Brand vs. Commodity


(What you really need to know and understand about brand development)

There’s a lot of talk about Brand, Branding, and Brand Development. Its all important, and its all straightforward. The problem with most companies in regards to branding is that they haven’t taken time to understand the differences and more importantly, why they need to develop their brand.

Defining Brand:

Here’s what Webster’s says about the definition of a Brand: A Claim of distinction.

You see, without distinction, you’re brand “X”, or generic, or worse, a commodity. And we all know how commodities are traded – price. And when price becomes our only measurement of value, you loose – big time. Are you the low price leader? If so, you are fighting everyone in the marketplace. But if you have a claim of distinction then you rise above the fray. However, as Brand Strategists at Force 5, we have a problem with the word “Claim”.. It’s problematic in that anyone can make a claim. Given this, a more inarguable definition of a brand would be Evidence of Distinction. We work with our clients to find that evidence of distinction that makes them unique.

Brand development VS: Branding

There is a huge difference between branding and brand development. Brand development is the discovery process we go through to unearth our “Evidence of distinction,” and the development of communications of that differentiation. Branding is then, the tactical application of that distinction in all our communications materials. Branding might be a year long campaign using several tactics (broadcast, web, direct mail).

Brand development is not a marketing initiative.

Brand development is a corporate initiative. At Force 5 we believe that in order for a distinctive brand to be deliverable, it must be discovered and adopted at the very top echelon – the CEO, COO, President, VP of Marketing/Marketing director, etc. Once the discovery process is completed, and all of us have shared in the authorship of a brands unique distinction, then we’ll hand it off to marketing for advancement.

What’s your brand?