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A brand is a collection of images and ideas representing an economic producer; more specifically, it refers to the concrete symbols such as a name, logo, slogan, and design scheme. Brand recognition and other reactions are created by the accumulation of experiences with the specific product or service, both directly relating to its use, and through the influence of advertising, design, and media commentary. A brand is a symbolic embodiment of all the information connected to a company, product or service. A brand serves to create associations and expectations among products made by a producer. A brand often includes an explicit logo, fonts, color schemes, symbols, sound which may be developed to represent implicit values, ideas, and even personality.

The brand, and "branding" and brand equity have become increasingly important components of culture and the economy, now being described as "cultural accessories and personal philosophies". [1]

ConceptsEdit

Some marketers distinguish the psychological aspect of a brand from the experiential aspect. The experiential aspect consists of the sum of all points of contact with the brand and is known as the brand experience. The psychological aspect, sometimes referred to as the brand image, is a symbolic construct created within the minds of people and consists of all the information and expectations associated with a product or service.

Marketers engaged in branding seek to develop or align the expectations behind the brand experience, creating the impression that a brand associated with a product or service has certain qualities or characteristics that make it special or unique. A brand image may be developed by attributing a "personality" to or associating an "image" with a product or service, whereby the personality or image is "branded" into the consciousness of consumers. A brand is therefore one of the most valuable elements in an advertising theme, as it demonstrates what the brand owner is able to offer in the marketplace. The art of creating and maintaining a brand is called brand management. This approach works not only for consumer goods B2C (Business-to-Consumer), but also for B2B (Business-to-Business), see Philip Kotler & Waldemar Pfoertsch.

A brand which is widely known in the marketplace acquires brand recognition. Where brand recognition builds up to a point where a brand enjoys a critical mass of positive sentiment in the marketplace, it is said to have achieved brand franchise. One goal in brand recognition is the identification of a brand without the name of the company present. For example, Disney has been successful at branding with their particular script font (originally created for Walt Disney's "signature" logo), which it used in the logo for go.com.

Brand equity measures the total value of the brand to the brand owner, and reflects the extent of brand franchise. The term brand name is often used interchangeably with "brand", although it is more correctly used to specifically denote written or spoken linguistic elements of a brand. In this context a "brand name" constitutes a type of trademark, if the brand name exclusively identifies the brand owner as the commercial source of products or services. A brand owner may seek to protect proprietary rights in relation to a brand name through trademark registration.

Brand energy is a concept that links together the ideas that the brand is experiential, that it is not just about the experiences of customers/potential customers but all stakeholders and the idea that businesses are essentially more about creating value through creating meaningful experiences than generating profit. Economic value comes from businesses’ transactions between people whether they be with customers, employees, suppliers or other stakeholders. But for such value to be created people first have to have positive associations with the business and/or its products and services and be energised to behave positively towards them – hence brand energy.

It has been defined as: ‘The energy that flows throughout the system that links businesses and all their stakeholders and which is manifested in the way these stakeholders think, feel and behave towards the business and its products or services’


The act of associating a product or service with a brand has become part of pop culture. Most products have some kind of brand identity, from common table salt to designer clothes. In non-commercial contexts, the marketing of entities which supply ideas or promises rather than product and services (e.g. political parties or religious organizations) may also be known as "branding".

Consumers may look on branding as an important value added aspect of products or services, as it often serves to denote a certain attractive quality or characteristic. From the perspective of brand owners, branded products or services also command higher prices. Where two products resemble each other, but one of the products has no associated branding (such as a generic, store-branded product), people may often select the more expensive branded product on the basis of the quality of the brand or the reputation of the brand owner.

Advertising spokespersons have also become part of some brands, for example: Mr. Whipple of Charmin toilet tissue and Tony the Tiger of Kellogg’s.

Brand monopolyEdit

In economic terms the "brand" is, in effect, a device to create a "monopoly" — or at least some form of "imperfect competition" — so that the brand owner can obtain some of the benefits which accrue to a monopoly, particularly those related to decreased price competition. In this context, most "branding" is established by promotional means. However, there is also a legal dimension, for it is essential that the brand names and trademarks are protected by all means available. The monopoly may also be extended, or even created, by patent, copyright, trade secret (e.g. secret recipe), and other sui generis intellectual property regimes (e.g.: Plant Varieties Act, Design Act).

In all these contexts, retailers' "own label" brands can be just as powerful. The "brand", whatever its derivation, is a very important investment for any organization. RHM (Rank Hovis McDougall), for example, have valued their international brands at anything up to twenty times their annual earnings.

Branding policiesEdit

There are a number of possible policies.

