# What Is (Not) a Brand?

#1 Interbrand

*Published by Jan Knap, M.D. on September 15, 2020.*

In *Under the Nanoscope: What Is (Not) a Brand?* series, we select one definition of *a brand* from a well respected source and examine it under our *nanoscope*.

### The Statement

*A brand is the sum of all expressions by which an entity (person, organization, company, business unit, city, nation, etc.) intends to be recognized.*

*— Source: Interbrand (2019)*

### The Facts

**Argument #1: Not a Definition**

This is not *a definition* as authors claim. It’s just a description of what authors believe *a brand* could be. In fact, there is no evidence about any predictive value or outcome related to their *definition*.

**Argument #2: Mathematical ‘Smoke Screen’**

In the first part: *“...the sum of all expressions...”*, authors use the mathematical function, the sum, as *bait* while defining summands as ambiguously as *expressions*. Nobody knows what they mean by the term *expressions*. What would you say if I change it as: *“...the sum of all numbers...”*? Automatically you would argue: *“What numbers? Do you mean all natural numbers or real numbers? What do you mean by ‘all’ numbers? ‘All’ numbers within a finite subset or infinitely ‘all’?"* Well, now you see where this can go.

Without precisely defining the term *‘an expression’* we cannot determine *‘all expressions’*. As a result, it’s impossible to continue using this "definition" to find out what *a brand* is.

**Argument #3: Etc.?**

In the next part: *“...by which an entity...”* authors describe *an entity* as *“person, organisation, company, business unit, city, nation, etc.”*. Just adding *etc.* does not mean that we can predict what should be next. In fact, we cannot. Without defining the term *‘an entity’* precisely—and not by listing just seven (why seven and not three) random examples—nobody can use this.

### Summary

This is **not a definition of a brand**—in fact, it is a description. Nobody can use it because there are no criteria how to determine what

*‘an expression’*or

*‘an entity’*are. If we cannot determine what A and B is (A=an expression, B=an entity), then A=0 and B=0. Sum of any number of 0’s is also 0. Thus, it’s impossible to say what

*a brand*is.

# Under the Nanoscope Series

What Is (Not) a Brand?

We focus on finding answers to the deepest questions in branding to separate beliefs from fact by science.