An Introduction to Brand: What It Is and Why It Matters

June 30, 2022 by
An Introduction to Brand: What It Is and Why It Matters
Tetra Prime Consulting, Mark Wilhelm

When beginning any conversation about branding or rebranding, it’s important to first discuss what exactly a brand is—and what it is not.


Take a moment to think about one of your closest friends, family members, or loved ones. How would you describe this person’s identity to someone who had never met them? You would probably go further than to describe their physical appearance, their occupation, and their hobbies, yes? If you really wanted to explain who this person is, you would probably talk about what they believe in, what they stand for, what they want in life, what they’re good and bad at, and so on. You know this person is so much more than how they look and what they do on a daily basis.

The same is true of a company or organization. Every organization has a logo. Every organization provides a certain service to a certain set of people. But these things are not the organization’s identity. They are not the reason it provides its services. They are not the values it stands by or the change it seeks to make in the world.

An organization’s brand is its identity in this deepest sense of the word. Brand can be defined and expressed in questions like:

  • What is the organization passionate about?
  • What are its values?
  • What is its mission?
  • What is its vision for the future?
  • What makes it stand out from other organizations?
  • What makes its customers love it?

The answers to questions like “What does the organization sell?” and “What does its website look like?” are important, but they only touch on how brand is expressed. The true essence of brand lies within the deeper questions—questions like, “What kind of impact would we like to make on the world?”

This leads us to the question of why brand matters.


Think back to the loved one you identified earlier. If they are someone you value greatly, then you probably like who they are as a person at the deepest levels of identity. Even if you are not exactly the same as them, you probably see eye-to-eye with them on questions like “What do I stand for?” and “What is important in life?”. Your similarities on these deep levels of personal identity is probably part of what drew you to them and what keeps them close to your heart.

Now imagine you met someone who is the opposite of you in terms of their identity. Imagine this person disagrees completely with your values and life goals and believes all your personal strengths are actually embarrassing weaknesses. Chances are good that you would not want to be friends with this person or want much of anything to do with them, correct?

The conclusion you should draw from this exercise is not necessarily that this other person is a bad person, but certainly that they are not the right person for you. Your identities are in complete opposition to each other, so you would be better off going your separate ways. In short, you are not compatible with each other.

Brand should be thought of in exactly the same way. No matter who an organization serves, no matter what it provides, some people will disagree with its values and methods. These individuals will never be truly satisfied with the organization because they do not want the version of the world that the organization provides. Even if these people receive the product or service they’re seeking from the organization, they will not agree with how they received it, they will likely be dissatisfied with their experience, and they will subsequently not receive the full value the service provides.

However, there are bound to be people who do agree with the organization’s values, methods, and vision for the world. These are the people who are most compatible with the organization. These individuals will appreciate the service and the way it’s delivered, and they will subsequently receive the most value from the service provided. The organization should focus its efforts on serving these people, who agree with the “why” and “how” of the organization, and not those who disagree on these fundamental levels.


Brand is a signal to the world that tells people whether or not they will appreciate what the organization has to offer. Individuals who see eye-to-eye with the organization will be drawn to it and benefit most from its services, while individuals who disagree will choose to seek services elsewhere, with an organization that’s more in line with their identity. Both of these outcomes are good for the organization and the individual in question.

Without a brand that is true to the organization’s identity and well defined for outside observers, an organization spends precious time and resources trying to provide a service to people who don’t want it. This only leads to frustration and discouragement for both parties. No one wins.

When brand is well defined and consistent, it attracts individuals who agree with what the organization stands for and how it operates. The organization is able to provide more value to its consumers with less effort because their desires are perfectly in alignment. The organization wastes less time and resources, and the consumers appreciate the services they receive.  Everyone wins.

An Introduction to Brand: What It Is and Why It Matters
Tetra Prime Consulting, Mark Wilhelm June 30, 2022
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