Company nameEdit

Often, especially in the industrial sector, it is just the company's name which is promoted (leading to one of the most powerful statements of "branding"; the saying, before the company's downgrading, "No-one ever got fired for buying IBM").

In this case a very strong brand name (or company name) is made the vehicle for a range of products (for example, Mercedes or Black & Decker) or even a range of subsidiary brands (such as Cadbury Dairy Milk, Cadbury Flake or Cadbury Fingers in the United States).

Individual brandingEdit

Main article: Individual branding

Each brand has a separate name (such as Seven-Up or Nivea Sun (Beiersdorf)), which may even compete against other brands from the same company (for example, Persil, Omo, Surf and Lynx are all owned by Unilever).

Derived brandsEdit

In this case the supplier of a key component, used by a number of suppliers of the end-product, may wish to guarantee its own position by promoting that component as a brand in its own right. The most frequently quoted example is Intel (in the PC market, with the slogan 'Intel Inside'), but the sweetener Aspartame used much the same approach (to lock in the soft drinks manufacturers who represented a major market for the product).

Brand developmentEdit

In terms of existing products, brands may be developed in a number of ways:

Brand extensionEdit

The existing strong brand name can be used as a vehicle for new or modified products; for example, many fashion and designer companies extended brands into fragrances, shoes and accessories, home textile, home decor, luaggage, (sun-) glasses, furniture, hotels, etc.

Mars extended its brand to ice cream, Caterpillar to shoes and watches, Michelin to a restaurant guide, Adidas and Puma to personal hygiene.

There is a difference between brand extension and line extension. When Coca-Cola launched "Diet Coke" and "Cherry Coke" they stayed within the originating product category: non-alcoholic carbonated beverages. Procter & Gamble (P&G) did likewise extending its strong lines (such as Fairy Soap) into neighboring products (Fairy Liquid and Fairy Automatic) within the same category, dish washing detergents.

Multi-brandsEdit

Alternatively, in a market that is fragmented amongst a number of brands a supplier can choose deliberately to launch totally new brands in apparent competition with its own existing strong brand (and often with identical product characteristics); simply to soak up some of the share of the market which will in any case go to minor brands. The rationale is that having 3 out of 12 brands in such a market will give a greater overall share than having 1 out of 10 (even if much of the share of these new brands is taken from the existing one). In its most extreme manifestation, a supplier pioneering a new market which it believes will be particularly attractive may choose immediately to launch a second brand in competition with its first, in order to pre-empt others entering the market.

Individual brand names naturally allow greater flexibility by permitting a variety of different products, of differing quality, to be sold without confusing the consumer's perception of what business the company is in or diluting higher quality products.

Once again, Procter & Gamble is a leading exponent of this philosophy, running as many as ten detergent brands in the US market. This also increases the total number of "facings" it receives on supermarket shelves. Sara Lee, on the other hand, uses it to keep the very different parts of the business separate — from Sara Lee cakes through Kiwi polishes to L'Eggs pantyhose. In the hotel business, Marriott uses the name Fairfield Inns for its budget chain (and Ramada uses Rodeway for its own cheaper hotels).

Cannibalization is a particular problem of a "multibrand" approach, in which the new brand takes business away from an established one which the organization also owns. This may be acceptable (indeed to be expected) if there is a net gain overall. Alternatively, it may be the price the organization is willing to pay for shifting its position in the market; the new product being one stage in this process.

Small business brandsEdit

Branding a small business is essentially the same thing as a larger corporation, the only differences being that small businesses usually have a smaller market and have less reach than larger brands. Some people argue that it is not possible to brand a small business, however there are many examples of small businesses that became very successful due to branding. Starbucks is one company that used almost no advertising and over a period of ten years developed such a strong brand that the company went from one shop to hundreds.

Own brands and genericsEdit

With the emergence of strong retailers the "own brand", the retailer's own branded product (or service), also emerged as a major factor in the marketplace. Where the retailer has a particularly strong identity (such as Marks & Spencer in clothing) this "own brand" may be able to compete against even the strongest brand leaders, and may dominate those markets which are not otherwise strongly branded.

There was a fear that such "own brands" might displace all other brands (as they have done in Marks & Spencer outlets), but the evidence is that — at least in supermarkets and department stores — consumers generally expect to see on display something over 50 per cent (and preferably over 60 per cent) of brands other than those of the retailer. Indeed, even the strongest own brands in the United Kingdom rarely achieve better than third place in the overall market.

Therefore the strongest independent brands (such as Kellogg's and Heinz), which have maintained their marketing investments, should continue to flourish. More than 50 per cent of United Kingdom FMCG brand leaders have held their position for more than two decades, although it is arguable that those which have switched their budgets to "buy space" in the retailers may be more exposed.

