Did you know your company’s name is not it’s brand? Did you know its cleverly created mark isn’t its brand either?

But it’s brand is defined by SOMETHING, right?! Sure it is. To understand what, swap “brand” out for “reputation.” Now you’re on to something.

A brand is a set of promises a company makes to a group of people and the batting average of those promises as determined by people’s experiences with the company. Hit on more promises than you miss and that’s your reputation—and the masses love you. Miss more promises than you skillfully hit, and word gets around that you’re unreliable, sketchy and suck.

It’s a bit more complicated than that and there are many factors that contribute to that batting average. Essentially, however, that average, a person’s knowledge of it, defines your brand and informs a person’s decision for or against it.

A name and a mark (symbol, wordmark, logo, whatever) do certainly have great value to a brand. Mainly, their job is to reference reputation; to trigger rapid thoughts of all the times made promises were kept creating great, memorable experiences. Experiences that can’t be had anywhere or with anyone else!

So, no, your company’s name and logo aren’t its brand, but they are indispensable to it. They are the shorthand of deep, hard-earned reputation that work most effectively when modestly crafted and strategically used.