A branded product is a specific name, symbol, description, design or any other characteristic that labels one seller’s product as different from those of other vendors. It is usually distinguished by quality, size, shape, color, material, or any other characteristic unique to only that particular brand. The distinguishing factor should be something that customers can recognize and come to expect from the product and have an emotional attachment to. It is this attachment that makes branded merchandise stand out in the crowded marketplace. For example, if you were buying shoes, the branded ones would be obvious at first sight and you would be more likely to buy them because they were designed by the best designers in the market.
Branding can be emotional or rational. Emotional branding occurs when people are moved by some characteristic of a product or service and consider it to be more important than others. They are the ones who feel that they need the thing more, and cannot find a replacement for it. However, this does not apply to all branded products. Other people may label products as branded because they have a rational reason for doing so: the product is superior and more useful than the alternative, and therefore, it will attract customers to buy it.
A brand developed around a business person, for example, might receive a bit of a punishment on the forehead. This punishment is called “the stare”. A businessman could brand his product as classy, upscale, globally competitive, etc… but the point here is that the brand does not have to be able to back up these claims. It might just be a smart business decision to sell cheap knockoffs of the branded item.
Another popular form of branding is that of “the hot iron”. Hot irons are used by women to severely spruce their hair. The act of sprucing up ones hair in this way has a lot of emotional impact. The customer can imagine a beautiful, perfect woman, and will want to buy her products. It makes sense to brand sprigs of hair spray or shampoo as “hot iron spruces”, so that people will associate the spruces with a certain event in life: a birthday, vacation, wedding, or holiday.
Some people brand themselves as “slaves” – an insulting term for non-believers. When they are being interviewed by a news organisation, or when they are giving a deposition in court, they will sometimes refer to themselves as “slaves”. For this reason, it might be more appropriate to brand self-help books, motivational speakers, etc… as “self-help books branded as slaves”. If they are in business for themselves, there is nothing wrong with saying that they are “masters” too. This is especially true if they are running a franchise – branding can be seen as a way of attracting customers.
There are two main questions here: why would anybody want to brand themselves as “a slave”, and why would anyone want to brand themselves as “a master”? To answer the second question, let’s assume that there is no reason at all to brand yourself as such. That’s right; there is no reason to brand yourself as anything other than yourself! Branding is a way of defining yourself as apart from everyone else, so that you stand out above the crowd. In the case of running a franchise, this may translate into free merchandise, free services, etc… once your brand gets going and people start to realise that you are a leader, they are likely to follow you!