If you run a neighborhood coffee shop, your brand isn’t “coffee”. Your brand is the emotional reaction that your customer has when they interact with your coffee shop, either in person, in words, or visually.
Brands run deeper than just products. Apple’s brand isn’t computers or phones, it is sleek and powerful user-friendly technology that makes you feel like a leader among your peers. Harley-Davidson isn’t motorcycles, it is raw power and unfiltered attitude that makes you feel like a rebel for a few hours on the weekend.
John Lennon is a great example. John Lennon’s legacy lives on because his brand isn’t music. The John Lennon brand is artistic creativity that inspires peace, possibility, and a conscious awareness of how you can make the world better for you, those around you, and generations to come.
Take a tour around http://www.imaginepeace.com/, a site created by Yoko Ono that keeps John’s vision for peace alive. The official EMI Music site at http://www.johnlennon.com/ does much the same. If John Lennon’s brand was simply music, wouldn’t the bulk of his on-line presence be dedicated to music?
Strong brands are emotions and feelings, not products and services. When you build your brand on that level, you are tremendously more likely to forge a lasting bond with your customer.