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What is Branding?

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Branding was a passive activity; giving names to products designed and manufactured at the company’s will. But, in the last two decades they are the hot spots in total marketing process.

The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines a brand as “a name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers”.

They constantly appear in the financial strategy and valuations of a company. When brands are so important, branding becomes even more important.

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Learn about:

1. Origin of Branding Practice 2. Meaning of Branding 3. Definitions of Branding 4. Concepts 5. Nature of Brand

6. Significance of Brands 7. Functions 8. Types of Brands 9. Process. 10. Features of a Good Brand Name 11. Types of Brand Awareness

12. Elements 13. Examples of Brand Name Styles 14. Components of a Comprehensive Branding Strategy. 15. Common Misconceptions and Facts with Respect to Branding

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16. Why Modern Companies Emphasize on Building Brands? 17. Role of Brand Names 18. Advantages 19. Limitations.

What is Branding: Concepts, Significance, Functions, Types, Brand Awareness, Role, Limitations and Other Details


Contents:

  1. Origin of Branding Practice
  2. Meaning of Branding
  3. Definitions of Branding
  4. Concepts of Branding
  5. Nature of Brand
  6. Significance of Brands
  7. Functions of Branding
  8. Types of Brands
  9. Process of Branding
  10. Features of a Good Brand Name
  11. Types of Brand Awareness
  12. Elements of Brand
  13. Examples of Brand Name Styles
  14. Components of a Comprehensive Branding Strategy
  15. Common Misconceptions and Facts with Respect to Branding
  16. Why Modern Companies Emphasize on Building Brands?
  17. Role of Brand Names
  18. Advantages of Branding
  19. Limitations of Brands

What is Branding – Origin of Branding Practice

Brands have been around for many years since business began. The managers thought about branding once the product was developed, priced and packaged. Branding a product was a decision in the end and was never given any significance as they felt that good product will generate sales automatically.

Branding was a passive activity; giving names to products designed and manufactured at the company’s will. But, in the last two decades they are the hot spots in total marketing process. They constantly appear in the financial strategy and valuations of a company. When brands are so important, branding becomes even more important.

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The word ‘brand’ has been originated from the word ‘brande’ which means ‘to burn’. In the 16th to 18th century, branding was merely an identity creation and was used by Greeks and Romans to identify their offerings to their sacred Gods. The farmers used it for identifying their livestock, and distillers put a heat embossing on their wooden casks to differentiate it from the spurious brands. In England, heat embossing symbols were put on the cheeks of the slaves in order to ‘brand’ them for a particular owner.

Brands have come a long way from identity to building relevance in the early 19th century. Brands were to differentiate and position themselves to avoid the clutter from the competition in the early 20th century. Brands started conversations with their customers to connect with them permanently. Today brands are all about co-creation, customer engagement, and loyalty and reward programs to build relationships with their customers.

Consumer identification with the product and protection continues to guide branding practices even today. The brand concept evolved further in the 18th century. Earlier the producers’ names identified the products, i.e. the identity of the producer used to be the brand name.

For example, Smirnoff Vodka took its name from Smirnoff family which went into vodka business in the year 1818. Ford automobiles adorned its name from the Ford family. The names of the producers began to get replaced by names of places, famous people and even animals. This was done to strengthen the association between the product and the brand so that the brands were easy to remember and also distinguished the product in the class.


What is Branding – Meaning

Brands are all around us. We live in a world of branded products and services. Everyday we are exposed to a plethora of brands right from dawn to dusk. It is ironic that we do interact with brands more than humans in a single day. Since the dawn of history of mankind, there has been a desire to establish one’s identity separate from those of fellow human beings.

From ‘search it’ to ‘Google it’; from a ‘time piece’ to ‘Omega’; from a just a ‘cricket tournament’ to ‘IPL’. We do not drive cars any more, we drive — a Rolls Royce, a Porsche, a Honda, a Volkswagen, etc. We do not wear a T-shirt or jeans but, a Lacoste, a Tommy Hilfiger, a Levis or a Wrangler.

We do not wear sneakers any more but, instead we wear a Reebok, Adidas, or a Nike. The brands have changed the way we shop and also influence the way we lead our lives. The modern world is a jazzy and glitzy playground for brands. From people to nations everyone aspires to be a brand. Brands are about satisfaction, and association with the consumers.

They are now being mastered on creating and meeting expectations, and taking it to a higher level every time. Apple as a brand has mastered the art of surpassing the customers’ expectations with every new launch. Other globally admired brands such as GE, Toyota, Mc Donald and Mercedes Benz are a testimony to this fact.

The consumers are turning brand conscious not only in metros but, also in the tier 2 and tier 3 cities, and significantly in the rural markets. Although rural consumers are not aware of the brand name, still by seeing the visual communication they identify a brand, for example, in rural Indian people cannot pronounce Smirnoff Vodka so they ask for Simran Kaur, or they ask for a Lal Sabun for a Lifebuoy.

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What exactly are brands? Are they about identity, or mere perceptions, or are brands about image or quality, or trust? The brand gurus, brand managers and academicians, brand consultants have their own version of defining a brand. The brands are more about building relationships. It is an interrelationship where on a continuous basis feedback is provided and changes are made in the products.

A brand is a source of value to the company on the competitive front. For example, Google’s philosophy is very different from that of Microsoft. As compared to Microsoft, Google propagates open door philosophy by providing plethora of information on the internet.

