A logo is not a brand, a name is not a brand, nor is a product design, a package design, a visual identity, an advertising jingle, or a shopping experience. These things are all merely the tangible aspects of a complex sign system whose goal is to put an intangible—but powerful—brand idea or insight into the mind of a customer.The notion of brand insight is far more fundamental than the readily recognizable elements of a brand identity such as the logo, the package design, or the advertising. The insight can refer to a personal goal, an emotional response, affinity with a set of values, or a dream of a better future. What’s more, the insight doesn’t need to relate to the product in question. The insight behind the Coca-Cola brand, for example, is inclusion in a worldwide family, which really has nothing to do with sugar water.The magic of branding is to utilize all the devices of a brand identity to tie the product to the insight. Magic (as practiced on stage, at least) is all about perceptions, and so is branding.First the brand is given a name, then a visual style, a tone of voice, rules of engagement, then all the other elements of a systematic identity. Each element has a specific part to play; the pieces can come together in different ways for different kinds of brands, in different sectors. If a brand is well crafted, then all its pieces reinforce one another and the association between idea and identity is a strong one. Experiencing any one element of the identity (the swirling script, the curvy bottle, the red can) will trigger recollection of the whole, along with the intended viewer response—a desire for the branded product or service.Understanding the role of each element in a brand identity, and knowing how to craft it in just the right way to elicit just the right response, demands an understanding of the customer more than anything else. This comes from observation and experience. Whether you are an entrepreneur, manager, or designer, creating a successful brand means knowing how your customers perceive each element of your brand identity, and helping them connect those to grasp the brand insight.