, remember, or keep in memory. As you see, it's already rooted in the mind more than in the eye. The first part of the word means inscribe, or engrave, or carve. Then the second part of the word means remember, or note, or record. The Chinese word for branding paints this picture of etching or inscribing an experience in our minds. Again, less eye more mind. In the next lesson, we're going to talk about the final foundational principle of branding and then we're going to actually dive into defining a brand. 4. Developing The Human Properties of Your Brand: This is a huge foundational principle and I call it the human property. I want you to think about Apple and Apple's product announcements. I loved watching that and I still do. I love watching Apple when they announce a brand new product, but especially loved when Steve Jobs would do it. Let's see just here. I have an iPad right here. Steve would go on stage and he would talk about this brand new device and he'd say, you can do this, you can do that, you can do this. You can e-mail, you can surf the web, you can send text messages, you can do all this, and you can do all of this and more with iPad. But what he did not say is, you can do all of this with an iPad, or you can do all of this on an iPad, or with the iPad. He always would refer to whatever the product is, and he'd say with iPhone, you can this, with iPad, you can do that, do this, and do this and, do this with iPad, iPhone, and whenever. The point is, he would talk about the product more like it was a person, than a product. I want you to think about branding the exact same way. Your brand is so much more like a person, than it is like a thing. Now, I always say this in all my teaching, all the time. People connect with people. People connect with people, and not with products, not with services, not with things. As we apply this to brands, it's the same thing. People don't connect with an organization.They don't connect with a company. They connect with people. My job as a brand strategist is to help brands develop the human properties. It's just absolutely vital. It's so important to look around at some of the businesses in the commercials that you're very familiar with. Let's take the insurance industry for an example. Insurance products are just really not very personal and they're very hard to connect with. They're hard to make an indispensable part of our lives. Companies like Progressive and Geico and Aflac have created these characters. Progressive has flow, and Aflac has the duck, and Geico has the gecko. All of these characters are personifications. They are entities. They're characters that are meant for us to connect with. They represent the brand, and they give a personification to the brand that makes them more connect-worthy. There are other brands do the same thing outside of insurance. Look at McDonald's, has Ronald McDonald's. When I was a kid, I had a whole host of characters. Burger King has the king, Captain Morgan ram has the captain. Hotels.com, has captain obvious. Then Verizon had the, Can You Hear Me. Now guy that's, actually with Sprint these days. Characters are intended to help their audience connect with the brand, because that human property is so important. There's other companies that their leader tends to embody these characters and represent them. Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, all of these strong leaders have these human characteristics and properties that are projected onto the brand. The key to all of this is, human properties bring a sense of attraction and loyalty to a brand. Guy Kawasaki said, ''Strive for humanness. Great brands achieved a high level of humanness. They speak to you as an individual." The conclusion on this brand, it's more in the mind than the eye. A brand is more like a person. Now, with that said, let's dive in. What is a brand? 5. A Brand Is A Behavior: 'Companies have to wake up to the fact that they are more than a product on a shelf. They are a behavior as well.' I love that quote. A brand is a behavior. A brand is an expected behavior. Your brand is how you act, what you do, how you act, how you react, it's what you say, how you say it. A brand is what is expected of you. Your brand isn't how you acted once. A brand is what your audience expects of you today as well as in the future. We're all familiar with expected behaviors. Parents know exactly how their kids are going to react the second they hear, maybe the ice cream truck coming in in a distance or when they announce bedtime, they know exactly how their kids are going to react, and the same is also true for family members and coworkers. We just know that certain things trigger people to do, so they're just predictable. That's the same exact thing with a well-branded company. A well-branded company is predictable, just like your kids, and family members, and coworkers. It's just like a person. Nordstrom, I love talking about how Nordstrom's return policy is just absolutely notorious. If you came to me and you said, "Hey, I've read about this product. I bought it from Nordstrom but the problem is it's just not right. Something's not right about it." I'd say, "Take it back to Nordstrom." You might say, "Yeah, but I bought it when I was traveling. I don't have the receipt." Take it to Nordstrom, it's not going to be an issue. Now, how do I know that? I've never seen a single commercial about Nordstrom's return