A brand strives for ‘distinction’ from the company’s perspective and on the consumer front; it strives for ‘value’. In simple terms, a brand is a product or service made distinctive by its positioning relative to competition and its personality in context of the target market. In order to register the brand in consumer’s mind a brand has to communicate to the end user in the ways that can attract and retain its customers.

Since its inception, brand management was limited to managing brand portfolio and brand equity. The rise of brand management took place only when it started talking to people. The end of autocracy is a beginning of brand democracy. Henry Ford ‘Model T’ was not a brand but, was an expression of engineering excellence.

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The democratization of brand management took place in 1985, when Coke was forced to relaunch the age old coke under the name of Classic Coke. It was a movement volunteered by consumers to save history. Coke is not simply black carbonated sugar water. It is an emotion of USA.

The fundamental premise therefore, for a brand is to deliver a product promise. It should not violate its basics. At a basic level, Google is a search engine but, the core and the soul of the brand is democracy.


What is Branding – Definitions

In management context, branding is a symbolic representation of information associated with a product or service. A brand particularly consists of a name, logo, other visible features including colour combinations, fonts, images, symbols, etc. A brand raises a number of expectations in the minds of the individuals in relation with particular goods or service.

These individuals may be employees working with the brand, suppliers, vendors and their associates, distributors and lastly consumers. Brand creation is more than just giving a name to a product. A brand is essentially a promise that the company makes to customers. It is a promise towards satisfaction of their needs and assuring world-class product and service quality. Three questions “who”, “what” and “why”, are very crucial for the successful branding of any product. Marketers should introduce who the product is, what does it do, and why should consumers know about it.

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According to American Marketing Association, “Brand is a name term, sign, symbol, or design, or a combination of them which is intended to identify the goods or services of one seller or a group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of competitors.”

According to Mellerowicz, “Brand is defined as branded product as an ubiquitous finished product of consistent or increasing quality for private consumption with an identification mark, standardised amount, and appearance, acceptance in the market and existing consumer advertising.”

Consumers choose products they want not only on the basis of product features and benefits but also on the basis of the name of brand. A brand name helps them to differentiate a product from other similar products in the market.

The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines a brand as “a name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers”.

Actually a brand name resides within the hearts of the customers. It is the sum total of their experiences and perceptions about a product. Branding is referred to as a process of creating a unique name and image for a product in the minds of the consumers through advertisements and other product promotion measures. It aims to establish a significant and differentiated position for the product in the target market that so as to attract and retain customers.

Branding is the process of creating distinctive and long lasting perceptions in the minds of consumers. A brand is a persistent, unique business identity mixed up with the personality of the consumers, their interest, quality of the product and its origin. It attempts to make people loyal to the product of the firm.

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It helps in fascinating and retaining loyal customers. The act of naming a family members is quite similar to branding. Here producers have children in the form of products or services similar to parents having their own children. As the biological parents are anxious to understand the personality traits of their children, similarly, producers are anxious to find out the nature and scope of their products not on the names but based on the launch of the product. Therefore, a managerial process of deciding a particular name for a given product is called as ‘branding.’

Branding guides the consumers in several ways including picking out the most useful products, and quality assurance associated with the product, etc. A loyal purchaser is assured of the same attributes, quality and satisfaction from a brand during every shopping experience. A seller also has many advantages in getting associated with a brand.

The exceptional quality of a product speaks everything about a brand name. The exclusive characteristics of a product are lawfully safeguarded against duplication by competitors due to its unique brand name and trademark. Division or subdivision of a market is also possible due to branding.


What is Branding – Basic Concepts

The basic branding concepts are as follows:

1. Brand Name – The 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.

2. Brand identity – Brand identity is fundamental to consumer recognition and symbolizes the brand’s differentiation from competitors. Brand identity may be defined as simply the outward expression of the brand, such as name and visual appearance.

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3. Brand Personality – It is the attribution of human personality traits to a brand as a way to achieve differentiation. Such brand personality traits may include seriousness, warmth or imagination. Brand personality is usually built through long-term marketing, as well as packaging and graphics.

4. Brand Promise – It is a statement from the brand owner to customers, which identifies what consumers should expect from all interactions with the brand. Interactions may include employees, representatives, actual service or product quality or performance, communication, etc. The brand promise is often strongly associated with the brand owner’s name and/ or logo.

5. Brand Equity/Value – It measures the total value of the brand to the brand owner, and reflects the extent of brand franchise. Brand value, especially in the case of consumer product brands, may arise out of customer loyalty. Brand value may also arise in terms of staff retention benefits (e.g., the ability of the company to attract and retain skilled and/or talented employees offering competitive salaries.)

6. Awareness – The percentage of population or target market who are aware of the existence of a given brand or company.

There are two types of awareness:

i. Spontaneous – It measures the percentage of people who spontaneously mention a particular brand when asked to name brands in a certain category.

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ii. Prompted – It measures the percentage of people who recognise a brand from a particular category when shown a list.

7. Brand Architecture – How an organisation structures and names the brands within its portfolio.

There are three main types of brand architecture system:

i. Monolithic – Where the corporate name is used on all products and services offered by the company. For example, Sony uses its corporate name for all product categories.

ii. Endorsed – Where all sub-brands are linked to the corporate brand by means of either a verbal or visual endorsement. For example, Tata Indica, Tata Safari.

iii. Free Standing – Where the corporate brand operates merely as a holding company, and each product or service is individually branded for its target. For example, HUL using Lux for soap, Clinic Plus for shampoo, etc.

