What Is Branding? 4 Minute Crash Course.

The term branding people use it interchangeably with logo design, identity design, and even sometimes typography and maybe we need to set the record straight. I know you’re the best person to tell us what is branding Marty? Yes. So let’s start with what branding isn’t. OK. It’s cause it’s not a lot of things people say it is. It’s not a logo. A logo is a very useful tool for a business, but it’s not the brand. It’s a symbol for the brand. A brand is not a product. So when people talk about this brand buying this brand or that brand they’re really talking about buying one product or another product. The brand is not that. People say the brand is a promise the company makes to customers and there’s some truth in that. I mean it does end up acting as a promise, but that’s not what it is either. Advertising people like to say “well it’s the sum of all the impressions that a company makes on an audience.” Well you know if you’re trying to sell a lot of impressions I can see where that might be useful to you. But from a business point of view why do they want that? How does that help creative people understand what they’re doing? So none of those things are really what branding is. A brand is a result. It’s a customer’s gut feeling about a product, service, or a company. It ends up in their heads in their hearts. They take whatever raw materials you throw at them and they make something out of it, but they’re making it. They’re creating it. And so in a sense when you create a brand you’re not creating one brand, you’re creating millions of brands like however many customers or people in your audience. Each one has a different brand of you. So a brand has like a reputation. Right. So it’s your business reputation and everyone’s gonna be a little bit different about what that reputation is. And that’s OK as long as you have got it corralled mostly where you want it and that it’s beneficial to the company. So we tend to look at companies and designers tend to look at branding as, from our point of view, like this is something we’re doing. We’re telling a story. We’re making a claim. We’re you know making a pitch and that’s what we do. But that’s not what a brand is. The brand is the result of that. And if you don’t start there, you don’t know what you’re doing. You actually don’t know. You think you know what you’re doing but you don’t. So from a designer’s point of view I mean I always tended to be this way it’s like I just had, it was my gut feeling. Right? About whether this is going to work or not. And then I would sell it as hard as I could to get the client to sign off on it. From the client’s point of view, they’re going off the checklist. I got the logo, I got the tag line, I got the ad campaigns. Check! And they think they’re done. None of that’s right. You know? What’s right is what happens in people’s heads. Like what have we achieved? What’s the reputation that we’ve created through the products we’re putting out, and the design of the products, the messaging we’re putting out, the look and feel of them, our culture. You know? How does that affect people? How our employees behave, you know, how is that affecting our reputation? All that stuff counts. So it’s a big world. And it actually takes in almost all of the business. Not so much finance but finances involved too because finance has to greenlight all these things. But almost everybody in a company is you know affecting the brand, doing something with the brand, doing it for the brand, or hurting the brand. So you’ve got to think of it that way. I didn’t want to say one word because that was perfect and this is unscripted. Marty is just talking from decades of experience and writing and articulating this. It’s very clear to me.

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81 thoughts on “What Is Branding? 4 Minute Crash Course.

  1. thank you for this video ๐Ÿ™‚
    one question comes to mind after watching this
    with the wonderful way "brand" is explained in this dialogue, what then is "rebranding?"

  2. New sub here. Loving this channel! Might be my new fav channel of 2020! Fellow content creator here ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿฝ happy new year everybodyโ€™s!

  3. I'm so addicted to your content. Love it! I had one question but I forgot it, so see you under another video haha ๐Ÿ˜€ Happy New Year

  4. Great year ender! Thank you! ๐Ÿ™ I do want to ask, how do you bring this up in a conversation with a client while not coming off as patronizing?

  5. I loved what Marty said "…to ad people…" ๐Ÿ˜€ I am an ad guy through and through and I recognise what he said. Another thing clients say is "I want to BRAND my offices". It always cracks me up. Thank you for this awesome video.

  6. Thanks heaps for this explanation. I didn't expect myself to be learning stuff only ten minutes before the new year so I hope you guys over the ocean have a happy new year!

