But, the use today isn't really that different. The product choices that we make tell the world about us and who we are. It has become a mutual appreciation society. When I wear their shoes, I claim Nike and they claim me. We are declaring our relationship to the world.
Although, the word brand is still often misused.
A brand is not a logo.
A brand is not a business card.
A brand is not a product.
Quite simply, a brand is how a person feels about you.
It's their emotional reaction to you, because we are emotional people. That is why advertising that discusses features will never be as powerful at developing a relationship when compared to advertising that highlights the benefits that matter to me.
Speak my language in your marketing. Develop a relationship with me. Then we can declare that relationship to the world.
Social Media is the most powerful set of tools for branding that has ever existed. When I follow you are twitter I am an offical part of your tribe, as Seth Godin would say. When you become a fan of my facebook page we are connected. That is the development of a relationship that goes so much further than just a 30 second spot.