The Brand is a thought

Marketing Gyan with Harish Bijoor 

My definition of a brand then is a simple one. The brand is a thought! Nothing more. Nothing less. A thought that lives in a person’s head. The brand is an entity that occupies mind space. Mind space of a person. A consumer. And a non-consumer alike! 

The brand, by this definition of mine, is an extrinsic entity. An entity that is not really owned by the legal owners of the brand, be it Corporate or retail. Instead, the brand is owned in the heads of people who matter, and most certainly even in the heads of people who don’t apparently matter today! 

Let me take brand Honeywell! Brand Honeywell is not really owned by the makers of the brand itself. Yes, they are the mere legal owners. The real owners of the brand Honeywell are all the people who have Honeywell as a thought in their heads.  

Honeywell is therefore a thought in the head of many folk. Let me list some of them. 

Honeywell is a thought that lives in the head of the global CEO of Honeywell. In the heads of every employee of Honeywell worldwide. In the heads of all those who interface with Honeywell as external vendors. In the heads of those who actually use Honeywell products and services! In the heads of the fathers and mothers of all those employed in Honeywell. In the heads of all those married to Honeywell folk! In the head of every landlord who has rented out their apartment to a Honeywell employee at a Pune or a Bangalore for that matter! In the head of every father looking out for a groom who works at Honeywell for his daughter!

Honeywell is a thought in many heads. In heads that matter and in heads that apparently don’t matter as much. The brand is owned in heads that could spell direct commerce and in heads that could spell indirect commerce and revenue, and most certainly in heads that mean no commerce at all as well! 

The brand is a thought that lives in the heads of people who actually convert the thought into commercial intent in the short term, in the medium term, in the long term, and of course never as well! 

Brand folk therefore need to watch out and dig deep into the gut of their brands. Right deep into the DNA of the respective brands they handle.

My definition demands the sensitive management of the brand as a thought in people’s heads. It demands care in every head, whether it be one that converts into immediate revenue or one that promises to convert into a big piece of revenue in the not so near long-term. 

Thoughts are seeds of long-term value. Nurturing these seeds of long term value that just have the potential to germinate in the future into a value of significance is a long-term perspective brand folk need to get into their brand management plans. 

Managing a brand is a long term task. There is a quick need to re-define and break up brand management into two parts. The first is the tactical portion, which most brand managers show an overt besottedness with to handle. The second is the more important strategic portion. The long term management of the brand thought in people’s heads! 

Time for companies to break up their brand management teams into two then. One a strategic brand management position that looks after long term brand health. And the second the tactical brand management portion that loves its short term creatives and promotions and price approaches so much! 

Harish Bijoor is a Marketing and Brand strategy specialist and CEO, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc.

Follow him on @harishbijoor