Brand is the personality that identifies a product, service or company and how it relates to key constituencies: Customers, Staff, Fans.
People 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 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. Orientation of the whole organization towards its brand is called brand orientation.
Careful brand management seeks to make the product or services relevant to the target audience. Brands should be seen as more than the difference between the actual cost of a product and its selling price – they represent the sum of all valuable qualities of a product to the consumer. There are many intangibles involved in business, intangibles left wholly from the income statement and balance sheet which determine how a business is perceived.
A brand which is widely known in the marketplace acquires brand recognition. When 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.
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, 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.
Brand awareness refers to customers’ ability to recall and recognize the brand under different conditions and link to the brand name, logo, jingles etc. to certain associations in memory. It helps the customers to understand to which product or service category the particular brand belongs and what products and services are sold under the brand name. It also ensures that customers know which of their needs are satisfied by the brand through its products . Brand awareness is of critical importance since customers will not consider your brand if they are not aware of it.
Brand promise is what a particular brand stands for and has stood for in the past. It has its roots in the identity that it gains over a period of time. Usually, brand promise is an attribute common to ‘Parent’ brands. Herein, the brand may broadly stand for Quality, Performance, Trust, or False promises. However, the extensions, or the brands under the parent brand umbrella, may stand individually for a particular trait which it has delivered over the years.
A global brand is one which is perceived to reflect the same set of values around the world. Global brands transcend their origins and create strong enduring relationships with consumers across countries and cultures. They are brands sold in international markets. Examples of global brands include Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Mercedes, etc. These brands are used to sell the same product across multiple markets and could be considered successful to the extent that the associated products are easily recognizable by the diverse set of consumers.
The outward expression of a brand, including its name, trademark, communications, and visual appearance. Because the identity is assembled by the brand owner, it reflects how the owner wants the consumer to perceive the brand – and by extension the branded company, organization, product or service. This is in contrast to the brand image, which is a customer’s mental picture of a brand. The brand owner will seek to bridge the gap between the brand image and the brand identity.
Effective brand names build a connection between the brand personality as it is perceived by the target audience and the actual product/service. The brand name should be conceptually on target with the product/service the company stands for. Furthermore, the brand name should be on target with the brand demographic. Typically, sustainable brand names are easy to remember, transcend trends and have positive connotations. Brand identity is fundamental to consumer recognition and symbolizes the brand’s differentiation from competitors.
Brand identity is what the owner wants to communicate to its potential consumers. However, over time, a product’s brand identity may acquire , gaining new attributes from consumer perspective but not necessarily from the marketing communications an owner percolates to targeted consumers. Therefore, brand associations become handy to check the consumer’s perception of the brand.
Brand identity needs to focus on authentic qualities – real characteristics of the value and brand promise being provided and sustained by organizational and/or production characteristics.