A brand is your memory of your entire purchase experience – from ad to checkout. You might have been snubbed by a service person, put off by an offer. Or the opposite: you might have enjoyed the easygoing manner of the staff, the feel of a blouse on your body, the power of a product’s performance. A brand is simply your memory of the total experience from prompting (e.g. an online signup) to the payment transactions.

There are countless ways to build a brand, but first of all, you must define it: What is this idea David Aaker says you own inside your prospect’s mind? How do you uncover it?

Conventionally, you used to do it with qualitative research, by asking your customers and often prospects, what they got from your brand. (It’s a broad question, but consumers have a wonderful way of choosing what is important to them and discarding the rest.) And if they can’t relate to “getting something” from your brand, ask them what stands out about their last visit? (either on or offline.)

When you learn what it is – whatever it is – it’s yours, and usually it’s not a far reach to the many ways it can be duplicated.