In fact no brands exist… not even the most famous ones.
Let’s look more closely at what that means. A brand is just what’s called a social construct. That means it’s a concept that we, as a society, invent to help make sense of things. They are ideas, stories if you like – but just inventions.
Think about probably the most famous brand at the moment – Apple. Where does the brand exist? Not in the product – if we destroyed all the Apple products on the planet, the brand would still be there. Similarly, it’s not in the people or the property. Take all those away – and the brand would remain and could employ new people, build new premises and do something completely different.
Even if we consider the brand as a legal entity – as ‘intellectual property’ – the ‘idea’ of an IP is also just a social construct. The concept of the ‘law’ itself is just a construct too… but whoa! – now we’re getting into mind-confusing, philosophical challenges. Let’s step back to the simple world.
Does this matter for your brand?
It does, because it reminds us that bands exist solely as stories in people’s minds. They are tremendously powerful ideas that help consumers make choices.
Keep in mind the importance of brand stories. Those stories are already out there in the brandscape – for better or for worse. People build them – we all write our own – they are based upon how we experience and perceive a brand and how it behaves.
If we understand this we can concentrate upon the important things. We can improve customers’ interactions with the brand. Brands have the opportunity build emotional engagement and attachment. We can help create brand stories that people love and enjoy.
It’s important to be aware of the intangible benefits of the brand and not get too engrossed in the physical product or service. Our brand choices depend as much on what we ‘believe’ they can and will deliver – to satisfy our needs and wants.
Now, that’s pretty powerful stuff for something that doesn’t exist.