Sometimes the hardest thing—conceptually—for marketers to do is to separate their brand from their product.

"Product is king."

"All people really care about is the product."

"Price and product—that's it."

"Our brand is our product—they're one in the same."

I've heard it all before, and from some very successful people. But it's all an illusion. None of it is true.

When people choose brands, they are projecting an extension of themselves onto the brand. The brand augments their identity, just as their choice of friends, music, and fashion does.

Consumers will literally brand themselves by identifying with your brand. It's personal. It's emotional.

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image of Brian Bennett

Brian Bennett is owner and president of STIR Advertising and Integrated Messaging, a national advertising and marketing firm based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

LinkedIn: Brian Bennett

Twitter: @stirologist