The Anatomy of Brands and Branding

Understanding brands and branding using the concept of matter, form, and compound by Aristotle.

Image Source — Getty Images

The concept of branding is very simple, yet it eludes many people. There’s been quite a lot of misconception on the topic of branding even from perceived thought leaders — From the definition of what a brand is to understanding how to build a successful brand.

Your favorite brand experts have tried to define a brand as: “a promise”, “a perception”, and “an experience” — Yet, individually, these by themselves are not exhaustive ways to define a brand. In fact, it is difficult to have a wholesome and conclusive definition of what a brand is because a brand is not an item — It is not a product.

The concept of brand and branding

A brand cannot exist without a company, a product, or a person. To fully understand what a brand is, we have to take an inclusive look at both the brand and the product/person/business together. To do this, we have to think of the product, the company, the business or the person, as a living being.

According to Aristotle, every living being is a compound of a body (matter) and a soul (form). The soul is the intangible part of a living being, it is the soul that make plants and animals living things. The body, on the other hand, is the tangible part of a living being. It is the physical structure and attributes we see and feel.

Putting this in a business perspective;

The soul is the brand of a business, while the body is the actual product, person, image or company.

The soul

The soul is the magnetic force that pulls people to love your product/business/person and become an advocate for you. This force cannot be seen, and for the most part, it cannot even be explained.

It is the actual reason why people would tattoo your logo on their skin, carry your sticker around in their car, or wearing your merchandise with an elated pride and dignity.

The soul is your brand, and just as it is intangible, it’s built inside the subconscious part of your clients, users, followers.

A simple diagram showing the relationship between products and brands, and their different features.

Major characteristics of the soul (the brand)

  1. Belief — The very core foundation on which all brands are built — The purpose and the ‘WHY’ of your business comes from your belief as an individual or a corporate organization
  2. Values — Similar to belief, this has to do with the difference you intend to make in the lives of your clients, followers, or the world at large.
  3. Experience — Resources such as knowledge, skills, expertise and previous jobs are also the determining factor of the quality of the brand to be built
  4. Passion — The extent to which your company would go to ensure that the right values and experience are delivered
  5. Emotions — The feelings people get from connecting to your brand.

The body

Simply put, this is your product/person/business/company. The body is, or is connected to everything physical people can see and feel about your product (business, company, person)

  1. Physical attributes — This is what we commonly refer to as the brand entity — It includes stuff the name, color, size, texture, shape, smell, sound, etc.
  2. Functionality — This has to do with whether your product achieves its expected result, the manner and way in which the expected result is achieved.
  3. Model — your business, operation model depends majorly on the deployment of your brand. The soul (brand) physically manifests itself in your business model. Stuff like Strategy, relationship and value of customers/friends, revenue strategy, etc.

Conclusion:

Building a brand comes from the inside — It comes from the deepest soul of your business. Answering important questions like — “What is our WHY?”, “What do we want to be remembered for?”, “What is our values?”, “Where are we going to?”, “Where are we at the moment?”, “Why should people patronize me/us over other similar competitors?”

Most of the companies with the strongest brands in the world have built their company from the inside out. This can be seen from the reality of who they are, the culture of their companies, their ideals, and ideas.

The quality of your product or services is a direct reflection what your brand is. To build an amazing product, or to offer great services that would be loved by people, you have to first get your branding right.

Building a strong brand comes from amplifying all the innate characteristics of your soul or the soul of your business. If you build a brand by pretending to be who you’re not, sooner or later people will find out the truth — Project your real strength and in some cases your weakness, people appreciate and love you more when you tell them the truth.

Let me know what you think of my concept for brands and branding. Feel free to drop a question or contributes to this by sharing your ideas in the comment section.

See you in my next post. Cheers!