An appalling customer service experience recently prompted me to think about basic business protocols. Ever since the beginning of humanity, business transactions have taken place with the equivalent of a handshake and an individual's word of honor.
Even today, with litigation fears and obsession for legal contracts, it is often our verbal agreements and discussions that precede any signed deals. And, yes, even in the 21st century, many business arrangements are decided at kitchen tables, coffee shops, restaurants, clubs, golf courses, and office bathrooms.
After all, as human beings, we have a need to relate to one another.
My definition of a brand is simple. It's a promise waiting to be fulfilled. Of course, there's more to it, but if we examine its raw essence, it's something derived from a transaction or experience with an individual, company, group, product, or service.
Many times, a brand experience is intangible and subconscious. People can feel good about a company or product without truly knowing why. Their experiences were positive in some way and often repeated and consistent, with the end result being some degree of brand loyalty.
Yet, confusion about branding still permeates executive offices in the business, public, and third sectors. No, Virginia, a logo alone is not a brand.