policy. I've never read anything in their literature about it whatsoever. But Nordstrom is a well-branded accompany and they have an absolute expected brand behavior. When the public does not know how you're going to act or react, that's when you're in trouble. Markets do not like uncertainty whatsoever. I stress this word, know, when the public does not know what you're going to do. If they don't know, then you're not a well-branded company. Apple, Nike, Starbucks, McDonald's, Target, Walmart, Coca-Cola; all of these are very, very predictable companies. All of them are not only very well branded but they're the most valuable companies on the planet. Our very first step in defining a brand is understanding that a brand is a behavior. It is an expected behavior. Now there's way more to it and so we're going to dive into the next lesson. 6. A Brand Is A Reputation: Branding is what people say about you when you're not in the room. That's the next piece of this definition of Brand. A Brand is a reputation. There's this exercise that I love doing with groups when I'm consulting. I walk in and hopefully I have enough people that I can do this with two different tables at the same time. I take a set of identical sets of Lego blocks. I dump them on the table and I say you have 30 seconds to make something, go. They take the first two, three, five seconds on whatever, just looking at each other, looking at me thinking, "Is he serious?" Then they just get to work and in no time, way less than 30 seconds. They create something out of those pieces and the beauty is, 98 percent of the time, the thing that both tables create is identical. They are identical to each other. This is branding. The concept of reputation is so important because what's key to all of this is, the company does not make the brand. They provide the pieces to the audience and their audience makes the brand. In this analogy, I love this Lego block thing that I do it's a train. It makes Thomas the Train. I have in my mind that my brand is very much like Thomas the train. I don't create that. I provide those Thomas the Train pieces to my audience and the audience creates the most logical thing that they can. Invariably that's what they come up with, they make that identical thing. Scott Cook, founder of Intuit and he's Board of Directors on Proctor and Gamble. He said, "A brand is no longer what we tell consumers it is, it is what consumers tell each other it is." What are the pieces that we give our audience? The pieces that we're giving a what I call, experiences or touch points. Anytime someone comes in contact with your brand, it's an experience or a brand experience. That's why I always stress this word, "Audience." I don't say your customers build your brand, because even non-customers have experiences and touch points with your brands. They see your commercials, your Social Media, in YouTube and so on. They form opinions about your brand and they can contribute to your brands reputation, even without ever buy anything from you. You provide experiences and your audience builds whatever they logically want from the pieces you provide. Guy Kawasaki said, "Brands are built on what people are saying about you, not what you're saying about yourself." We covered this in previous lessons, but some people think their logo is the brand. Your logo is not that your brand and neither is your product, your packaging, your colors, or any of that other stuff. Not any one of those singular elements is your brand. None of those individual elements is your brand, but the combination of all of these elements come together to help form your brand. It goes way deeper than those things that you can see. It's all about other experiences, and touch points. A customer service experience or a phone call with a company. The experience that you have with them on their website or Social Media feed, Twitter post, in YouTube videos, commercials, television, all of these and more are the collective experiences that the audience is using to build your brand. I love this quote by Jim Mullen, because it summarizes a few of the points we've already touched on. He said, "In daily practice, the word "brand" stands as a surrogate for the word "reputation". In fact, your brand acts just like a person. When you know a person's reputation, you can predict his or her behavior. You know what that person is likely to do or say, or not do or say in any given situation. Your brand works the same way." I love this because it echoes what we've already covered. We talked about how a brand is a reputation, a brand is like a person, a brand is a behavior, brands need to be predictable, this is fantastic. A brand is a reputation. You provide the pieces and your audience builds the brand. In the next lesson, we're going to go into an even deeper dive on the importance of those brand experiences. 