A Brand is Larger than a Company
by Patrick Wire and Dan Curtis, Speck Communications
What's the most important thing that Apple sells? iPads maybe? Macbooks? How about the iPhone? They certainly sell large numbers of those.
No, the most important thing Apple sells doesn't come from a building in Cupertino or a factory in Asia. Apple actually sells innovation through design.
In short, what Apple sells is a brand.
The difference between a company and a brand is a difference in psychology. Companies make products. They provide services. Brands provide the much larger consumable called perception.
Think about it. Customers join brands in the same way they join clubs. Like birds of a feather, they flock to brands that behave and project the images they want to project for themselves. Drivers aren't F-150 fans, they're Ford Tough. Soft drink consumers don't call themselves carbonated-brown-soda-with-a-hint-of-cherry drinkers, they're Peppers. Shipping customers don't like the guys in the ubiquitous brown trucks more than the guys in the blue and orange trucks. They like what Brown can do for them.
So what does all this mean for you as a provider of goods or services? It means that when you market yourself to customers, you need to think beyond what you're saying about your particular products. Equally important, consider what you are saying about your brand. Ten rows of condensed type say something far different than a single headline. Humor says something different than scientific tones. Microsoft and Macintosh both make computers, but their brands are very different.
Ultimately, it's the brand that sells more than the company.