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8. Brand Association – The feelings, beliefs, and knowledge that consumers (customers) have about brands. These associations are derived as a result of experience and must be consistent with the brand positioning and the basis of differentiation. For example, LIC.

9. Brand Differentiation – It is the process of creating a perceived difference, in the mind of the consumer, between a brand and its competition. The critical issue in differentiation is that consumers perceive a difference between brands. If consumers do not perceive a difference, then whether real differences exist or not does not matter.

Further, if a firm’s brand is not perceived as distinctive and attractive by consumers, then consumers will have no reason to choose that brand over one from the competition or to pay higher prices for the “better” or “more meaningful” brand.

10. Brand Commitment – The degree to which a customer is committed to a given brand in that they are likely to repurchase/re-use in the future. The level of commitment indicates the degree to which a brand’s customer franchise is protected from competitors.

11. Brand Earnings – The share of a brand-owning business’s cash flow that can be attributed to the brand alone.

12. Brand Essence – The brand’s promise expressed in the simplest, most single-minded terms. For example Volvo=safety; Saffola = heart care. The most powerful brand essences are rooted in a fundamental customer need.

13. Brand Experience – The means by which a brand is created in the mind of a stakeholder. Some experiences are controlled such as retail environments, advertising, products/services, websites, etc. Some are uncontrolled like journalistic comment and word- of-mouth. Strong brands arise from consistent experiences, which combine to form a clear, differentiated overall brand experience.

14. Brand Extension – Leveraging the values of the brand to take the brand into new markets/sectors.

15. Brand Image – The customer’s net “out-take” from the brand. For users this is based on practical experience of the product or service concerned (informed impressions) and how well this meets expectations; for non-users it is based almost entirely upon uninformed impressions, attitudes, and beliefs.

16. Brand Licensing – The leasing by a brand owner for the use of a brand to another company. Usually, a licensing fee or royalty rate will be agreed for the use of the brand.

17. Brand Positioning – The distinctive position that a brand adopts in its competitive environment to ensure that individuals in its target market can tell the brand apart from others. Positioning involves the careful manipulation of every element of the marketing mix.

18. Brand Strategy – A plan for the systematic development of a brand to enable it to meet its agreed objectives. The strategy should be rooted in the brand’s vision and driven by the principles of differentiation and sustained consumer appeal. The brand strategy should influence the total operation of a business to ensure consistent brand behaviours and brand experience.

19. Brand Valuation – The process of identifying and measuring the economic benefit – brand value – that derives from brand ownership.

20. Co-Branding – The use of two or more brand names in support of a new product, service or venture.

21. Power Branding – A strategy in which every product in a company’s range has its own brand name which functions independently, unsupported by either the company’s corporate brand or its other product brands. Power branding is resource-intensive strategy, since each brand must be commercially promoted and legally protected. Mainly manufacturers of consumer goods use this strategy. Lever’s and Procter & Gamble’s detergents are good examples of power brands.

22. Re-Brand – When a brand owner re-visits the brand with the purpose of updating or revising based on internal or external circumstances. Re-branding is often necessary after an M & A or if the brand has outgrown its identity/market place.

23. Re-Launch – Re-introducing a product into a specific market. The term implies that the company has previously marketed the product but stopped marketing it. A re-launched product has usually undergone one or more changes. It may, e.g., be technically modified, re-branded, distributed through different channels or, re-positioned.

24. Service Brand – A product consisting predominantly of intangible values. “A service is something that you can buy and sell, but not drop on your foot.” (The Economist). In this sense, a service is something that you do for somebody, or a promise that you

25. Sub-Brand – A product or service brand that had its own name and visual identity to differentiate it from the parent brand.

26. Mass Marketing – Simultaneous standardized marketing to a very large target market through mass media. Other names for this are market aggregation and undifferentiated marketing.

27. Master Brand – A brand name that dominates all the products or services in a range or across a business. Sometimes used with sub- brands, sometimes used with alpha or numeric signifiers. Example, Audi, Sony, Nescafe and LG are all used as master brands.

According to Jared Spool, “Branding means creating an emotional association (such as the feeling of success, happiness, or relief] hat customers form with the product, service or company.”

According to Constantin, “Branding is to help achieve and maintain a loyal customer base is a cost effective way in order to achieve the highest possible returns on investment.”

Brand creation is more than just giving a name to a product. A brand is essentially a promise that the company makes to customers. It is a promise towards satisfaction of their needs and assuring world-class product and service quality. Three questions “who”, “what” and “why” are very crucial for the successful branding of any product. Marketers should introduce who the product is, what does it do, and why should consumers know about it.


What is Branding – Nature: Target ability, Awareness, Consistency, Distinctive Design and Loyalty

The nature of brand can be explained with the help of the following points:

1. Target ability:

One of the main characteristics of brands is that they must be targetable. That is, business owners must identify the types of customers who are most likely to purchase their brands. No one brand can appeal to the entire market. Hence, companies must focus on narrower segments of the population for greater manageability. Companies often use demographics such as age, income and education as key target elements. Geography, lifestyles and buying patterns are also important.

2. Awareness:

Another characteristic of brand is that it creates awareness. Brand awareness is the percentage of people who are aware of a particular brand. Companies that are well- established usually enjoy the highest levels of brand awareness.

