Someone once said, “your brand is what your customers tell their friends.” It’s a very important distinction because the general public, and even some top executives, describe a brand as being a company’s name and logo and it couldn’t be farther from the truth.

A brand is created over time

Much like a diamond or any precious gem, a true brand takes time to form. It requires all the right elements and conditions, but “time” is one ingredient that can’t be ignored. Think about it, companies like Nike and Apple started out with simple product ideas, but over time these companies turned into brands and came to represent something much bigger.

Nike started out with a dream of creating better equipment for runners. Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight made rubber shoe soles by using a waffle iron and created a billion-dollar industry, but the Nike brand represents much more than running shoes. The Nike brand represents the idea that humans are capable of anything if they “just do it.”

Apple created a desktop computer that allowed us to type letters, use typography and graphics and print things out, all by ourselves. Now our phones connect us to the world, with technology more powerful than what was used by NASA during the Apollo 11 mission. Apple’s brand typifies innovation and the belief that anything is possible if you just “think different.”

All great brands are connected to a bigger idea

Great brands alter our lifestyles, change perceptions and influence behaviors. They even help inspire and define us in some ways. Brands are not just logos, taglines and corporate colors. A true brand represents what a company stands for, it’s culture, it’s mission, and how it will affect the world we live in.

Are you selling products and services, or creating a brand?

Take a step back and ask yourself these questions: If someone asked your largest client about your company what would they say? Would they talk about how your company has influenced your industry? Would they mention how innovative your team is? Would they describe how unique your company culture is? Or, would they just describe the product or service you offer?

People don’t just select companies to work with anymore, they buy brands they have a personal connection with, so take the time to create a story for your company that’s worth telling. Don’t just create a name and logo and call it a day, consistently evaluate your materials and what you are communicating to your customers. Creating a true brand can be one of the most important things you do to ensure the success of your company.

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Tom Lewis, Partner | Creative Director

With over 20 years of professional advertising and design experience, Tom has spent much of his career working with various companies throughout the southeast. His client list includes: Equifax, Georgia Pacific, Primerica, Weyerhaeuser, The Atlanta Hawks, Randstad Staffing, Vamousse Lice Treatment, Guardian Repellent, The Shizzle Jerk Marinade and Hutchens Law Firm.