Can we use the word “brand” when we’re speaking about the logo, the symbol or even the name? Though technically they aren’t a brand, we can say that the brand is a combination of each of these elements… and much more.
I’m currently working on my thesis, so I can (finally) get my master degree in Design Management. During my research, I found some interesting ideas that explain what a brand really is and how it is built. One of those ideas is “The Brand Iceberg” tool:
In this scheme, brands are represented as if they were huge icebergs, divided into two different parts. The visible part contains the words we usually use to as synonyms for the word “brand”. There, we see what is visual and what people relate to a brand.
On the hidden part of the iceberg, we find the core competencies, positioning strategy, culture and strategy personality. Although these are not visible, the components are responsible for sustaining and giving strength to the visible elements. Without them, there would be no meaning and, without meaning, we couldn’t have a strong brand.
The overall alignment gives brands the physicality they need to be experienced by everyone who has has a relationship with the brand.
But who is the responsible for doing that?
People. Organizations are made of, and by, people. I read a quote from Michael Eisner, a former executive of The Walt Disney Company, that describe the role of people in the brand experience.
According to him, a brand is a picture painted in pointillist style and the employees take the role of the artist, guided by the brand culture. When they are fully engaged and inspired, they place a bright spot on the picture, making the brand more radiant. If they are disconnected or unenthused, they add a gray spot that makes the brand look less attractive.
So, we can say that the connection of perceptions builds the brand’s culture. The culture is responsible for guiding people while building the brand as a unit of common values.
“Brand is the product of a thousand small gestures.” Michael Eisner