There are many ways to build brand awareness, including television, radio, magazine, newspaper and Internet advertising. Logos also help companies build brand awareness, as people often recognise brands by these symbols or diagrams. The best type of brand awareness is top-of-mind awareness. This is when people think of a particular brand first when asked.

3. Consistency:

Brands must also remain consistent throughout their existence. Business make numerous promises in commercials and ads about their brands, and consumers expect companies to continue living up to these promises. For example, customers may buy a certain cleaner because it’s highly effective in removing grease stains. Hence, it shouldn’t matter if customers buy the brand a month or year later. The product should still be effective in removing grease stains.

4. Distinctive Design:

People make a decision about the company and the brand within a few seconds of initial contact, so first impressions do count. Customers process through their eyes, so design has a keen emotional and memorable impact on the brain. Companies should make sure that the visual branding elements are not only consistent across all media (business card, website, advertising, social media platforms etc.), but they are conveying the message and the feeling they want their brand to evoke.

5. Loyalty:

Brand loyalty is the highest achievement or apex for any company. Brand loyalists are customers who buy a particular brand exclusively. Many consumers prefer using certain brands of clothing, toothpastes. They like how their favourite brands work, or enjoy how certain brands benefit them.

The best way to build brand loyalty is to stay in close contact with customers. Know what features or product characteristics are most important to them. Companies must also ensure that their brands continue to be available in stores to maintain high levels of brand loyalty.


What is Branding – Significance: In Context to Consumers and to Firms

Brands can have the following advantages for different groups as it serves various functions to each of them:

1. Significance of Brands to Consumers:

i. Brands facilitate the identification of products at the point of purchase.

ii. Brands offer a measure of protection to consumers because they usually identify the manufacturer or supplier.

iii. Brands give consumer greater freedom of choice in where they buy the product. For example, Panado tablets will be the same at the same at all pharmacies.

iv. Brands lead to improved products due to competition and continual product differentiation.

v. Brands simplify the purchasing transaction because consumers are familiar with the trademarks.

vi. Brands can serve as a warning against repeat purchase if the first purchase and use of the product proved disappointing.

vii. Brands simplify consumer problem-solving and information processing.

viii. Brands help consumers feel good about their purchases. Brands have social benefits for consumers.

ix. Brands improve consumer value (whether branding brings higher or lower prices, it still ensures value for money).

x. It provide consumers with choice (competition implies a variety from which consumers can make their individual selections to match their needs most closely).

2. Significance of Brands to Firms:

i. Products, and particularly the brands, have to be pre­sold through advertising so that the consumer will recognise and select those products on retailers’ shelves.

ii. Brands facilitate the use of non-price competitive strategies, such as product differentiation, although of course, price competition can never be eliminated completely.

iii. Brand trademarks facilitate product diversification is certain respects. A new product item can, e.g. be added with greater ease to a known product line as compared with one that has trademark.

iv. Strong brands command higher price points and higher margin.

v. Strong brands embody a clear, valued, and sustainable point of difference.

vi. Strong brands offer internal focus and clarity within an organisation.

vii. Brand strength is a lever for attracting the best employees and keeping satisfied employees.

viii. Brands promote competition (consumers gain from brands competing strongly) for their patronage.


What is Branding – Major Functions: Related to Consumers and Related to Manufactures

Functions of brand are as follows:

1. Related to Consumers:

i. Identification of Product Sources:

Brands naturally project the identity of the producer and marketers because they reflect the initiator or creator of the product.

ii. Assignment of Responsibility to Product-Maker:

The consumers are authorised by the brands to allocate the authority to a specific distributor or producer. Above all, brands have a significant impression to win over the consumers.

iii. Risk Reducer:

A buyer may realise several kinds of risks during procuring and utilising products including physical, financial, functional, social, psychological, risk of time wastage, etc. Brands can help to minimise these risks encountered during product decisions. They can be used as an effective risk management instrument by the companies .conducting business, in case these risk have acute consequences in the long-run.

iv. Search Cost Reducer:

The amount of money spent by the consumers on exploring various products is reduced considerably with the help of branding. Brands assist in minimising these costs at the internal level, i.e., in relation to the expectations of the consumers and at the external level, i.e., in terms of exploring the other available options in the market.

v. Promise, Bond or Deal with Maker of Product:

A brand and a consumer share a relation which can be termed as a kind of “bond’ or ‘commitment.’ Consumers being faithful and dedicated towards a brand have an implied perception about the behaviour of the brand. They expect a certain level of performance, appropriate price of the product and suitable promotion and distribution activities to create significant utilities. Consumers will continue to purchase a particular brand as long as they are satisfied and realise the services and benefits provided by that particular brand.

vi. Symbolic Device:

Brand can act as an illustrative mechanism which enables the consumers to present their own personality. Few specific brands indicate different characteristics or values due to their association with particular class or category of people. Consumers by using these brands can convey to the society as a whole or to themselves about the kind or personality they possess or would wish to possess in future.

vii. Signal of Quality:

Brands can act as major contributors towards conveying particular product attribute to consumers.

