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What is a brand – and what’s the best way to discover, develop, and build a brand? The meaning of the word “brand” has changed over the years. So has the best way to discover, develop, and build a brand.

This article explains. It’s part of a 9-part training I recently wrote with my wife and business partner for our new website on personal branding (I’ll tell you how to get free access to the whole thing in just a second).

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What Is a Brand?

The word “brand” has meant many things throughout history and the definition used to be simple. A brand was simply a mark that you put on something to indicate who it belonged to.

Like cattle.

If you don’t like the idea of innocent animals being burned, think (instead) about Leonardo da Vinci leaving his signature on a painting. That’s a brand, too. Nowadays the word brand is commonly used in the world of business, marketing, and advertising. And the definition has evolved. A brand is no longer just a name, mark, design, or symbol used to identify something.

The word brand has many meanings.

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What Is a Brand?
An Attention Getter

Having a distinct brand helps you stand out in a noisy and competitive marketplace. If you don’t get people’s attention quickly and create curiosity, you’re done before you begin. That’s why corporations and individuals spend so much time trying to come up with the perfect: name, tagline, catchphrase, core messaging, logo, colors, shapes, graphics, sounds, scents, tastes, and even movements.

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What Is a Brand?
A Promise

A powerful brand has a powerful reputation. In other words, what are you known for? People associate different brands with different things: quality, precision, experience, speed, luxury, high-cost, low-cost, fun, accuracy, excitement, etc. What is your brand known for? You simply can’t be all things to all people – every brand can only be known for a few things. The good news is that you don’t have to be great at everything. But you do need to be good at something, you need to know what you’re best at, and you need to communicate it clearly.

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What Is a Brand?
A Differentiator

If your brand is unique, it will separate you from the “competition.” This is important because some brands promise the same things. Most business owners don’t spend enough time researching the marketplace. That’s a huge mistake because research is the only way you can differentiate your business and brand is with context. The last thing you want to do is craft marketing messages that sound like everyone else and deliver products and/or services that aren’t perceived as 1-of-a-kind.

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What Is a Brand?
A Feeling

When you’re developing a brand, it’s critical that you think about how you want your brand to make people feel – because they’re going to feel something, whether you’re aware of it or not. What do you want your clients, customers and/or fans to feel: curiosity, trust, respect, loyalty, excitement, admiration? People are guided by their thoughts, but they’re even more driven by their emotions.

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What Is a Brand?
Big Business

A brand is often the most valuable asset of a business. That’s why corporations and small business owners spend billions of dollars each year to discover, develop, and manage their brands. Create a strong brand and you can enjoy financial freedom. You can also make a bigger difference in the world.

Now that you understand what a brand is, click here for instant access
to our complete 9-part Guide to Personal Branding (absolutely free).

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But first, let me know what you think about this article and/or
post your question about personal branding below.

– Mark
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