Branding – The Price You Pay For High Performance
A branded product is a specific name, symbol, phrase or design, regardless of the source, that identifies one seller’s goods or services as distinctly different from those of others. For example, a Ford car is distinctive because of its Ford name and logo, which are the distinctive marks of a Ford company. Brand names are generally unique but sometimes overlap with trademarks and trade names. A good example is an individual who, for one reason or another, uses a pen bearing his name or the logo of a particular company, but does not use the mark to promote the product or services.
The term “branding” first came into use in the early twentieth century and is now used in a more modern sense. It is sometimes used in conjunction with the concept of “citation needed”. A famous quotation by American entrepreneur Clayton Christensen sums up this approach to branding: “Just remember that what you do today may be forgotten tomorrow.” This quote illustrates the value of branding to business, since a company needs to continuously innovate and progress to remain competitive and successful. In fact, any good business strategy will include a ” Citation Needed” component; if a product or service is not distinctive or “newsworthy”, it will lose the advantage of being branded.
Two main components of branding are co-ordination and punishment. Co-ordination refers to the act of creating a logo, slogan, colour scheme or look that is in harmony with the business’s products or services, and with the consumer’s perception of these products or services. The brand may be strongly associated with a single aspect (e.g. the Ford logo), or it may encompass multiple aspects (e.g. the blue of Ford with the black of combustion engine).
Punishment is the deterrent of someone doing something undesirable. For example, the branded image of McDonald’s can’t be used to encourage people to eat at their local McDonald’s. Instead, a different message needs to be conveyed, such as “You can’t have the original McDonald’s taste without spending an extra $5.00”. Brands have very specific punishment associated with them, often including a financial burden (e.g.
Branding creates symbols which are associated with certain behaviours and/or attitudes, and these can then be used to control people. A branded image acts as a virtual yardstick by which one can measure the worth of a person, their actions or achievements, and their capacity for success. If a slave has committed a crime against his/her master, then a symbol branded on the slave’s forehead means that the slave is guilty. If a man has killed another man for instance, then a skull with a tag marked “Murderer” can be seen on the forehead of a person considered to be a murderer. Thus, branding creates symbols which motivate people to perform better and be more productive.
Another application of branding is in education. For example, branded text on textbooks helps students to read better, while teachers can use these same books to remind their students about the content they have learnt. Likewise, a teacher branding an “A” for “acyclical” would thus create motivation within his students to study and prepare for exams. Thus, branding comes into force as the price you pay for a higher performance.