Classical models of brand management pay insufficient attention to staff as brand builders, placing more emphasis on external issues such as image. This paper explores the significant contribution from employees and considers the need to align their values and behaviours with the brand's desired values. It clarifies the importance of culture in brand building and discusses how an adaptive, strategically appropriate culture, consistently apparent throughout an organisation is likely to be associated with healthy brand performance. A model is proposed, suggesting that stronger brands result from a homogeneous brand identity, with congruent identity components. It argues that reputation is a more appropriate external assessment of a brand than image. By auditing the gaps between brand identity and brand reputation, managers can identify strategies to minimize incongruency and develop more powerful brands. It is concluded that brand reality is an important aspect of branding.