2. Related to Manufactures:

i. Means of Identification of Simplify Handling or Tracing:

Basically brands carry out the function of recognising which simplifies the task of handling and tracking down products in an organisation. It facilitates inventory management and helps in maintaining accounting records.

ii. Means of Legally Protecting Unique Features:

A company receives security in legitimized way because of brands. The exclusive outlook and characteristics are safeguarded by brands. A brand helps a company to keep possession of its Intellectual Property Rights and also offers legal status to a brand owner.

iii. Signal of Quality Level to Satisfied Customers:

Regular and satisfied customers are prompted to buy the product one more time because of the brands which communicate about the level of quality maintained by the product. This commitment provides the probability and certainty of demand to the company. New entrants or other competitors find it tough to penetrate the market due to the obstructions created by loyalty of customers.

iv. Means of Endowing Products with Unique Associations:

A product is graced with exclusive features or associations or reputation due to branding. Thus, it helps in making the product unique.

v. Source of Competitive Advantage:

Branding acts as a source of competitive advantage. Generally, product designs or production/manufacturing techniques may be copied by the competitors. But, it is not easy to create the same product experience or product positioning in the minds of consumers, which was developed through the branding efforts.

vi. Source of Financial Returns:

The concept to branding may be fruitful in terms of being a potential source of financial returns. Due to this feature, branding largely gets the attention of top management. For example, a major portion of corporate value of a given FMCG company is represented by its intangible assets and goodwill. Rarely, the 10 per cent of the value is represented by tangible assets. Here, branding is responsible for creating around 70 per cent of the intangible assets.


What is Branding – Types: According to Ownership, Market Area, Number of Products and Use

Brands can be classified as follows:

1. According to Ownership:

Here, ownership determines the type of brand.

Based on ownership there are two brands which are as follows:

i. Manufacturer’s Brand – When the name of the manufacturer of the product is used for branding the product, it is called manufacturer’s brand. For example, using name of Samsung for branding its products like smartphones, TV, AC etc.

ii. Middlemen’s Brand – In this type of branding, instead of the manufacturer it is the middlemen whose name is used as brand. The middlemen may be wholesalers, retailers, etc. For example, wholesale stores such as Wal-Mart, Best Price, Metro, etc.

2. According to the Market Area:

Based on target market area there are 5 types of brands.

i. Local Brand – In this, the brands are decided keeping the local markets in mind. Thus, there are different local brands for different markets.

ii. Provincial Brand – In this, the brand name is decided for a particular State or province. Therefore, for a single product, different brand names exist in different provinces.

iii. Regional Brand – In this, the brand name is for a particular region. Different regions will thus have different brand names. The entire country may be divided into regions like North, South, East, West, Central, etc.

iv. National Brand – When a particular product is available with the same brand name throughout the country, it is referred as national brand. The product is only being nationally distributed and marketed. Moreover the national brands are owned and advertised by a manufacturer. National brand also can differ from the local brand or regional brand. In marketing side, this type of brand is more difficult than the local brand. In order to market their product they have to know their consumer very well but it may take a long period of time.

v. International/Global Brand – When a particular product is available with the same brand name throughout the world, it is known as international brand. Nowadays there are many of the global brands that are sold in international markets. For example, Coca Cola, Starbucks, apple, McDonald’s, Sony etc. These brands are selling the similar product in the international market (different countries).

3. According to the Number of Products:

A brand can also be classified on the basis of the number of products it covers.

On this basis brands can be of following three types:

i. Family Brand – When all the products of a company are marketed with the same brand name in different market segments, it is called family brand. For example, the Reliance Group uses its parent name to brand various product lines like Reliance Petro­chemicals, Reliance Communications, Reliance Retail, etc.

ii. Product Line Brand – When a company decides to give different names to different product lines then it follows product line branding. For example, Hindustan Unilever uses this strategy to brand its various product lines like soaps, beverages, detergents, etc.

iii. Individual Brand – When the company uses different names for the products in the same product line, it is called individual branding strategy. For example, different individual brands of soaps are used by HUL like Lifebuoy, Rexona, and Vivel etc.

4. According to Use:

Brands can also be categorised according to use.

This can be as follows:

i. Fighting Brand -These brands are launched in the market with a significant difference from the brands that are already being offered by the competitors of the company. In other words, these brands try to get a distinct positioning in the market vis-a-vis the competition. For example, ITC has launched a cigarette brand names “Now.”

ii. Competitive Brand – Competitive brands on the other hand fight for the same positioning in the market and do not have any significant differences. For example, Rexona, Lux, etc., are all examples of competitive brands.


What is Branding – Process: Brand Relationship, Brand Attitude, Brand Image, Brand Association, Brand Looks and Brand Symbol

Process of branding a product is depicted below:

1. Brand Relationship:

Brand relationship is the ultimate achievement-need of branding. All other aspects (like Brand Positioning) might happen but if this does not happen the job is not complete. Brand relationship happens if ‘image’ and ‘attitude’ for a brand exist. It is the resultant effect of these two aspects of a brand.

2. Brand Attitude:

Brand attitude defines what the brand thinks about the consumer, as per the consumer. A brand may have ‘attitude’ on one or more aspects.

3. Brand Image:

Brand image includes two aspects of brand – its associations and its personality. A brand may have image on one or more aspects.

4. Brand Association:

Brand association includes all that is linked up in memory about the brand. It could be specific to attributes, features, benefits or looks of the brand. A brand may have a range of associations. But the one association that stands out in memory and differentiates it becomes the position of the brand.

