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Dear Tig: What Is Brand Essence? And What's The Definition Of A Great Marketer

by Tig Tillinghast  |  
November 19, 2002

Dear Tig,

What really is brand essence? How does it tie to the business objectives of an organization? What value can I assign to it so that I can express the importance of having a clear one in terms of ROI?

Thanks! - Essentially Flummoxed

Dear Flummoxed,

Brand essence often gets misused as a term akin to the emperor's new clothes--an object everyone is supposed to see and appreciate, but in fact doesn't exist.

In point of fact, brand essence does exist, is important and is often vital in the success of marketing.

Brand essence is the abstraction that audiences take away after experiencing the sum of brand impressions--from both the marketing and from personal experience with the product, transaction process and service.

Brand essence is the lasting impression--usually summed up with one simple (sometimes brutally honest) assessment--that defines the personality qualities of the product or company. Apple Computer's brand essence may be seen as “artful technology that's mostly useful.”'s essence might be “earnestly trying to make academic marketing theories practicable.”

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Tig Tillinghast writes from the banks of the Elk River near Chesapeake City, Maryland. He consults with major brands and ad agency holding companies, helping marketing groups find the right resources for their needs. He is the author of The Tactical Guide to Online Marketing as well as several terrible fiction manuscripts.

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