What Makes a Brand?

Zach Vanasse | October 23, 2020

A brand is like a horse

Welcome to our Bannikin Branding & Storytelling video series examining how you can make your brand work for you. In the second video in the brand series our manager of creative & branding, Zach Vanasse, looks to answer the question: what makes a brand?


In the first video in the series we answered the question; “What is a brand?”

If you’ve watched that video, you may be asking; what’s the difference between “What is a brand?” and “What makes a brand?”

It’s a good question. As we learned in video 1, a brand is largely an idea. Or, when you are working to define your travel brand and/or refine your travel brand, it’s an ideal. An ideal that you are aiming for.

But when we talk about what makes a brand, we are talking about much more practical ideas such as:

  • How does this apply to my business on a day to day basis?
  • How are all these parts coming together to make a brand?

When we talk about “what makes a brand,” it can help to think of your brand as a horse. That is to say, when you think of a horse, you have the idea of a horse in your head. Maybe it’s not the exact same horse everyone else would picture, but it’s fair to say there is a common understanding of what a horse is. It’s a singular animal, one creature, one idea – like a brand is – but as you can see below, it’s made up of many different parts.

While there are a lot of animals that have hooves, most animals stand on four legs and horses are often brown or black, and there are plenty of animals that share those same colours, when these parts all come together in this specific way, then you have a horse.

What makes your brand?

Take a look at how that translates to your brand below. All these individual parts of your organization need to come together to make your brand. It’s your content, your website, your tagline, your logo, your media relations, your travel experiences, the destinations you offer, the service your provide, it’s your team and much more. All of those things come together to make your travel brand.

And they are working to define your brand at all times because, as we examined in the first video in the series; you don’t get to decide your brand, everyone else does. As a result, every interaction consumers have across all touch-points with your brand will begin to play into what ultimately forms your brand.

Which is something people often misunderstand about a brand. It’s a mistake to think of your brand or branding as a cover page or an outer layer, something to wrap around your company and represents your brand only at the surface. But that is not the reality. The reality is it’s the entire depth of what you do, because at every interaction and experience, people assess your brand and begin to define your brand for themselves, which then comes to define your brand.

So, how do you get all of those things aligned with your desired brand? That takes well-considered branding guidelines, which is the topic of our next video in the series.

Subscribe to the Bannikin Branding Newsletter to get the video series regularly delivered directly to your inbox, or follow along on our Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube channels.

Questions or comments about branding? Let’s chat!  E-mail Zach at zach@bannikin.com.

Bannikin Branding Videos

Video 1: What is a brand?
Video 2: What makes a brand?
Video 3: The importance of branding guidelines
Video 4: The right tools
Video 5: The brand triangle: rational attributes
Video 6: The brand triangle: emotional benefits
Video 7: The brand triangle: brand persona
Video 8: The brand triangle: UPS/UBS
Video 9: The brand triangle: The brand promise
Video 10: How to create buyer personas
Video 11: Why storytelling matters
Video 12: Finding your brand voice
Video 13: The value of workshops