“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet!”

Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare.


In its first stages, a brand was just a non-generic name assigned to a product or company to indicate its source. Today, however, it has become a symbolic ecosystem in individual’s minds enclosing all the information and expectations associated with a product, service or organization. Your brand is simply what comes to mind when your name is mentioned.

On these terms, brands do not seem complicated. But, they are complex. They have become dynamic systems over which there is no control. They evolve but never reach a break-even point. We have to admit we can only work on what we project, but neither on what our clientele perceive nor on how our image evolves over time. Our brand becomes something on which people have an opinion; an opinion we can intervene only partially.

The good news is we know that opinion will depend greatly on how good we do what we do and how well we say what we say. There is a part of the equation on which we can have an influence and is at that precise point where strategic branding fits: the key is to know what has to be done and what has to be said to transform our name into a leading brand.

The opinion our prospects have about our brand is the sum of a set of external factors such as family environment, motives, financial status, values and the opinions of those around them combined with their personal experience when interacting with us. That experience can be outlined by four areas: relations with people representing the brand; interaction with the products and services offered; physical surroundings where the product or service is present and the messages it projects. In each of these fields, there are several “touchpoints” where actions occur and from where favorable or unfavorable opinions generate.

This happens always. The question, therefore, is not how excellent our presence can be in one isolated touchpoint but rather the criteria we use to design an array of touchpoints which are coherent and consistent. It is essential that what we say is reinforced by what we do. That the expectations the client has of our brand are fulfilled or exceeded in each and every interaction, however, irrelevant it may seem.

This highlights the importance of the corporate identity way beyond the performance of the organization. It is true that a brand is no more than a name; however, that is the name that we have chosen to represent everything we are. A precise self- concept of the organization, a profound statement of what we are, what we aspire to change or improve the lives of our clients, is a basic criterion for decision-making. In other words, nobody in the organization should take a single decision without considering the impact it will have in the clientele’s opinion of our brand.

A brand is just a hinge in the dialogue between the organization and its clients. When managing the brand, the important point is not in its name but its fragrance.