Probably the most succinct definition of what a brand is comes from Marty Neumeier in Zag. He says a brand is:
A person’s gut feeling about a product, service or company.
I have always marveled at the completeness of the Octane brand. How perfectly Octane everything is. How authentically Octane everything is.
The Octane brand isn’t really about the things often associated with "brand." They don’t do much advertising or traditional marketing at all. It’s all about…everything else. The people they hire, the art on the wall, the music playing overhead, the customers they choose to attract.
The thing about Octane is that you can tell what they are all about the first time you walk in. You know what it’s like by simply talking to someone who works there. More often by someone who goes there. Octane passes the gut check.
The lesson about brand is universal. Your brand is what are, not what you say you are. More branding is done every time you hire someone than in a year of marketing communications and advertising. Marty gives a last piece of advice about building your brand that Tony and Diane knew before they even started:
(Your brand is) a strategic filter for questions like “What should we do? What should we make? Who should we make it for? Who should we hire? How should we behave?”