7. Branding Object Lesson: Branding is an accumulation of experiences, branding is a reputation. You don't make your brand, your audience makes your brand for you. What I like to do, is I like to go into a branding engagement. I walk in with a bunch of pieces and I just give them to them. I throw them down, I might throw them down, I go, "Hey here's some pieces of Duplo Lego set." I say, "Make something." I don't tell them what I want them to make. I just say make something, and invariably, people just start putting this stuff together. They put this here and maybe they put this here, and they put this here and they go, here you go, I made something. This is exactly what I was hoping for. I gave them pieces, but they made the whole. That is the same exact thing with branding. In branding, you don't make your brand. You provide the pieces that actually come together to make your brand. What are the pieces that you make not make, provide? The pieces you provide are different brand experiences. Maybe it's your logo and your UX in your design and so on, or maybe if you have a store, the look and feel of your store, and maybe this is your phone experience and customer service experience. This right here is your social media experience. This here is your commercials and videos and so on. All these different pieces come together to form something, and this is what your audience automatically forms in their mind about you. This is exactly what you wanted. This is what you want people to think of when they think of your brand, you have to provide only the pieces that will come together to logically create that. The problem is that in the face of competitive pressure, brands imitate. Here you are and you look over and you go, oh my gosh, my competitor over they're, maybe they're doing something that you envy, something that you want. Maybe they have more social shares, maybe they have more revenue, more customers, it doesn't matter. They've got something that you want. You go, well, what is it that they're doing? You go, Well, my goodness, I can do that too. So all of a sudden you start taking bits and pieces of your competition, and now you look like this. This just doesn't fit anymore. Then you look over and you go, my goodness will look at them. They're so cool, they're so fast, they're so hip. We can do that too. We can be cool, hip, fast, funny, and so on. So we take a little bit of them and all of a sudden, before you know it, you'll look something like this. Now, your current customers who were used to that Thomas the Train looking you, are going, I don't even know who you are anymore and they start leaving. Then new people, and I call it, your audience. They're not new customers, but new people coming in contact with your brand through brand experiences, touch points, whatever it might be, they see this and they have no idea what to make out of this, and so they are not attracted to your brand. The key and the point is always that you have to know who you are. Define who you are, and by doing that, you know that this is who you want to be. So the key is figure out who you are and be more of it. You are Thomas the Train duplo lego block set. You define who you are and be more and more of it. That doesn't mean that these people aren't attracted to your brand. These people right here, they might go, you know what, this is, what I normally like, but when I'm in the mood for your type of brand, when you are consistent, whole, there's none of this going on, you're not trying to imitating anybody else, the more consistent and focus that you are, the more attractive you become to your market. 8. A Brand Is An Accumulation: So far, here's what we've uncovered, branding. It's anchored more in the mind than the eye. Branding focuses on developing the personal properties. Now, a brand is a behavior, a brand is a reputation, and next, a brand is an accumulation. I love this quote, A brand is the sum of all the experiences you have with a company. Now, in the previous lesson, we discussed how your audience makes your brand. The visual elements alone are not your brand. Your logo, product, product design, package design, all that stuff, that is not your brand. The non-visual elements are also not your brand. Your customer service, your brand voice, what you say, how you say it, your behavior, your values, tweets, commercials and so on, those individually are not your brand. However, all of these are the pieces and the touch points you're giving to your audience from which they form your brand. A brand is an accumulation of all of these touchpoints and experiences. The difference between a reputation and accumulation is this. A reputation acknowledges the fact that your audience forms the brand based on the experiences you give them, and the accumulation brings to focus that your job is to provide only the experiences that are consistent with your overall desired brand experience. Now, this gets into alignment and consistency. Consistency, all I mean by consistency is that my web experience today is consistent with my web experience with you tomorrow and so on and so forth and that my in-store experience with you today is consistent with my in-store experience with you tomorrow and so on and in the past and all that other stuff and the same with social media and so on. But alignment is a little bit different. Alignment means that my experience with your brand in-store is in line with my brand experience I have with you on the phone, and with your customer service, and on the web, and with your social media, in your commercials and so on, consistency and alignment. Now, one of the things that I really need to stress with this point is what I call your desired brand experience. Brands don't make the brand. Your audience makes the brand. What you do is you have a desired brand experience. You have in your mind what you want your brand to be perceived as. With this principle of consistency and alignment, you simply provide pieces that will