There are infinite definitions for brand. Most of them are incomplete, wrong, and ultimately disempowering. Over a decade of research into the topic has earned us what we believe to be the most sophisticated, accurate, and powerful definition of brand.

Brand values, brand voice, brand experience—These are all different ways people attempt to define what brand is. The
problem with any one of these lenses, is that they all carry the word “brand” in front of them. The real question is: what is the thing all of
these terms are qualifying?

Type 1: Identification

This is where branding began, as a means to distinguish the products of one brand (or farmer) from another. This category includes things like your name and a brand mark or logo.

Type 2: Perception

This quote by Ashley Friedlein does a good job of summing up this type of definition:

“Brand is the sum total of how someone perceives a particular organization. Brand is about shaping that perception.”

This has become the industry’s most common working definition in the past few decades. It’s better, but misses the mark in a dangerous and critical way.

Type 3: Identity

The latest, most evolved working definition we have for brand is inspired by the work of David Ogilvy, the grandfather of modern advertising. He says brand is, “the intangible sum of a product’s attributes: its name, packaging, and price, its history, its reputation,
and the way it’s advertised.”

Brand: Defined by Prismonde

What he was pointing to, is the fact that brand is an amalgamation of the infinite exchanges, relationships, impressions, and interactions between the brand and its stakeholders; And all of those together create something much larger than the sum of
its parts, or you might say, an intangible sum. After synthesizing the most advanced perspectives, and crystalizing our own thoughts, we’ve developed what we believe to be the most cutting edge and empowered definition of brand:

  1. Brand is an identity, a psychological entity, that is created by and lives in the collective minds of people that are aware of and interact with it.
  2. Brand is the intangible sum of an organization.
  3. Brand is the interface between an organization and our humanity.

In order to interact with something as complex and abstract as an organization, human beings need some kind of medium to bridge the connection. We generate a collective identity for a given organization, so that we’re able to engage with it. And that identity we create is an intangible sum of the infinite web of ongoing relationships between every stakeholder, both inside and outside of the organization.