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A brand can take many forms, including a name, sign, symbol, color combination or slogan. For example, Coca Cola is the name of a brand make by a particular company. The word branding began simply as a way to tell one person's cattle from another by means of a hot iron stamp. The word brand has continued to evolve to encompass identity — it affects the personality of a product, company or service. It is defined by a perception, good or bad, that your customers or prospects have about you. 
A concept brand is a brand that is associated with an abstract concept, like breast cancer awareness or environmentalism, rather than a specific product, service, or business. A commodity brand is a brand associated with a commodity. Got milk? is an example of a commodity brand.
Brand is the personality that identifies a product, service or company (name, term, sign, symbol, or design, or combination of them) and how it relates to key constituencies: customers, staff, partners, investors etc.
Some people distinguish the psychological aspect, brand associations like thoughts, feelings, perceptions, images, experiences, beliefs, attitudes, and so on that become linked to the brand, 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 brand experience is a brand's action perceived by a person. The psychological aspect, sometimes referred to as the brand image, is a symbolic construct created within the minds of people, consisting of all the information and expectations associated with a product, service or the company(ies) providing them.
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. The brand orientation is developed in responsiveness to market intelligence.
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.
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. Brand recognition is most successful when people can state a brand without being explicitly exposed to the company's name, but rather through visual signifiers like logos, slogan's, and colors. 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.
Consumers may look on branding as an aspect of products or services, as it often serves to denote a certain attractive quality or characteristic (see also brand promise). 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.
Brand awareness refers to customers' ability to recall and recognize the brand under different conditions and link to the brand name, logo, jingles and so on to certain associations in memory. It consists of both brand recognition and brand recall. 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 (Keller). Brand awareness is of critical importance since customers will not consider your brand if they are not aware of it.
There are various levels of brand awareness that require different levels and combinations of brand recognition and recall. Top-of-Mind is the goal of most companies. Top-of-Mind Awareness occurs when your brand is what pops into a consumers mind when asked to name brands in a product category. For example, when someone is asked to name a type of facial tissue, the common answer is “Kleenex,” which is a top-of-mind brand. Aided Awareness occurs when a consumer is shown or read a list of brands, and expresses familiarity with your brand only after they hear or see it as a type of memory aide. Strategic Awareness occurs when your brand is not only top-of-mind to consumers, but also has distinctive qualities that stick out to consumers as making it better than the other brands in your market. The distinctions that set your product apart from the competition is also known as the Unique Selling Point or USP.
Brands are spreadthrough various elements:
- Name: The word or words used to identify the company, product, service, concept
- Logo: The visual trademark that identifies the brand
- Tagline or Catchphrase: "The Quicker Picker Upper" is associated with Bounty; "Can you hear me now" is an important part of the Verizon brand.
- Shapes: The distinctive shape of the Coca-Cola bottle or the Volkswagen Beetle are trademarked elements of those brands.
- Graphics: The dynamic ribbon is also a trademarked part of Coca-Cola's brand.
- Color: Owens-Corning is the only brand of fiberglass insulation that can be pink.
- Sounds: A unique tune or set of notes can "denote" a brand: NBC's chimes are one of the most famous examples.
- Movement: Lamborghini has trademarked the upward motion of its car doors.
- Smells: Scents, such as the rose-jasmine-musk of Chanel No. 5 is trademarked.
- Taste: KFC has trademarked its special recipe of 11 herbs and spices for fried chicken.
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 Facebook, Apple, Pepsi, McDonald's, Mastercard, Gap, Sony and Nike. 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.
Benefits of global branding
In addition to taking advantage of the outstanding growth opportunities, the following drives the increasing interest in taking brands global:
- Economies of scale (production and distribution)
- Lower marketing costs
- Laying the groundwork for future extensions worldwide
- Maintaining consistent brand imagery
- Quicker identification and integration of innovations (discovered worldwide)
- Preempting international competitors from entering domestic markets or locking you out of other geographic markets
- Increasing international media reach (especially with the explosion of the Internet) is an enabler
- Increases in international business and tourism are also enablers
Global brand variables
The following elements may differ from country to country:
- Corporate slogan
- Products and services
- Product names
- Product features
- Marketing mixes (including pricing, distribution, media and advertising execution)
These differences will depend upon:
- Language differences
- Different styles of communication
- Other cultural differences
- Differences in category and brand development
- Different consumption patterns
- Different competitive sets and marketplace conditions
- Different legal and regulatory environments
- Different national approaches to marketing (media, pricing, distribution, etc.)
A brand that is sold and marketed (distributed and promoted) in a relatively small and restricted geographical area. A local brand is a brand that can be found in only one country or region. It may be called a regional brand if the area encompasses more than one metropolitan market. It may also be a brand that is developed for a specific national market, however an interesting thing about local brand is that the local branding is more often done by consumers than by the producers. Examples of local brands in Sweden are Stomatol, Skånemejerier, etc. 