only allow the audience to create what you had in your mind. Let's back up. If I'm doing this Lego block example and at the end, I want someone to create out of the pieces I give them and I'm saying, hey, here's some random pieces but with those random pieces, I want them to create a train. What I need to do with alignment and consistency and accumulation is simply only provide pieces that are constructive in building the train. I cannot give pieces that, this is going to look like a bike and this is a piece from an airplane model, and then expect them to come up with a train. That's the whole point. You have to have in mind at the forefront of your brand, you have to have identified and written down, I call it codified. You have to have a codified desired brand experience. That becomes the filter for all of the touchpoints and all of the experiences that you end up providing to your audience. Consistency is key, alignment is vital and with that, you amass an accumulation of these. Again, whether it's in-store, online, social media, billboards, commercials, events, customer service, everything needs to look and feel the same and then you have absolutely captured this concept of accumulation. Now, there are some things that are common that lead to a misaligned brand experience and we're going to cover that in another lesson. There's some, I call them four usual suspects. But in closing, first, you need to know your desired brand experience. Then you have to ask yourself, are you providing those pieces and only those pieces across all of your brand experiences? If you want your audience to regard your brand as a luxury brand, then you can only give them elements that consistently communicate and reinforce luxury. If you want people to regard your brand as the smart choice, then you need to only provide elements to your audience that reinforce how your brand is the wisest option. One of the founders of [inaudible] said, building a strong story and brand comes from paying attention to all those details that make up the whole experience for users. If you offer conflicting elements, then your audience won't be able to build the brand you were hoping for. 9. A Brand Is A Narrative: All right, so we've already talked about how a brand is a behavior, a brand is a reputation, a brand is an accumulation, and next, a brand is a narrative. A brand is a representation of a story. Now in branding, the narrative element is two fold. One, first, the story is the story of the brand, and then second, there's your story. The part that the brand plays in your own life story. First, let's talk about the brand story. The brand story is the brand's birth and rise and struggled to stay relevant in the marketplace. I love studying Apple, I love studying their birth, their rise, the fall, the ascension back to greatness. That brand story from origin, all the way to road to greatness, colors the brand. It gives it a sense of personality and identity and something that we can relate to and connect with. Then there's the values and the beliefs that are at the core of the brand. That's also part of the brand story. Now this isn't what the brand does. This is why the brand does what it does. If you aren't already familiar with Simon Sineks groundbreaking ted talk, 'Start With Why.' You need to do yourself a favor and just stop everything and go watch it. Simon Sineks work describes the importance of communicating what brands believe and the underlying reasons behind why they do what they do. What you believe colors and impacts not only what you do and how you do it, as well as what your promise is for the future. Simon Sineks work reveals that people don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it. Your brand is a narrative, a story element. A brand is not simply a manufacturer of a product or a provider of a service. Great brands create meaning. Jim Signorelli says, "A product provides a function, a brand provides a meaning." Often, meaning is transported in the vehicle of story and story elements. Commercials and social media, PR events, philanthropic efforts, corporate activism and lobbying and customer service experiences. All of these and more are story vehicles for the brand. Jason Fried said, "Great brands are the ones that tell the best stories. Sure, good products and services matter, but stories are what connect people with companies.". People connect with brands through stories, not products. A story is bigger than a product. The story is a carrier of purpose and struggle and significance. Long after the product has been discarded, the brand story has the power to remain relevant for their audience. We are wired for story. So when brands feed a story, we consume it. When a brand doesn't offer us a clear story, we make one up for ourselves. Robert McKee is this godfather of story practically, and at least as it relates to movies, he said, "If a business person understands that his or her own mind naturally wants to frame experience in a story, the key to moving the audience is not to resist this impulse, but to embrace it." Scott Bedbury, the former head of marketing for Nike and Starbucks, said a brand is a metaphorical story that connects with something very deep. Companies that manifest this sensibility invoke something very powerful. In the book, The Fortune Cookie Principle, the author said, "Stories are how we attach meaning and significance to anything including