What is the brand of ... branding?

If you follow my blog, you have probably noticed that I often like to explore quite intricate and quirky techniques used in branding. For instance, on previous occasions I've talked about international aspects of brand strategy, dynamics of co-branding, or the relevance of country of origin to product branding. All pretty advanced branding stuff.

But once in a while, I feel it's necessary to start anew, and go back to basics. I have done this on several occasions, for example in this short post about the difference between branding and marketing. 

Today,  let's go back to basics once again, and define the brand of branding. I've had this on my to do list for a while, and I even launched a LinkedIn discussion on the subject a couple of months ago.   During my experience of working with clients on branding projects, as well as talking about branding during workshops and conferences, I've come to realize that overall, people have no difficulty defining the concept of "brand".


There's usually a lot of agreement that "brand" stands for "promise", "trust", "personality", and other attributes that people can easily define.   However, when it comes to defining "branding", or "brand strategy", things start getting  a little bit more complex. I've often felt that, when people say, "Let's do some branding", they often mean, "Let's create a logo, and brand name." This is where the brand of "branding" gets really weak. Although logos and other visual identity attributes are very important,  and their creation IS certainly part of branding, they are not all there is to branding.  Moreover, logos should be put in place as a result of an in-depth brand strategy exercise, which centers around such elements as pricing and distribution strategy, brand positioning statement, and others.

It's only when the value proposition of your product, or company, has been defined, that you should think of how to translate it into visual form.  It's also much easier to work on your visual image if you know what your product, or company, stands for exactly.

Whereas branding is an excellent framework which can be used for overall business development, and creating excellence in organizations, its relatively weak brand positioning simply doesn't play to its strengths. Why is branding mostly perceived as work on logos, and what would you do to reposition branding?