Updated: Sep 19
“A brand is a voice and a product is a souvenir.” – Lisa Gansky
Branding has been around for a couple of centuries as a means to distinguish the goods of one producer to another. It all started when farmers in Norway started to burn signs on their cattle which was termed as "brandr" ("to burn").
According to the American Marketing Association (AMA), a brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers. Whenever a business creates a new name, logo, or symbol for a new product, it has created a brand.
There is a lot more to define a brand than just creating logos or giving fancy names. The aim of any brand in the world is to create a long term business value proposition for its stakeholders and deliver the promised product or services to its customers consistently. Therefore we can say that a brand's job is to create awareness, reputation, prominence, and ultimately wealth to its stakeholders in the market place.
The Brand is more than a Product
A product (and service) is anything an individual or a company can offer to a market for attention, acquisition, use or consumption that might satisfy the need or wants of consumers. Thus a product may be a physical good like a laptop, mobile phone, shoes, or service like Insurance, banks, telecom subscription, etc.
But why consumers prefer products of the different brands with almost the same feature list. Take for example the hottest selling products - Mobile Phones. There are many similar Mobile phones with almost the same camera, processor, screen, and storage specifications, however, consumers at different levels are ready to pay for different prices. The difference here is the brand behind those mobile phones.
Harvard's Ted Levitt has argued that "the new competition is not between what companies produce in the factories but between what they add to their factory output in the form of packaging, services, advertising, customer advice, financing, delivery arrangements, warehousing and other things that people value.
A brand is therefore more than a product because it can have dimensions that differentiate it in some way from other products designed to satisfy the same need. The differences may be rational and tangible - related to product performance of the brand - or more symbolic, emotional, and intangible - related to what the brand represents.
And this quote from Jay Baer will have all your doubts cleared:
"Branding is the art of aligning what you want people to think about your company with what people actually do think about your company. And vice-versa".
Every brand has a story to tell, a promise to make, and a status to offer. What's holding you back from creating the most exclusive brand in your business segment? A carefully designed learning course in Strategic Brand Management is all you need to come out of the shell. Learn the strategies that can get you ahead of the competition and establish your brand as a segment leader.
Source: Strategic Brand Management by Kevin Lane Keller
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