A brand may have one or more associations but no position. For a brand to have brand relationship, it should have ‘image’, and for image a brand should have ‘association’. If among its associations, a brand has a ‘position’ it is of great advantage. But if a brand does not have a ‘brand position’ it does not mean that it would not have brand image or brand relationship.

In other words, brand position is not a sufficient condition for brand relationship, but a highly desirable condition.

5. Brand Looks:

Brand looks which have a role to play in forming/ reinforcing brand associations are facilitated by two key properties of a brand – its name and its symbol. While ‘brand name’ is a necessary condition for existence of brand relationship, the same is not true for ‘brand symbol’. However, if the latter exists it helps the process if brand relationship and reinforce it.

6. Brand Symbol:

Brand symbol two visual signals of a brand – it’s ‘character’ (E.g. Amul girl, Pillsbury Doughboy) and its ‘logo’.


What is Branding – Features of a Good Brand Name

The following are the main features of a good brand name:

1. It must be Easy to Pronounce and Remember – For instance, “HOECHST” is difficult to pronounce. On the other hand, “Murphy Baby” and ‘Click’ are fine examples.

2. It should be Short and Sweet – The name must be short yet sweet, appealing to eyes, ears and brain. Mukund and Mukund, Panama, D.C.M., Bombay Dyeing, Bata, Tata, etc., are of such kind.

3. It should Point out Producer – The name or symbol should be given connotation of the product, producer, etc. The best examples are NELCO, MICO, LT. AMUL, B.T. INDAL etc.

4. It should be Legally Protectable – The brand name must lend, themselves for legal protection. A brand name, legally recognised, is known as trade mark. Normally, it depends on the will and discretion of a producer, middlemen than on brand name.

5. It should be Original – The brand name selected must not be general but specific. It must be such that it is not easily copied by others. Hardly does one finds the use of brand “Philips” by imitators. On the other hand, “Glucose” and “Glucose” biscuits are different. There is difference in “Upkar” and “Upchar” Supari. But for a common man, it is more difficult to identify and differentiate.

6. It should Reflect Product Dimensions – A good brand name is one which reflects directly or indirectly some dimensions say product benefit, function, results and so on. For instance EZEE of Godrej Company is really easy to use for better results; another brand GOOD­NIGHT of a mosquito repellant pad implies the user says ‘good­night’ to mosquitoes as he is going have good and sound sleep at least eight-hours. PUMA brand shoes are the symbol of speed as panther is shown.


What is Branding – 3 Main Types of Brand Awareness: Top-of-Mind, Aided Awareness and Strategic Awareness

Brand awareness refers to customers ‘ability to recall and recognize’ the brand under different conditions and link to the brand name, logo, and jingles and so on to certain associations in memory. It consists of both brand recognition and brand recall. There are various levels of brand awareness that require different levels and combinations of brand recognition and recall.

It can be of following three types:

1. Top-of-Mind is the goal of most companies. Top-of-mind awareness occurs when the 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 an adhesive, the common answer is “FEVICOL,” which is a top-of-mind brand.

2. Aided Awareness occurs when a consumer is shown or reads a list of brands, and expresses familiarity with the brand only after they hear or see it as a type of memory aide.

3. Strategic Awareness occurs when the 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 the market. The distinction that sets a product apart from the competition is also known as the Unique Selling Point or USP.


What is Branding – 10 Key Elements briefly Discussed

Brands are made up of following elements, which have been briefly discussed:

1. Logo – is the visual trademark that identifies the brand. Many products are recognized by their logo. For example, ‘a star’ is used as a logo by Bank of India, hence, where ever this red star is seen one can assume that either there is bank branch or the bank ATM.

2. Name – name is the other element of the company. Every business must have a name and two companies cannot have the same name. It is an important element as the name is unique and distinctive to every company.

3. Tagline or Catchphrase – all marketers try to keep a tagline that becomes a symbol of recognition for the product. The more catchy the tagline, more popular it becomes with the consumers. It is more significant when the consumers are children or teenagers. For example “thanda mane coca-cola” tagline was a very good strategy of the company as it tried to associate the cold drink with thirst.

4. Graphics – these are the special visuals used by the company which can be seen and identified from afar. For example the dynamic red coloured M is a trademarked part of Mc Donald’s brand. Even ‘Haldiram’ uses special high name boards and similar entry design to the outlet.

5. Shapes – The distinctive shapes are trademarked elements of a particular brand. For example ‘Apple’ uses the design and shape of an apple fruit from which a bite has been taken.

6. Colours – in visual signs, colours play a very big role. Sometimes a colour becomes the symbol of recognition. Therefore the companies try to choose a bright colour to become easily noticeable by the consumer.

7. Sounds – A unique tune or set of notes can denote a brand. For example-IDEA had kept the song and sound – “you are my pumpkin, pumpkin, you are my honey bunny”, which became very popular tune.

8. Tastes – in hospitality industry, taste is of utmost importance, particularly when it cannot be duplicated. For example, in ‘Panchi Bhujia and Petha’ have maintained the unique taste and Kentucky Fried Chicken has trademarked its special recipe of eleven herbs and spices for fried chicken.

9. Movements – the companies, such as in automobiles business must focus on special movement features which the competitor does not have for example, Lamborghini has trademarked the upward motion of its car doors.

10. Customer relationship management – every business tries to not only woo customers but also tries to retain them by using various CRM techniques.


What is Branding – Examples of Brand Name Styles

Keeping a brand name is as difficult as or even more difficult than keeping your baby’s name. Brand names come in many styles and forms.