The strength of the retailers has, perhaps, been seen more in the pressure they have been able to exert on the owners of even the strongest brands (and in particular on the owners of the weaker third and fourth brands). Relationship marketing has been applied most often to meet the wishes of such large customers (and indeed has been demanded by them as recognition of their buying power). Some of the more active marketers have now also switched to 'category marketing' - in which they take into account all the needs of a retailer in a product category rather than more narrowly focusing on their own brand.

At the same time, probably as an outgrowth of consumerism, "generic" (that is, effectively unbranded goods) have also emerged. These made a positive virtue of saving the cost of almost all marketing activities; emphasizing the lack of advertising and, especially, the plain packaging (which was, however, often simply a vehicle for a different kind of image). It would appear that the penetration of such generic products peaked in the early 1980s, and most consumers still seem to be looking for the qualities that the conventional brand provides.

HistoryEdit

Brands in the field of marketing originated in the 19th century with the advent of packaged goods. Industrialization moved the production of many household items, such as soap, from local communities to centralized factories. When shipping their items, the factories would literally brand their logo or insignia on the barrels used, which is where the term comes from.

These factories, generating mass-produced goods, needed to sell their products to a wider market, to a customer base familiar only with local goods. It quickly became apparent that a generic package of soap had difficulty competing with familiar, local products. The packaged goods manufacturers needed to convince the market that the public could place just as much trust in the non-local product. Campbell soup, Coca-Cola, Juicy Fruit gum, Aunt Jemima, and Quaker Oats were among the first products to be 'branded', in an effort to increase the consumer's familiarity with their products. Many brands of that era, such as Uncle Ben's rice and Kellogg's breakfast cereal furnish illustrations of the problem.

Around 1900, James Walter Thompson published a house ad explaining trademark advertising. This was an early commercial explanation of what we now know as branding. Companies soon adopted slogans, mascots, and jingles which began to appear on radio and early television. By the 1940s,{Mildred Pierce[1]} manufacturers began to recognize the way in which consumers were developing relationships with their brands in a social/psychological/anthropological sense.

From there, manufacturers quickly learned to associate other kinds of brand values, such as youthfulness, fun or luxury, with their products. This began the practice we now know as branding, where it is felt that consumers buy the brand instead of the product. This trend continued to the 1980s, which have been described as "brand equity mania".[1] In 1988, Phillip Morris purchased Kraft for six times what the company was worth on paper; it was felt that what they really purchased was its brand name.

Marlboro FridayEdit

April 2, 1993 was marked by some as the death of the brand.[1] On that day, Phillip Morris declared that they were to cut the price of Marlboro cigarettes by 20%, in order to compete with bargain cigarettes. Marlboro cigarettes were notorious at the time for their heavy advertising campaigns, and well-nuanced brand image. On that day, Wall street stocks nose-dived[1] for a large number of 'branded' companies: Heinz, Coca Cola, Quaker Oats, PepsiCo. Many thought the event signalled the beginning of a trend towards "brand blindness" (Klein 13).

Attitude brandingEdit

Attitude branding is the choice to represent a large feeling, which is not necessarily connected with the product or consumption of the product at all. Marketing labeled as attitude branding include that of Nike, Starbucks, The Body Shop, Safeway, and Apple Computer.[1] In the 2000 book, No Logo, attitude branding is described as a "fetish strategy".

"A great brand raises the bar -- it adds a greater sense of purpose to the experience, whether it's the challenge to do your best in sports and fitness, or the affirmation that the cup of coffee you're drinking really matters." - Howard Shultz (head of marketing for Starbucks and formerly Nike)

See alsoEdit

BibliographyEdit

  • Kotler, Philip and Pfoertsch, Waldemar (2006) B2B Brand Management, ISBN 3-540-25360-2, Identifies and explains the fundamental branding principles and applies them to industrial companies.
  • Miller & Muir (2004) The Business of Brands, ISBN 0-470-86259-9, Examines how brands can create value for businesses
  • Olins, W (2003) On Brand, London: Thames and Hudson, ISBN 0-500-51145-4
  • Schmidt, Klaus; Ludlow,Chris (2002) "Inclusive Branding: The why and how of a holistic approach to brands", Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, ISBN 0-333-98079-4
  • Wernick, Andrew (1991) "Promotional Culture: Advertising, Ideology and Symbolic Expression (Theory, Culture & Society S.)", London: Sage Publications Ltd, ISBN 0-8039-8390-5
  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Klein, Naomi (2000) No logo, Canada: Random House, ISBN 0-676-97282-9
  • "Best of Branding" (2003) James Gregory presents eye-opening case studies that unveil results from the Corporate Branding Index. www.corebrand.com, ISBN 0-07-140329-9

External linksEdit


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