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… and the diffuse use of the term “brand.”

What has been lectured, discussed, and speculated about the term “brand” in the last 20 years! A myriad of scientists, consultants, and practitioners have attempted numerous explanations of this term.

In many people’s minds, the “brand” is nothing more than the sender of a product or service, identified by the logo (the word-picture mark). When creative agencies talk about “brand”, they actually mean “brand presence”—in other words, all the creative expressive features of a company: the corporate design, the corporate identity, brand colors and fonts, visual language, etc.

More pragmatic, but all the more powerful, is the understanding of brand as the “good reputation” (or reputation) of a company—the positive image of several people— which triggers various forms of response, such as search queries on the Internet, trial purchases, positive reviews, and recommendations.

Last but not least, there is the opinion that “brand” is everything that goes beyond the tangible assets of a company, i.e., that intangible added value that now plays a major role in company valuations and acquisitions.

Another aspect of the confusion is the blurred distinction between the description of the ACTUAL state—what the brand stands for today in the eyes of customers and relevant stakeholders—and the TARGET state, i.e., what the brand should stand for— thus a future-oriented ideal image for realizing the corporate vision.

In science, literature, and consulting, alternating concepts, models, and fashionable terms are used to define concepts and put them down in writing: mission statements, missions, positioning, brand profiles, “The Golden Circle” and, last but not least, the much-cited “Purpose” (a mostly altruistic corporate purpose).

IMARK is of the opinion that it is completely irrelevant what people say about it. The main thing is that the content is right. It’s the content, stupid!

In other words: Is a defined image of the future really directional for the company? Is a unique, relevant customer benefit described? Are the meaning of the individual dimensions precisely clarified? Is the future vision ambitious but realistic? Can the vision of the future develop a sense of identification and meaning within the company? Is it the work of a small elite or is it broadly supported, participatively developed, and anchored?

Review your own brand image, if you have one. Be strict with yourself in doing so. Generalities and irrelevant phrases should have no place. If necessary, sharpen the image.

Next, in the spirit of consistent brand-oriented management, align the entire organization with the brand image. A stable, future-proof guiding principle is more important than ever in times of volatility and uncertainty.