  7. Why are you Americans so obsessed with explaining what a brand is? In the end it isnโ€™t really important what the definition is. Itโ€™s funny how designers tryna teach economists what a brand is, how they have to take care of employees, the whole costumer experience – but end up making them a design or a Ad campaign ๐Ÿค” Dear designers, thanks for your advice, now go make me a logo ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿคœ๐Ÿป๐Ÿค›๐Ÿป

  8. My Marketing Exam is tomorrow and this video was uploaded at the right place(gmail) at the right time(night before) XD

  9. You should make a video on personal branding. As a Graduate (like myself), I find this to so important if you want to do work you love.

  10. Thank you, Chris, for opening doors that we would, otherwise, not. Just starting to skim through the top books that you recommended and I feel all what I've learnt and experienced needs to be seen again through a new lens. Keep up the good work. Thanks again.

  11. Best video of 2019 about Branding… Thank you chris sir and The Future for giving best education of design and business. Hopefully we wok together in 2020. Happy New Year.

  12. I was taught that BRANDING IS:
    Someone throws an empty bottle on the sidewalk and it shatters into a million pieces. The sidewalk was swept and the area cleaned.
    Months later someone else is walking by and they stop.
    After bending down and picking up a single tiny shard of glass, they see it's transparent….and a particular shade of pale green.
    They instantly think…."COKE".

    That's 360ยฐ Branding !!!

  13. Thank you for putting this video out today. I am an entrepreneur based in Johannesburg, South Africa, I never miss your whiteboard classes and training videos. Hope you and your team have a happy new year and may the Lord bless you all ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. thank you, Chris {you big fake'o' LOL,} you can fake this, this is knowledge gained over YEARS of EXPERIENCE, people don't value knowledge any more since it is at there finger tips, until you are the one seeking the knowledge, and it works for you.. and you realise it's not that easy

  15. This video deserves a billion views or two at least. I like the fact that Marty Neumeier's perspective on branding transcends economies of nations. What I mean is, people in developing economies can take his advice, as well as those in stronger economies. Why I say this, is because of the quality of operating environment that differs from one country to another.

    I once read about a lady who makes $400 weekly in the US and she complained of being broke. I was like what???? In Nigeria my home country, convert $400 to Naira and you have a 6-figure income weekly. Imagine what one's understanding of branding would be in such an environment, compared to an environment in the Western world. . . . . That's why I see Neumeier's perspective as relatable in different economies of nations (in my opinion).

  16. A Brand is an idea of what a customer thinks about a company or personality. Like Marty also mentioned, this could be million or billions of little ideas, based on who the person or company is, and how they represent themselves…logos/advertising/marketing/sales/charity/environmental considerations ETC.

    Here's a recommendation for Designers watching this for 2020, Read The Artist's Way By Julia Cameron.

  17. I rarely comment on videos on YT, but Chris & The Futur team, you have made me do that.
    Amazing content, as usual. Although these concepts could be applied to basically any entrepreneurial setup, it would be so great to see content in your channel for other creative professionals like myself (a musician). Could be about business, marketing, managing socials, branding etc.

    Once again, thanks so much guys. I honestly, truly appreciate The Futur's intent & content..

    Happy new year.. ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. Apart from what I came here for, I see the cinematography of the discussion. Mr Neumeier sits on a warm background (yellow), while Chris sits on a cold background (cyan). These are complementary colours and they create contrast. When both of you are in the same scene, the background is white, neutral.

    Something else I noticed is that in Marty's close up, he is framed in the right portion of the image and he looks to the left, exactly as he does in the scene when both of you are visible. Chris does the opposite.

    Good work guys!

  19. Well, a brand is not an impression… is a gut feeling… well, so when we as costumers, have a gut feeling I think "but I'm not sure" that we are taking an impression of that brand. my 2 cents

  20. I am yet to see a useless, irrelevant video from this channel! My goodness, you guys are awesome! Thanks for sharing with us, learning so much and grateful. Every day I'm glad I ran into this channel & subscribed.

  21. I Like Marty's assessment…I've been using an acronym to describe what we're really trying to accomplish when we talk about BRAND.