A few examples are as follows:

1. Initialism – A name made of initials such, as UPS or IBM

2. Descriptive – Names that describe a product benefit or function

3. Alliteration and rhyme – Names that are fun to say and stick in the mind, such Dunkin’ Donuts

4. Evocative – Names that evoke a relevant vivid image, such as Amazon or Crest

5. Neologisms – These are completely made-up words, Kodak

6. Foreign word – Adoption of a word from another language, such as Volvo or Samsung

7. Founders’ names – Using the names of real people, especially a founder’s name, such as TATA or BIRLA

8. Geography – Many brands are named for regions and landmarks, such as Fuji Film

9. Personification – Many brands take their names from myths, such as Nike


What is Branding – 7 Components of a Comprehensive Brand Strategy

There are seven components of a comprehensive brand strategy that will help keep a company going strong for many years.

1. Consistent policy – Once the key brand attribute has been decided by the marketer, it must remain common in all communications with the customer.

2. Brand must be in sync with the Business Model – It relates to what the customers perceive about the company, and how the company makes the consumers feel about the brand. For example, Apple does not just sell computers and music equipment; it sells well-designed products that are easy to use.

3. Connect emotionally with the buyer – Customers can either think rationally about the product or service, or they can think emotionally about it. Company must find a way to connect to buyers on a deeper emotional level.

4. Cultivate buyers by rewarding – when buyers shower love by being loyal customers, the company must return the gesture by coming out with schemes especially designed to reward such buyers.

5. Measuring results – By staying vigilant, the company can measure whether the branding strategies are aligning well with overall brand strategy.

6. Ensuring Flexible – Marketers must remain flexible to stay relevant.

7. Keeping watch on Competitors – The Company must take the competition as a challenge to improve its own strategy and create greater value in overall brand.


What is Branding – Common Misconceptions and Facts with Respect to Branding

Small businesses often feel that they do not have sufficient budget and knowledge to develop a competitive and effective brand and product strategy. Because of this, they may choose to forgo any brand planning and strategy at all.

For example – A small dress designer who started the business on a small scale started with the “tag line”- “straight from soul” which worked in her favour.

Proper branding can result in higher sales of not only one product, but on other products associated with that brand. For example, if a customer loves Pillsbury biscuits and trusts the brand, he or she is more likely to try other products offered by the company such as chocolate chip cookies.

Brand is the personality that identifies a product, service or company that is name, term, sign, symbol, or design, or combination of them and how it relates to key constituencies such as customers, staff, partners, investors etc.

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.

A brand which is widely known in the marketplace acquires brand recognition. When brand recognition builds up to a point where a brand enjoys 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 such as logos, slogans, and colours. For example, Disney has been successful at branding with their particular script font which it used in the logo for go(dot)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. 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.


What is Branding – Why Modern Companies Emphasize on Building Brands?

Brands are both tangible and intangible assets for an organization.

Modern companies are emphasizing on building brands due to the following reasons:

i. Brands can Generate a Price Premium:

Brands create a price premium because of their goodwill, trust, legacy, reputation, etc. Marketers can charge a price premium on their brands. For example, LVMH, the world’s largest luxury brand (recently acquired Tag Heuer from Swatch), sells its products almost at 20 times the price of the actual manufacturing cost.

ii. Brands Build Trust and Goodwill:

Tata is a brand that has generated a lot of goodwill in the market. They employ several thousand Indians in the various businesses that they run. Their advertisements also talk about the brand being Indian. Like Tata Salt was advertised as ‘Desh ka Namak’.

iii. Successful Brand can Build Itself into Brand Extension:

MTV has successfully extended itself in the mobile market with Mircomax. Also, MTV extended itself in clothes; MTV cool T-shirts sell like hot cakes.

iv. Successful Brand can Also Help in the Relaunch of Other Brands:

One success can also trickle down to other brands. Fiat’s Palio was a success and it also helped in relaunching Siena.

v. A Brand can Create New Target Segments:

A new target segment can be catered as the brand stands for some values and attributes. So, the customers expect the same level of interaction with the brand; we can take the example of Kingfisher it went from Beer to Airline. Thus, Kingfisher has been able to cater to a new consumer profile.

How Companies Build Brands?

Building a brand is pivotal in creating an intangible cover around the organization and business, which creates an aura of trust and hope from the products and services offered. Modern brand management is much more than creating an image, perception and identity for a brand. It is also about delivering value to the stakeholders through all the channels and touch points possible.

Customers pay for a brand for the value that they derive from it, and this value is a major motivator for consumers to be associated with the brand. Brand value creates loyalty, sense of belonging and association.


What is Branding – Role of Brand Names

Brand names came to create identity to distinguish one product from another. Identifying is essential to competition because, without means of identification there is no way of making a choice except by happen stance. Brand names not only facilitate choice but they spur to a responsible action.

Following points pin down its precise role:

1. Brand is a Massive Asset:

Brand is considered as a major intangible asset because all the physical assets such as plant, equipment, inventory, building, stocks and bounds can be duplicated or copied very easily, however, it is almost impossible to duplicate brand name. It has been proved, as there are many case where the firms have gone to hell still brand remained high in the sky.

2. Brand is a Promotional Tool:

Sales promotion is founded on the idea of product identification or product differentiation. This difference is done by a brand. Major weapon of product popularization is advertising. And it is futile to advertise a product without a brand name. Even the work of salesman would be a failure in absence of a brand name. Thus, branding plays a highly creative role in determining the success or failure of a product.

