Our thinking Quick reads Explaining the concept of brand
Fundraising, investor relations and marketing
May 2019
2 min read

Explaining the concept of brand

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We talk about “brand” a lot, yet the concept remains elusive. People kind of get it, but not really.

“Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.”

Jeff Bezos

This explanation feels good, but it is still somewhat abstract. Lets lean on a very established brand to help bring greater clarity to the topic.


Everything that happened when your brain absorbed the word Rolex is the basis of brand. Was there immediate emotional resonance related to prestige, exclusivity, quality and all those good things? Alternatively, you may associate the name with old, stuffy, and ostentatious – which is evidence that brand building never ends and that you can’t please everyone. Regardless of what your immediate subconscious associations were, I will gamble a lot of money that you didn’t think, “a device strapped to one’s wrist that is used to tell time.”

Brand is not about the product or service you provide, it is the emotionality behind the name of your company – which must in some way tie back into the product or service you provide.

It was never Rolex’s intent to talk about what their product does. Their goal is to influence how you feel when you wear one.

The big question you need to be asking yourself is what you want an allocator to “feel” when they consider placing capital with you? You sure as heck don’t want them hearing your name and thinking, “an organization that buys companies, improves performance, and then sells for a profit,” or “an organization that buys and sells shares in public companies for profit.” Sure the descriptions used or more elegant, however, when PE firms and hedge funds build primary messaging around objective descriptions of what they are or what they do, it is no different than Rolex telling people they make watches that tell time.

Back to the concept of brand, it is nothing more than a given individual’s immediate subconscious impression when they hear the name of your firm. That’s it. And how can someone form and immediate subconscious impression if you have never told them what you want it to be. My final point, you need to tell them over and over and over for it to stick.

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