A branded item is a recognizable name, symbol, design, or characteristic that identifies one product or service as different from those of others. Brand names are usually trademarks of a company or organisation that can be registered in the European Convention for the Protection of Industrial Designs, Designspecifies, Patent and Trademark Office, which are enforced by the EU Communities. The protection of trademarks helps the end user to distinguish between the various products and services. It is necessary to protect trade names so as to avoid competition and extend the market to consumers. Branded goods can also be protected by patents.
The process of developing and marketing branded goods is complex and requires several activities. The objective of branded merchandise is to create awareness, build loyalty and create a recognizable brand image. There are a variety of strategies to achieve these goals and each has different merits and demerits. Below is a list of strategies that may be applied for a successful branding:
Event Brands – An event brand is an item or gift associated with a specific event such as an anniversary, conference, sports occasion, launch or exhibition. The benefits associated with event brands are high visibility, recognition, value for money and the ability to establish a signature on any occasion. Event brands are usually developed by an outside agency and branded products should be consistent with the agency’s marketing approach. Some of the common event brands include: event-themed wrist watches, mugs, pens, key-chains, tote bags, promotional laptop bags and t-shirts. These products are normally made available at pre-arranged events.
Branded Content Marketing – The concept of branded content marketing includes an advertising campaign that combines traditional advertising methods, such as print and broadcast media, along with Internet marketing techniques such as web banners, social media marketing, e-newsletters, blogs and product placement in websites. Developed on a global scale, branded content uses a particular brand’s or individual company’s name or logo to generate interest, leading to increased sales. Benefits of brand-based content marketing include: higher return of investment, avoidance of brand name repetition and brand differentiation and, unlike advertising, it generates significant revenue from the outset. Some of the common uses of branded content include: SEO content, which optimise web pages and can drive increased online traffic to a website; article marketing, which utilise articles written by specialists and submitted to article directories and web directories; video marketing, which can be used for viral effects and brand visibility; podcasting, which allows the sharing of audio and video content with targeted recipients; and presence / presence promotions, which encourage consumers to visit a business’s website in order to gain more information about services and products.
Headset branding – A technique where a branded USB headset is hidden in a common item such as a mouse or used on a desk in order to discreetly deliver a company message. Branded handbag branding is increasingly popular in Western culture. Branded jewellery such as designer watches, eyewear and wallets are all branded items. A branded watch can be “punished” by being constantly exposed to the wind in order to make it lose its clarity and become blunt, whilst a branded handbag can be “punished” by being placed in a purse or pocket, which is saturated in perfume.
Non-branded search engine optimization (SEO) techniques include using keyphrases and domains that are not branded. Many companies opt for this approach as non-branded keywords tend to be much cheaper to buy than branded keywords. SEO experts who specialise in this field employ tools and tactics to identify high-quality, low competition and branded keywords. They then purchase domains and sub-domains for their clients that have the appropriate keywords in mind. These methods, while cost effective, do not allow for as much branding as SEO strategies that utilise branded keywords or domains.