    What we're really trying to do is establish a BRAND in the individual minds of our customers…and potential customers.


    The RESULT of establishing a BRAND is that it creates a Buying Reflex when people are faced with a buying opportunity.

    "What would you like to drink?" – COKE please.

    Brands like Coke are often touted as the most powerful brands…and it's not because of the logo or the message, or the graphics…it's really about the huge number of people they have established a Buying Reflex globally.

    Budweiser is the King of Beers because they have established a Buying Reflex in the most people.

    I imagine if you go to a pub somewhere like Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania…the majority of people may have a Buying Reflex for a LOCAL beer like a Punxsutawney Pale Ale (totally making that up…but you get the point).

    Thanks for the vid.

  22. I feel that terminology is very important, but i'm kind of getting tired of the word brand changing to whatever someone feels is benefitial to them. And I think this description is right, but i think it's just so dangerous nowadays to use this word as the client, like marty mentions doesn't know what it means. I think we should have a more clear definition of what people sell nowadays. Because this causes a lot of confusion when a client actually wants to compare both pricing aswell as production quality of people's work.

  23. Branding just comes down to one thing: your product or service. You can have the shittiest logo on the planet but if your customers love you…you got a mutha fuckin' brand!

  24. Idk I agree and disagree with different aspects. I love the simplicity for understanding sake but… Branding is a huge concept under marketing that deals with various aspects… the logo, personality, name, etc… all are under that term "branding"…it's more or less the personality a company gives to their own unique product to differentiate it from that of its competitors and i don't think it can be defined merely as only one of those aspects.

  25. It's an interesting take on what "branding" is. Always helpful.
    Ciaoooooo! ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น

  26. "A brand is a customer's gut feeling about a product, service or company." I have been wondering what brand really is and here I finally got the answer! Thanks Chris!

  27. So basically everything what this man says contradicts with my 4 year marketing studies… I am so lost sometimes and don't know what to believe. I feel like this gentlemen knows his stuff and my teachers in university just put me in a frame like "brand is logo, message, colors etc. AND ONLY THIS! While this man just simply says its a RESULT. ffs

  28. I noticed this about movies and books. I subconsciously create and fill in the holes and gaps in stories, essentially creating my own world, the โ€˜brandโ€™. Less โ€˜ISโ€™ more, because the โ€˜THINGโ€™ is whatever it is to the consumer, and that opens infinite universes of possibilities, unlimited…the mind conjures up realities that never existed. Unintentional meaning takes place, like the suite case in โ€˜Pulp Fictionโ€™, the ending of โ€˜Inceptionโ€™, H.P. Lovecraft lore…freickin bitcoinโ€™s origins…Area 51…oh shit…

  29. I think it's important to define the noun from the verb. I am a bit pedantic in that regard…For me, while in agreement with the content here, a brand is the holistic definition of intangibility, the essence as Marty said, a defined personality or characteristic. A brand by default must become humanistic in its behavior in order to connect to people.

    However, branding – again this may just be me – is a communicative action on behalf of or in service to the brand.

  30. @The Futur as an individual creator, how do you manage your personal bandwidth/time/effort to maximize engagement and coordinate all these loose ends? Like, how do you scale this DOWN from a large company/team approach to an individual?

  31. I see branding as the unique universe of a company. It is designed and constructed by a set of 'laws' that govern the consistent truth communicated to customers. When something is "off brand," it is due to an incompatibility or inconsistency with the brand's predefined reality. This lack of brand integrity inspires distrust in the market and results in lost sales.

  32. …which is why one should never spend money on branding. Rather, one should focus their effort on creating superior offers that generate a direct response. The brand will develop as a result. The most important thing is an irresistible offer presented to the right market at a time when it is needed most.

  33. Hello sir…(Iam from INDIA) it will be more usefull… when it will translated in some regional languages….

  34. All brands have a logo, so yes a logo is a brand. Brands are not feelings are justifications, you donโ€™t need to wimp out logos.

  35. Wow that is cool. Never thought of branding in that way but it totally makes sense. Thanks Marty N. and Futur, that really helped me out!

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