businesses." So companies either need to spend time creating their own brand story or spend time correcting their audiences version of it. Your ability to identify and communicate your story is the soul and the essence, the very character of your business. That story should be your marketing strategy. Defining your brand through story is paramount. Companies that do it enjoy major benefits over companies that do not do it. Benefits like higher margins, greater customer loyalty, decreased employee turnover and increased marketing return on investment. I love Daniel Pinks work, and in one of his books he says, "Story, big businesses are realizing means big money." People subscribe to brands almost like a membership. People align their lives with the purpose and significance in the mission and story of a brand, not with the product. So the second twist to this element of narrative is not only does the brand have a story to tell, but we tell our own story by the brand affiliations that we make. Seth Godin said, "The brand is a story, but it's a story about you not about the brand." My brand choices contribute to defining me. The car I drive, the coffee I drink, the sneakers I wear, the computers I buy. All of these brand choices reflect me. They define me to my own audience and they also contribute to my own self-view. Seth Godin again says, "More than ever, we express ourselves with what we buy and how we use what we buy. Great marketers don't make stuff, they make meaning." A brand is a story offering meaning and connection between a company and their audience and a brand reflects me and plays a role in the telling of my story. 10. A Brand Is A Device: Welcome to our last component for defining a brand. So far, we said that a brand is a behavior, a reputation, an accumulation, and a narrative. Lastly, a brand is a device. A brand is a shortcut. We need shortcuts. Today, we are inundated with an endless amount of noise, billboards, and commercials, radio ads, in-app ads, mobile marketing, in-store signage, product packaging and so much more, all are designed to grab our attention. This doesn't even include our friends, family, coworkers, our social networks, and the ever-growing list of events and activities that are in our lives also. Some researchers say, we are bombarded with roughly 20,000 ad messages a week. With all of that content vying for our attention, what in the world are we going to focus on? Just getting through the grocery store with the tens of thousands of brands in there, how do we make sense of all of the options? The answer is, by using shortcuts. We can mindlessly process endless amounts of attention grabbing sights, and sounds, and data. Sally Hogsheads said, "Brands give us a shorthand in a distracted and confusing world. These shortcuts help consumers make sense of all the options. If you're trying to stand out, finding shortcuts is critical." In this next quote, "The stronger the brand, the shorter the shortcut. The stronger the brand, the less an organizations target audiences have to think about engaging with it.". By developing the human properties like we mentioned in the introduction, we're drawn to certain brands and we're incredibly loyal to them. We might not be able to articulate why we're drawn to specific brands, but more often than not, that connection is typically made instantaneously. That means, something about your experience with that brand hinted at something deeper. Was it the brands look, or feel, or design? Was it their voice or their message? Was it something about their values or promise that you were able to pick up? I don't think most people really know, but one thing is certain, a brand is a device. It's a shortcut. A brand is a lot of tiny little touch points that hint at something bigger, something with meaning, and personality, and relatability, and connection. Remember, when we started this course, we talked about livestock being branded. We said, branded livestock typically has a name or a symbol that reveals the livestock's owner. But I also said that the brand reveals something more than just who owns that cow. The mark also speaks of the quality of the animal, where it's from, how it was raised, how it was cared for, and possibly even the livestock's lineage, which probably speaks to the reliability of it. In the cattle business, the brand is more than a name. The brand is a device used to convey a lot of valuable information in a very short period of time. The same applies to our role of branding. A brand is a behavior, a reputation, an accumulation, a narrative, and a device. Now, that's a more complete view and understanding of a brand. 