The term brand refers to a business and marketing concept that helps people identify a particular company, product, or individual. Brands are intangible, which means you can’t actually touch or see them. As such, they help shape people’s perceptions of companies, their products, or individuals. Brands commonly use identifying markers to help create brand identities within the marketplace. They provide enormous value to the company or individual, giving them a competitive edge over others in the same industry. As such, many entities seek legal protection for their brands by obtaining trademarks.
- A brand is an intangible marketing or business concept that helps people identify a company, product, or individual.
- People often confuse brands with things like logos, slogans, or other recognizable marks, which are marketing tools that help promote goods and services.
- Brands are considered to be among a company’s most important and valuable assets.
- Companies can protect their brands by registering trademarks.
- Types of brands include corporate, personal, product, and service brands.
As mentioned above, a brand is an intangible asset that helps people identify a specific company and its products. This is especially true when companies need to set themselves apart from others who provide similar products on the market, including generic brands. Advil is a common brand of ibuprofen, which the company uses to distinguish itself from generic forms of the drug available in drugstores. This is referred to as brand equity.
People often confuse logos, slogans, or other recognizable marks owned by companies with their brands. While these terms are often used interchangeably, they are distinct. The former are marketing tools that companies often use to promote and market their products and services. When used together, these tools create a brand identity. Successful marketing can help keep a company’s brand front and center in people’s minds. This can spell the difference between someone choosing your brand over your competitor’s.
A brand is considered to be one of the most valuable and important assets for a company. In fact, many companies are often referred to by their brand, which means they are often inseparable, becoming one and the same. Coca-Cola is a great example, where the popular soft drink became synonymous with the company itself. This means it carries a tremendous monetary value, affecting both the bottom line and, for public companies, shareholder value
This is why it’s important for companies to protect their brands from a legal standpoint. Trademarks identify exclusive ownership over a brand and/or product, along with any associated marketing tools. Registering trademarks prevent others from using your products or services without obtaining your permission.
Brands aren’t just for corporate use. In fact, they are now also commonly used by individuals, especially in the age of reality television and social media. For instance, the Kardashian family developed value in its brand after gaining popularity from the reality show. The family has, collectively and as individuals, used its name to successfully launch media and modeling careers, spinoff shows, cosmetics, perfumes, and clothing lines.
History of Brands
Brands have long been used to set products apart over the course of history. The idea of branding may go as far back as 2000 B.C., where merchants used it to sell their wares in different markets. At that time, it was commonly used as a technique to denote ownership of a product or a piece of property.2
Branding has been used throughout the ages. In the 13th century, Italians began putting watermarks on their paper as a form of branding. The term brand also refers to the unique marks burned into the hides of cattle to distinguish the animals of one owner from those of another.3
But one of the most popular uses was in rural America. You’ve probably heard of the term branding, which was used by cattle ranchers, who used to brand their livestock as a form of identification. Brands started taking off after companies started packaging their goods in the 19th century to distinguish themselves from other companies.3
Types of Brands
The type of brand used depends on the particular entity using it. The following are some of the most common forms of brands:
- Corporate Brands: Corporate branding is a way for companies to market themselves in order to give themselves an edge against their competition. They make a series of important decisions in order to accomplish this, such as pricing, mission, target market, and values.
- Personal Brands: As mentioned above, branding isn’t just for companies anymore. People use tools like social media to build their own personas, thereby boosting their brands. This includes regular social media posts, sharing images and videos, and conducting meet-and-greets.
- Product Brands: This type of branding, which is also known as merchandise branding, involves marketing one particular product. Branding a product requires market research and choosing the proper target market.
- Service Brands: This kind of branding applies to services, which often requires some creativity, as you can’t actually show services in a physical way. 4
Creating a Brand
When a company settles on a brand to be its public image, it must first determine its brand identity, or how it wants to be viewed. For instance, a company logo often incorporates a company’s message, slogan, or product. The goal is to make the brand memorable and appealing to the consumer.
The company usually consults a design firm, team, or logo design software to come up with ideas for the visual aspects of a brand, such as a logo or a symbol. A successful brand accurately portrays the message or feeling the company wants to get across. This results in brand awareness, or the recognition of the brand’s existence and what it offers. On the other hand, an ineffective brand often results from miscommunication.
Once a brand has created positive sentiment among its target audience, the firm is said to have built brand equity. Some firms with brand equity and very recognizable product brands include Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Ferrari, Apple, and Meta (formerly Facebook).
If done right, a brand results in an increase in sales not just for the specific product being sold, but also for other products sold by the same company. A good brand engenders trust in the consumer, and, after having a good experience with one product, the consumer is more likely to try another product related to the same brand. As noted above, this phenomenon is often referred to as brand loyalty.