What is a brand?


The word “Brand” has become a bit of a buzzword lately. But really, what is a brand?


A brand is not your product or service. A brand is not your logo. A brand is what you stand for - what you and your company as a whole believe in. It’s a promise to your customer, your reputation - the way you make your customer feel. A brand provides a reason, aside from price, for a customer to choose your product or service over another.

“A brand is a set of expectations, memories, stories, and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer's decision to choose one product or service over another.” - Seth Godin


When someone purchases an Apple computer, they are likely spending double or triple than if they would have purchased a Microsoft or other computer. Most people use their computer to search on Google, check Facebook, and answer emails - so why on Earth would someone willingly spend more for the same commodity? When someone buys an Apple computer, they aren’t just buying a computer, they are buying what Apple stands for. They are buying an image, a promise, an identity, and a status.

Same with Nike or Harley Davidson - when you wear Nike or Harley gear, you are wearing the message, identity, and reputation that comes with those brands. That’s powerful stuff.



Now, most businesses aren’t Apple, Nike or Harley Davidson, so what can we learn from them to shape our own brands?

It comes down to a few things - understanding and serving your audience, sharing what you stand for, consistently delivering an amazing product or service, and genuinely caring.

First of all, you need to know your audience. Who are they, what do they love, what are their problems, and how are you helping them? Second, your audience needs to know who you are and what you stand for (your values). Thirdly, you need to build a good relationship with them. This means delivering on your promises and exceeding expectations again and again. Consistency = Trust

When you do this well, over time you create a relationship with your customer. They tell their friends, their friend buys your product or service and confirms the validity of the referral, so they tell another friend. Over and over this happens with consistency and you create a reputation, a product or service that has social proof and delivers on a promise - a brand.

Over time, this brand can become a symbol of something, an identity, but not first without openly stating what you and your company stand for, having an amazing product or service, and building a lasting relationship with the RIGHT audience.

Click below to download my free printable and determine the strength of your brand. 


Hey, I’m Shelby!

I am passionate about helping businesses build their legacy through beautiful, impactful branding.

I work with businesses big and small on projects from digital to print. I specialize in logo design, branding, and hand lettered identity marks. My services also include print and web design services.

When I’m not designing, you can find this former dancer in down-ward dog, or sipping a chai latte at the local coffee shop (probably not at the same time). My weekends are spent doing home-improvement projects with my handy husband, Zak, or road tripping in our self-converted Sprinter van.

Contact me through the button below so we can get started building a brand that will win hearts.

Shelby Smeltzer