The Brand Is Your Only Business

Mitch JoelPosted by

“Don’t call it a ‘brand.’ Call it ‘the business’ or ‘the company’.”

This was the advice I was given to not make everything that I write about sound like it’s coming from a marketing professional. The minute someone says “brand,” every professional business person will thinks that we are only speaking in marketing tongues. 

That’s stupid… and more than a little short-sighted.

The company – and the business and the people and the products and the services – is nothing but a brand. Every business is in the business of making money (sell stuff… sell more stuff). Every company is in the business of running that company efficiently (make more than you spend). In the world of Who, What, When, Where, Why and How, one could argue that the company and its business is only the “What” of that equation. Everything else (and a pinch more of the “What”) is the brand. The core. The spirit. The seat of the businesses soul. The reason a consumer buys what you do. The reason the person sitting next to you at work shows up. The reason that you’re doing what you’re doing while others (with similar or the exact same offering) are doing more (or doing less) of the same. It’s the true differentiator. We need the brand (more than anything) to become unencumbered from the marketing department. Every business (sorry, BRAND) wants to break the silos of their corporate structure. Every brand wants to work in an omnichannel kind of way (we all get the credit when a sale happens). Every brand is working hard (day in and day out) to be at one with itself. To be at one with their message. To be at one with their consumers. To be at one with their team members. To be at one with the market. They want this oneness… and they want it to last forever. That’s not the role of a business… that’s not the role of a company, but it is – beyond a shadow of a doubt – what a brand does best.

Drop the company. Drop the business. Embrace the brand.

When someone says what’s the name of your company, or what business are you in? It’s the brand that speaks the truest of truths. That’s not marketing jargon. That’s not motivational pap. That’s not another stupid ad asking you to buy into something. That’s the reason that we all get up in the morning. It’s the reason that your team members show up early (and stay late). And, most importantly, it’s the reason that people buy from you, come back for more and tell others about their experience. 

If I had it my way…

I’d do away away with the words “business” and “company” and only use the word “brand.” You can call that marketing speak (again). Maybe, I just love the work of brands, and what they can do to make our world a more meaningful and relevant space for everyone that inhabits it. Grand thinking? I don’t know about you, but I put a lot of my waking moments into the work that I do (as I am sure that you do)… if it doesn’t count for much/anything, then all is lost. My work matters. Your work matters. Happy customers matter. That’s the brand. 

Truth.

2 comments

  1. Excellent post Mitch! I too believe that the word brand is the most accurate word for what people call a company or a business. The problem is, there is just too much confusion about what a brand is. It is difficult for many people to wrap their heads around the fact that a company is a brand, but a brand (as it should be understood) is not a company. I guess it just comes down to definitions. I define a brand very simply as “something, someplace or someone of value”. So while Nike, for sure is a brand, so is Brooklyn, and Barack Obama. What makes these three a brand is not logo’s or articles of incorporation, they are brands because they are valuable to people.

    1. Fair point, Zaakir… I’m more of a dreamer, I guess… just wish we could do away with “business” or “company” when describing what we do 🙂

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