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What is a Brand
A Brand is defined as “A name, design, symbol, sign, term, or combination of them, proposed to recognize, the services and goods of group of sellers or one seller, and to distinguish them from competition”. Thus, the brand identifies the seller and under the trademark laws, the seller is guaranteed exclusive rights to the use of the brand name and logo in perpetuity.
So, technically, when a marketer has created an identification consisting of the name, symbol, logo, and slogan, he has created a brand. However, that is not what brands are really about; brands have several levels of meanings.
At the first level, is a badge of origin, as it identifies the seller.
Next, it is a set of attributes that must translate into valued benefits for its target customers. A brand is a promise of performance that is unique, of value to the customer and sets it apart from its competitors.
The next level is the brand essence, which represents the deeper motivations and goals that the customer is trying to satisfy. These goals and motivation are abstract or intangible. These goals are expressed through the emotional and expressive benefits that brands provide their customer.
Finally, the brand is a set of beliefs and values of the company or seller, the culture in which the brand is rooted and its unique personality.
If you visualize the above, brands seem exactly like humans. Powerful, long lasting brands are created when a marketer can tap into all the different levels and dimensions of the brand and not merely by naming a product. Strong brands are those that create competitive advantage through product performance and product related means.
At last, a brand is something that dwells in the minds of customers. There are differences between brands and products. A product represents the physical or functional solution offered to a set of target customer. A Brand is all of this and more; it is an implicit promise to the customer of a certain performance.
Brands perform important functions, which are advantageous to both consumers and companies. For consumers brands serve as an identification of a product, reduces the risk in decisions, act as symbolic device. For companies, brands are a legal protection of their marketing investment and the source of profitability. Anything can be branded; whenever a customer is in a situation of choice, there is an opportunity to brand.