A brand is a label, word, symbol, design or any attribute that identifies one product or service as distinctly different from those of all other similar sellers. Branding is the process by which companies associate their brands with their products and services and the ways in which these brands are perceived by customers. Some of the critical aspects in the determination of a brand are its uniqueness, its acceptance and its significance to the customer. However, a brand is established on many different criteria. These include the way in which a product or a service matches up with the customer’s expectations and capabilities and how that brand is perceived by the market. A brand helps in defining and promoting the company’s image and hence its success and profitability.
A brand can be consciously created for a particular purpose and can be adapted over time to fit a variety of situations. The creation of a brand strategy can help a company define its unique selling proposition and provide it with an enduring value. Creating a brand strategy helps you identify your target audience and build a targeted loyalty base by positioning your brand image firmly on relevant experiences, events and locations. A brand offers a unique offering that cannot be found anywhere else. It is the reason why some brands command more loyalty than others.
Branding allows customers to make purchasing decisions based on a promise that the brand keeps to its promises. A brand also provides customers with a feeling of reliability and an air of prestige. A brand is not just a logo, slogan or tagline. It is about establishing an individual relationship with a customer that creates trust, respect and loyalty. A brand builds a strong foundation on emotional and intangible factors such as performance, quality, service and reputation. It builds a positive perception about the brand and its ability to deliver.
A crucial brand characteristic is vitality. Brand vitality ensures that a brand gets its attention and stays long in the mind of a consumer. For a brand to be considered vital, it needs to be relevant, interesting and compelling. Volatile competition can sometimes work in favor of brands that manage to remain relevant and interesting. In tough competition, however, it is the critical brand characteristic that determines whether a brand can sustain its position and continue to help the company generate profit.
Many businesses believe that defining their core values and defining marketing objectives are sufficient to set a brand course. However, core values and marketing objectives are no longer enough for a brand name to establish itself as one of the most important in a consumer’s mind. A key strength of brands is their ability to differentiate themselves from the competition. As consumers become familiar with a brand name they associate it with a specific experience or occasion. The experience that consumers have with a brand name becomes associated with the brand and its values.
A key characteristic of a strong brand name is uniqueness. Consumers expect and demand something that is uniquely theirs. This means that a brand name has to have an identity that sets it apart from the competition. Branding identity is also the critical factor that ensures a brand’s survival in the long run. Branding experts agree that a brand name can be timeless, but if it lacks relevancy and provides no advantage over the competition it will not survive.