The Difference Between a Product and a Brand.


Do you want to know the difference between a product and a brand? Of course you do.

A product is company-owned. A brand is consumer-owned. Simple at that. Products are the domain of the makers. Brands exist because of consumers. Ipso facto.

The tension this statement points out is intensified when company and consumer are not in synch. And the tension between buyer and seller is often real. Making and selling is complicated. Buying, not so much. When buying becomes complicated, consumers opt out. Or delay.

This is where brand planning comes in.

Brand planning and brand strategy works to align the maker with the buyer. The brand strategy goal is to remove the tension. Remove what complicates.

An early mentor of mine, Fergus O’Daly, once shared a marketing quote attributed to a few luminaries (Peter Drucker, IBM’s Thomas Watson, and Arthur “Red” Motley) “Nothing happens until someone sells something.” I would recast that phrase to say, “Nothing happens until someone buys something.” The brand planner’s job is to focus on the buyer in ways most product people don’t.

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