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Why Is Branding So Confusing To So Many?

A couple of quick reasons why people get confused about their brands.

With apologies to those Motown hitmakers The Temptations for thinking about ripping off the title of their classic song from the early 1970s for the original title of this post - brands of confusion.  

But, we do feel the need to talk about confusion in the world of branding.

To put it simply, brand confusion is running wild these days with almost as many definitions of what branding is as there are brands. We witness brand uncertainty almost daily when speaking with clients, prospective clients, co-workers, business partners and colleagues.

To be fair to almost all involved, it is entirely understandable why so many people seem to be confused about branding because - branding is something with multiple layers and nuances. It can be difficult for many to wrap their head around the subject of branding.

Where we see people getting themselves into a pickle over branding is when they come at it from perilous perspectives.

Here are a couple of the perilous brand perspectives we hear frequently:

Brand Confusion 1:

We can redefine our brand with a new logo.

While of course, your brand logo is important, in and of itself it will not define your brand. A brand logo is but a single element of what a brand represents. There are lots of great brands with mediocre logos and conversely, there are scores of beautifully crafted, award-winning logos that are attached to mediocre brands.

Brand Confusion 2:

We get to determine what our brand means.

Unfortunately not quite true. While what a brand does, says, acts like and delivers in the way of products, services and benefits is critically important, it only influences what a brand is. Ultimately what other people outside the brand think about the brand is what truly determines the meaning and value of a brand. Scary stuff but that is the one of the stark realities of branding.


Unabashed words guy, branding evangelist and voracious reader of anything to do with marketing, branding, creativity and design.