11. Common Reasons For A Lack of Alignment: Let's talk about what leads to a lack of alignment and consistency. Now, there's no set answer but I find these are the four most common culprits. Number 1, I always tell companies that I've worked within the phase of competitive pressure most brands imitate. Now, what I mean is simply you're in business and you have competition and so maybe your business is going well or maybe it's not, it doesn't matter but you look across the competitive landscape and you see another businesses doing well. Maybe they're not beating you but they're gaining some traction or maybe they are beating you. What do brands typically do at that point? They look at what the competition is doing and they say, well, we can do that too. In the face of competitive pressure, we imitate. Unfortunately, we lose sight of our own brand identity when we do that and in doing so, when we talked about consistency and alignment, we said if you're trying to have your audience build you are a train. In my analogy, you're a train, then you can only give train pieces. But this competitor over here is a car, this competitor over here is a jet that whenever there is a bike and you see how they're doing their commercials, how they're doing their social media and how they're doing their plane, it doesn't matter and so you take little bits and pieces and so when you start imitating your competition, now you're giving your train pieces out, but you're also giving out airplane or jet pieces, bike and so on and so forth. This is going to cause inconsistency and a lack of alignment. Now, another big reason why brands are not very consistent and have a lack of alignment is because they're not taking a global holistic view of their overall brand experiences. Instead, what they're trying to do is create a really nice in-store experience and then decent customer service experience and then on the phone experience and so on. But they don't look at who are we overall, what is the desired brand experience we're trying to create all together and so with a lack of that, you have these isolated, chopped up different experiences. When I experience your in-store, it's not going to look the same, feel the same, sound the same as when I experienced you online or social media. Then next is these internal silos. The website might be consistent with other aspects of the web experience but that's not consistent with the cross-functional aspects of your brand. Maybe social media just doesn't feel the same and it's because we've siloed our departments. We taken an idea or a concept or whatever it is and we give it to the web team and then we give that to the same concept or whatever to all the different teams. But we don't bring these teams together to talk about the execution and then the execution of those ideas and so on. This is a typical thing is internal silos really tend to cause inconsistencies and a lack of alignment. Then lastly, possibly one of the biggest things. Personal personalities creep in. What I mean is, if I must say I'm in charge of the social media, then I allow my personality to color the brand's social media experience. But then another leader is in charge of, let's say, the web experience and their personality can creeps in and it colors the web experience. Allowing personal personalities to override the overall brand personality is another reason why we have lack of consistency and alignment in most brands. Now, this is by no means an exhaustive list but I want you as you evaluate your brand or as you try to bring your brand on the same page or for any other reason, I want you to take these four major reasons and just ask yourself are we imitating our competitors? Are we letting our personal personalities creep in too far? And then, are we too siloed? And then are we taking a global holistic view of our organization and our desired brand experience? If you're not doing that, then there's just going to be a lot of breakdown anyway. 12. Closing Thoughts: In closing, we talked about a brand is a behavior, in that whole concept was all about predictability. We also said that a brand is a behavior, in this just deals with the fact that others build your brand. You don't build the brand. If we said that a brand is an accumulation and I talked about consistency and alignment across all your touch points with your overall desired brand experience. We then talked about how a brand is a narrative, it's a story element. We talked about the two functions of the narrative, your brand story and how your brand fulfills the story of your audience. Then lastly, we talked about a brand is a device. It's a shortcut to understand and connect to your brand as fast as possible with your audience. Obviously, when we take the first letter of all of these different words, we formed the acronym and its brand. You probably already figured that out by now. But anyway. That was the goal for this. To understand what a brand is, we can break it down into behavior, reputation, accumulation, narrative, and device. I really hope you enjoyed this class. Again, I want you to ask questions, ask questions in the class, or reach out to me directly. I'm fine with that. You can talk to me about clarity about a specific principle or topic that was covered in this class, or if you just or having trouble applying this principle to your specific business or brand, but just get in touch with me. I'll do everything that I can to try to help you. On top of that, I do have other classes, I'd love you to check them out specifically some social media and how to build a brand on social media, some leadership and so on. I like to try to give discounts to other classes to my active students. If you're looking for a discount for one of my other classes, feel free to send me a message and I'll see what I can do for you. With that best wishes and happy branding. 13. Blooper Reel: Here we go. It was once this word written. In the previous lesson, what we, back up again. Up. Now, a brand is a behavior. Let's start over. I love. Let's do it again. In a previous lesson, we talked about how most people think. This term brand and branding. Now we hear it. A lot more to do with. Keep on moving.