The brand name is quite often used interchangeably with "brand", although it is more correctly used to specifically denote written or spoken linguistic elements of any product. 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 and such trademarks are called "Registered Trademarks". Advertising spokespersons have also become part of some brands, for example: Mr. Whipple of Charmin toilet tissue and Tony the Tiger of Kellogg's Frosted Flakes. Local branding is usually done by the consumers rather than the producers.
Types of brand names
Brand names come in many styles. A few include:
Acronym: A name made of initials such as UPS or IBM
Descriptive: Names that describe a product benefit or function like Whole Foods or Airbus
Alliteration and rhyme: Names that are fun to say and stick in the mind like Reese's Pieces or Dunkin' Donuts
Evocative: Names that evoke a relevant vivid image like Amazon or Crest
Neologisms: Completely made-up words like Wii or Kodak
Foreign word: Adoption of a word from another language like Volvo or Samsung
Founders' names: Using the names of real people,and founder's name like Hewlett-Packard or Disney
Geography: Many brands are named for regions and landmarks like Cisco and Fuji Film
Personification: Many brands take their names from myth like Nike or from the minds of ad execs like Betty Crocker
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 jeans. A brandnomer is a brand name that has colloquially become a generic term for a product or service, such as Band-Aid or Kleenex, which are often used to describe any brand of adhesive bandage or any brand of facial tissue respectively.
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 (what 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 (evolve), 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.
Visual brand identity
The recognition and perception of a brand is highly influenced by its visual presentation. A brand’s visual identity is the overall look of its communications. Effective visual brand identity is achieved by the consistent use of particular visual elements to create distinction, such as specific fonts, colors, and graphic elements. At the core of every brand identity is a brand mark, or logo. In the United States, brand identity and logo design naturally grew out of the Modernist movement in the 1950s and greatly drew on the principles of that movement – simplicity (Mies van der Rohe’s principle of "Less is more") and geometric abstraction. These principles can be observed in the work of the pioneers of the practice of visual brand identity design, such as Paul Rand, Chermayeff & Geismar and Saul Bass.
Brand parity is the perception of the customers that some brands are equivalent. This means that shoppers will purchase within a group of accepted brands rather than choosing one specific brand. When brand parity is present, quality is often not a major concern because consumers believe that only minor quality differences exist.
Expanding role of brand
it was meant to make identifying and differentiating a product easier. Over time, brands came to embrace a performance or benefit promise, for the product, certainly, but eventually also for the company behind the brand. Today, brand plays a much bigger role. Brands have been co-opted as powerful symbols in larger debates about economics, social issues, and politics. The power of brands to communicate a complex message quickly and with emotional impact and the ability of brands to attract media attention, make them ideal tools in the hands of activists.
Often, especially in the ine of the most powerful statements of branding: saying just before the company's downgrading, "No one ever got fired for buying IBM"). This approach has not worked as well for General Motors, which recently overhauled how its corporate brand relates to the product brands. Exactly how the company name relates to product and services names is known as brand architecture. Decisions about company names and product names and their relationship depends on more than a dozen strategic considerations.
In this case a strong brand name (or company name) is made the vehicle for a range of products (for example, Mercedes-Benz or Black & Decker) or a range of subsidiary brands (such as Cadbury Dairy Milk, Cadbury Flake or Cadbury Fingers in the United States).
Each brand has a separate name (such as Seven-Up, Kool-Aid or Nivea Sun (Beiersdorf)), which may compete against other brands from the same company (for example, Persil, Omo, Surf and Lynx are all owned by Unilever).
Attitude branding and iconic brands
Attitude branding is the choice to represent a larger 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 Inc.. In the 2000 book No Logo, Naomi Klein describes attitude branding 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 Schultz (president, CEO, and chairman of Starbucks)
Iconic brands are defined as having aspects that contribute to consumer's self-expression and personal identity. Brands whose value to consumers comes primarily from having identity value are said to be "identity brands". Some of these brands have such a strong identity that they become more or less cultural icons which makes them "iconic brands". Examples are: Apple, Nike and Harley Davidson. Many iconic brands include almost ritual-like behaviour in purchasing or consuming the products.
There are four key elements to creating iconic brands (Holt 2004):
- "Necessary conditions" - The performance of the product must at least be acceptable, preferably with a reputation of having good quality.
- "Myth-making" - A meaningful storytelling fabricated by cultural insiders. These must be seen as legitimate and respected by consumers for stories to be accepted.
- "Cultural contradictions" - Some kind of mismatch between prevailing ideology and emergent undercurrents in society. In other words a difference with the way consumers are and how they wish they were.
- "The cultural brand management process" - Actively engaging in the myth-making process in making sure the brand maintains its position as an icon.
