Understanding Brand - What is a Brand ?

Brands are different from products in a way that brands are “what the consumers buy”, while products are “what concern/companies make”. Brand is an accumulation of emotional and functional associations. Brand is a promise that the product will perform as per customer’s expectations. It shapes customer’s expectations about the product. Brands usually have a trademark which protects them from use by others. A brand gives particular information about the organization, good or service, differentiating it from others in marketplace. Brand carries an assurance about the characteristics that make the product or service unique. A strong brand is a means of making people aware of what the company represents and what are it’s offerings.

To a consumer, brand means and signifies:

  • Source of product
  • Delegating responsibility to the manufacturer of product
  • Lower risk
  • Less search cost
  • Quality symbol
  • Deal or pact with the product manufacturer
  • Symbolic device

Brands simplify consumers purchase decision. Over a period of time, consumers discover the brands which satisfy their need. If the consumers recognize a particular brand and have knowledge about it, they make quick purchase decision and save lot of time. Also, they save search costs for product. Consumers remain committed and loyal to a brand as long as they believe and have an implicit understanding that the brand will continue meeting their expectations and perform in the desired manner consistently. As long as the consumers get benefits and satisfaction from consumption of the product, they will more likely continue to buy that brand. Brands also play a crucial role in signifying certain product features to consumers.

To a seller, brand means and signifies:

  • Basis of competitive advantage
  • Way of bestowing products with unique associations
  • Way of identification to easy handling
  • Way of legal protection of products’ unique traits/features
  • Sign of quality to satisfied customer
  • Means of financial returns

A brand, in short, can be defined as a seller’s promise to provide consistently a unique set of characteristics, advantages, and services to the buyers/consumers. It is a name, term, sign, symbol or a combination of all these planned to differentiate the goods/services of one seller or group of sellers from those of competitors. Some examples of well known brands are Mc Donald’s’, Mercedes-Benz, Sony, Coca Cola, Kingfisher, etc.

A brand connects the four crucial elements of an enterprise- customers, employees, management and shareholders. Brand is nothing but an assortment of memories in customers mind. Brand represents values, ideas and even personality. It is a set of functional, emotional and rational associations and benefits which have occupied target market’s mind. Associations are nothing but the images and symbols associated with the brand or brand benefits, such as, The Nike Swoosh, The Nokia sound, etc. Benefits are the basis for purchase decision.


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