3. Brand is a Weapon to Protect Market:

Once a consumer has tried and like a product the brand enables him to identify so well that he is tempted to levy it again. For instance, a house wife using VIM cleaning powder may not use other powders like BIZ, ODOPIC etc., as she is soaked in with VIM. That is, the product earns goodwill. In other words, absence of brand name will make repeated purchases stand still.

4. Brand is Antidote for Middlemen’s Survival:

If a product wins consumer reputation, the manufacturers gain control over product distribution. The class of middlemen always tends to go in for a successful brand. That is, without brand identification, these middlemen find it difficult as to what to buy and sell. In fact, brand names can be so strong and penetrating that the very survival of middlemen rests on their efforts and ability to self a powerful branded product.

5. Brand is a Means of Identification for Customers:

Brand is the easiest way of identifying product or service that a customer likes. For him brand is value, quality, personality, prestige and image. A branded product is a distinct product in his eyes. Thus Philips bulbs are regardless of where they are bought. Again, branded products tend to have improvement in quality over the years. It is naturally out of competition. Thus, Aspro tablet of 1960 was different from micro fined of 1970s.


What is Branding – Advantages of Branding in India

In a developing country like India, thousands of brands are registered under the prevalent legislation. Branding is important in India where products of widely differing qualities are entering the retail market. Till consumer confidence is not established, branding has special significance in our market—as a means of identification.

The following are the typical advantages of branding:

(1) Separate Status:

The brands of Soap, such as Sunlight, Hamam, Lux, Pears, Moti indicate their own individual distinctive characteristics. The article is the same, viz., soap, but each brand has a separate status, creates different impressions upon consumers. The consumer at once understands all about the quality and price when he reads the advertisements of the brands. Therefore, branding facilitates the manufacturer to isolate his product from those of others and then to make it popular in the market. Branded products enjoy individuality or separate existence.

(2) Helps Publicity:

It enables producers to publicise the product or the name of the organisation with great ease. Once the brand is established and gets reputation in the market, only moderate advertising becomes sufficient to retain the memory of the product in the minds of consumers.

(3) Special Market:

A manufacturer can create a special demand for his brand through intensive advertisement. Once the branded product is sufficiently publicised producers can stand the competition in the market with great strength as customers prefer a particular brand only.

(4) Pre-Sold Goods:

National publicity of branded product is very easy. A branded article is willingly stocked by the retailers as their advertising expenses on that product are reduced on account of the fact that the branded article gets sufficient publicity by the manufacturer’s own advertising campaign.

(5) Quality Assurance:

Once a branded article is established in the market, the manufacturer has to remain alert in maintaining its quality so that preference of the public for that brand may not dimi­nish in future.

(6) Control over Prices:

Manufacturer can directly control the price of the article, as in the case of a branded product, it is he who has to fix the retail selling price and print them on the packages.

(7) Easy Identity:

Consumers can easily identify the branded product and protect themselves from getting inferior types of products. A branded product can be easily distinguished from its rivals.

(8) Cheating Impossible:

As the retail price of the branded product is fixed by the manufacturer, consumers cannot be cheated at the hands of the retailers. The retail price must be printed on each package.

(9) Consumers’ Confidence:

Consumers pin their faith on the branded articles as they are certain that the manufacturer has tacitly undertaken the responsibility in regard to its quality through his own trade-name or mark.

Trade Name:

It is the name of business. It points out the identity of the manufacturer, e.g., Tata’s, Godrej. When a trade name is registered as a trade mark it becomes a registered brand and serves three purposes; 1. Identity of producer, 2. Identity of his product, and 3. Legal protection. When a trade name acts as an unregistered brand it cannot have legal protection.

Patent/Copyright:

An invention, a new idea, a new process can be registered as a patent under the legislation so that the author of the patent has exclusive rights to use it for a certain period. Similarly, in the case of books, an author can have a patent in the form of copyright for his life time and for 50 years after his death.


What is Branding – Major Limitations of Brand: Cost, Higher Prices, Low Profit Margin, Brand Monopoly and Impersonal

Limitations associated with brand are as follows:

1. Cost:

If anyone wishes to create and maintain a strong brand presence, it can involve a lot of design and marketing costs. A strong brand is memorable, but people still need to be exposed to it, this often requires a lot of advertising over a long period of time, which can be very costly. There are also costs involved with the creating of a brand image or logo (paying for a designer, printing new letterheads/business cards, etc.).

2. Higher Prices:

Usually, customers have to pay high prices for branded products compared to unbranded products. The higher price is explained by the additional production costs and marketing expenditures incurred by the supplier in developing and supporting the brand.

3. Low Profit Margin:

Branded goods give low profit margin to the dealers. When the customers are highly loyal to a brand, the firm enjoys a supremacy over the dealers and they will be forced to deal at a profit margin decided by the firm.

4. Brand Monopoly:

Branding may lead to brand monopoly which is not a desirable situation in a market. A monopoly brand can exercise control over the demand for the products. It can also charge undue price for the product.

5. Impersonal:

One of the main problems with many branded businesses is that they lose their personal image. The ability to deal on a personal basis with customers is one of the biggest advantages small business have, and poorly designed branding could give customers the impression that the business is losing its personal touch.


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