Recently a number of companies have successfully pursued "no-brand" strategies by creating packaging that imitates generic brand simplicity. Examples include the Japanese company Muji, which means "No label" in English (from 無印良品 – "Mujirushi Ryohin" – literally, "No brand quality goods"), and the Florida company No-Ad Sunscreen. Although there is a distinct Muji brand, Muji products are not branded. This no-brand strategy means that little is spent on advertisement or classical marketing and Muji's success is attributed to the word-of-mouth, a simple shopping experience and the anti-brand movement. "No brand" branding may be construed as a type of branding as the product is made conspicuous through the absence of a brand name. "Tapa Amarilla" or "Yellow Cap" in Venezuela during the 80s is another good example of no-brand strategy. It was simply recognized by the color of the cap of this cleaning products company.
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, which positions itself in the PC market with the slogan (and sticker) "Intel Inside".
Brand extension and brand dilution
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, luggage, (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. Dunlop extended its brand from tires to other rubber products such as shoes, golf balls, tennis racquets and adhesives.
There is a difference between brand extension and line extension. A line extension is when a current brand name is used to enter a new market segment in the existing product class, with new varieties or flavors or sizes. 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.
The risk of over-extension is brand dilution where the brand loses its brand associations with a market segment, product area, or quality, price or cachet.
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.
With the emergence of strong retailers, private label brands, also called own brands, or store brands, also emerged as a major factor in the marketplace. Where the retailer has a particularly strong identity (such as Marks & Spencer in the UK clothing sector) this "own brand" may be able to compete against even the strongest brand leaders, and may outperform those products that are not otherwise strongly branded.
Individual and organizational brands
There are kinds of branding that treat individuals and organizations as the products to be branded. Personal branding treats persons and their careers as brands. The term is thought to have been first used in a 1997 article by Tom Peters. Faith branding treats religious figures and organizations as brands. Religious media expert Phil Cooke has written that faith branding handles the question of how to express faith in a media-dominated culture. Nation branding works with the perception and reputation of countries as brands.
These are brands that are created by the people for the business, which is opposite to the traditional method where the business create a brand. This type of method minimizes the risk of brand failure, since the people that might reject the brand in the traditional method are the ones who are participating in the branding process.
Nation Branding (Place Branding & Public diplomacy)
Nation branding is a field of theory and practice which aims to measure, build and manage the reputation of countries (closely related to place branding). Some approaches applied, such as an increasing importance on the symbolic value of products, have led countries to emphasise their distinctive characteristics. The branding and image of a nation-state "and the successful transference of this image to its exports - is just as important as what they actually produce and sell."
The Italians were among the first to use brands, in the form of watermarks on paper in the 1200s.
Although connected with the history of trademarks and including earlier examples which could be deemed "protobrands" (such as the marketing puns of the "Vesuvinum" wine jars found at Pompeii), brands in the field of mass-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, extending the meaning of "brand" to that of trademark.
Bass & Company, the British brewery, claims their red triangle brand was the world's first trademark. Lyle’s Golden Syrup makes a similar claim, having been named as Britain's oldest brand, with its green and gold packaging having remained almost unchanged since 1885. Another example comes from Antiche Fornaci Giorgi in Italy, whose bricks are stamped or carved with the same proto-logo since 1731, as found in Saint Peter's Basilica in Vatican City.
Cattle were branded long before this. The term "maverick," originally meaning an unbranded calf, comes from Texas rancher Samuel Augustus Maverick who, following the American Civil War, decided that since all other cattle were branded, his would be identified by having no markings at all. Even the signatures on paintings of famous artists like Leonardo Da Vinci can be viewed as an early branding tool.
Factories established during the Industrial Revolution introduced mass-produced goods and needed to sell their products to a wider market, to customers previously familiar only with locally-produced 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 that began to appear on radio and early television. By the 1940s, 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 build their brand's identity and personality (see brand identity and brand personality), such as youthfulness, fun or luxury. This began the practice we now know as "branding" today, where the consumers buy "the brand" instead of the product. This trend continued to the 1980s, and is now quantified in concepts such as brand value and brand equity. Naomi Klein has described this development as "brand equity mania". In 1988, for example, Philip 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 Friday: April 2, 1993 - marked by some as the death of the brand - the day Philip Morris declared that they were cutting the price of Marlboro cigarettes by 20% in order to compete with bargain cigarettes. Marlboro cigarettes were noted at the time for their heavy advertising campaigns and well-nuanced brand image. In response to the announcement Wall street stocks nose-dived 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), questioning the power of "brand value."
- Brand architecture
- Brand engagement
- Brand equity
- Brand loyalty
- Brand tribalism
- Branding agency
- Content marketing
- Green brands
- Integrated marketing communications
- Visual brand language
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