When Uber and Lyft launched, they were two different companies providing the same service. They had different names and different visual identities, but they didn’t yet have a brand.
Al Ries defines a brand as “A singular idea or concept that you own inside the mind of a prospect.” When these companies started out, all they had was a promise.
Although both companies provide the same service, they have very different values. These differences are leveraged to attract different customers. Uber and Lyft carefully chose their logos, colors, and other brand artifacts to support their unique character, and help their customers easily identify and distinguish one from another.
Today both companies are strong, established brands. So how did they get from being companies with a promise and pretty logo to being a well-recognized brand? How do you create a brand?
To answer that question, let’s examine what brand is, and what it isn’t. A brand is not your name, your logo, color scheme, fonts and more. A brand is not your design choices. These are important artifacts of your brand, but they do not create your brand.
Design choices aid in brand recognition, and, if they are well crafted, help your customers identify your products. They distinguish them from those of your competitors while strengthening their character.
Marty Neumeier defines brand as “a person’s gut feeling about a product, service, or organization.” Or, in the words of Cheryl Burgess, “A brand is a reason to choose.”
To simplify even more, we can say that your brand is your reputation.
Henry Ford said “You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.” A good reputation is obtained only with consistent actions delivered over a period of time.
Let’s look back at Uber and Lyft. Both companies made a promise, and they both kept consistently delivering on their respective promises over an extended period of time.
Whether we speak of Lyft or Uber, we now immediately know what to expect. We’ve got a gut feeling because they’ve got a brand.