Brands and Brand Names
Brand is a unique and identifiable trade name given to a product or a service. A brand includes a name, logo and visual elements like symbols or images.Today there more than 5,00,000 brands registered globally with the respective regulatory organisations st -up in different countries.Brands help the owners produce a customer realization and loyalty to the product or services offered. Brand help create goodwill in the market. Brand ogten act as guides in making buying decisions in the crowd of consumables.
The usage of brands has been in practice form ancient times. For instance, in past times potters and silversmiths marked the wares with their name or initials to prove ownership and people used use singular design in the skin of livestock. Branding evolved as a advanced marketing tool from the second half of the nineteenth century as the induction of modern communication systems, industrial revolution and faster and improved modes of transport made brand advertising task easier and spread over larger regions. The manufacturers now had access to the national markets as a result many brand names were born that achieved legendary success to name few were Procter and Gamble, Kraft, Heinz, Coca-Cola, Kodak, and Sears. India with its own strategies had Nirma, Lifeboy, Dalda as upcoming local brands.Today in modern day advertising and marketing brand name and brand building is a vital ingredient of company's marketing strategy.
Brand - The Concept
A brand along with it attaches an intangible agreement in between a consumer and the company slling the service or a product with a particular brand name.
A consumer who prefers a particular brand basically agrees to select that brand over others based primarily on the brand's reputation. The consumer may stray from the brand occasionally because of price, accessibility, or other factors, but some degree of allegiance will exist until a different brand gains acceptance by, and then preference with, the buyer. Until that time, however, the consumer will reward the brand owner with dollars, almost assuring future cash flows to the company. The buyer may even pay a higher price for the goods or services because of his commitment, or passive agreement, to buy the brand.
In return for his brand loyalty, the company essentially assures the buyer that the product will confer the benefits associated with, and expected from, the brand. Those numerous benefits may be both explicit and subtle. For example, the buyer of a Mercedes-Benz automobile may expect extremely high quality, durability, and performance. But he will also likely expect to receive emotional benefits related to public perception of his wealth or social status. If Mercedes licenses its nameplate to a manufacturer of cheap economy cars or supplies an automobile that begins deteriorating after only a few years, the buyer will probably feel that the agreement has been breached. The value of the brand, Mercedes-Benz, will be reduced in the mind of that buyer and possibly others who become aware of the breach.
There are two major categories of brands - manufacturer and dealer. Manufacturer brands, such as Ford, are owned by the producer or service provider. The best-known of these brands are held by large corporations that sell multiple products or services affiliated with the brand. Dealer brands, like Die-Hard batteries, are usually owned by a middleman, such as a wholesaler or retailer. These brand names often are applied to the products of smaller manufacturers that make a distribution arrangement with the middleman rather than trying to establish a brand of their own. Manufacturers or service providers may sell their offerings under their own brands, a dealer brand, or as a combination of the two types, which is called a mixed brand. Under the latter arrangement, part of the goods are sold under the manufacturer's brand and part are sold under the dealer brand.
Selecting Brand Names
Brand names are very important for small businesses, as they provide potential customers with information about the product and help them form an immediate impression about the company. A well-chosen brand name can set a small business's product apart from those of competitors and communicate a message regarding the firm's marketing position or corporate personality. When preparing to enter a market with a product or service, an entrepreneur must decide whether to establish a brand and, if so, what name to use.
Experts claim that successful branding is most likely when the product is easy to identify, provides the best value for the price, is widely available, and has strong enough demand to make the branding effort profitable. Branding is also recommended in situations where obtaining favorable display space or locations on store shelves will significantly influence sales of the product. Finally, a successful branding effort requires economies of scale, meaning that costs should decrease and profits should increase as more units of the product are made.
After deciding to establish a brand, a small business faces the task of selecting a brand name. An entrepreneur might decide to consult an advertising agency, design house, or marketing firm that specializes in naming, or to come up with a name on their own. A good brand name should be short and simple; easy to spell, pronounce, and remember; pronounceable in only one way; suggestive of the product's benefits; adaptable to packaging and labeling needs or to any advertising medium; not offensive or negative; not likely to become dated and legally available for use.
In order to create a brand name for a product without the help of experts, a small business owner should begin by examining names already in use in the market and evaluating their effectiveness. The next step is to identify three to five attributes that make the product special and should help influence buyers to choose it over the competition. It may also be helpful to identify three to five company personality traits-such as friendly, innovative, or economical-that customers might appreciate in relation to the product. Then the small business owner should make a list of all the words and phrases that come to mind for each attribute or personality trait that has been identified. If the brand name is to include the type of product or service being offered, it is important to consider whether the phrases on the list fit well with these terms. The next step is to think about how the phrases on the list would look on a sign or on a product package, including possible visual images and typefaces that could be used to enhance their appearance.
Next, the entrepreneur should narrow down the list with the help of a few friends. It may be helpful to say the possible names aloud, thinking about how they would sound if they were used by a receptionist answering a telephone or by a customer requesting a product from a store. It is also important to consider whether the names will stand the test of time as the business grows, or whether they include an in-joke that may become dated. Once the list has been narrowed down to between ten and fifteen candidates, then the possibilities should be tested for impact on at least thirty strangers, perhaps through a focus group or survey. The opinions of people who may be potential customers should be given the most weight.
Finally, once the top few choices have been identified, the entrepreneur can find out whether they are available for use-or are already being used by another business-by conducting a trademark search. This search can be performed by advertising or marketing firms, or by some attorneys, for a fee. Alternatively, the small business owner can simply send in a formal request for a trademark and wait to see whether it is approved. The request must be sent to the state patent and trademark office, and also to the federal office if the business will be conducting interstate commerce. In order for a trademark to be approved, it must be available and distinctive, and it must depart from a mere description of the product.
In order to benefit from the consumer relationship allowed by branding, a company must painstakingly strive to earn brand loyalty. The company must gain name recognition for its product, get the consumer to actually try its brand, and then convince him that the brand is acceptable. Only after those triumphs can the company hope to secure some degree of preference for its brand. Indeed, name awareness is the most critical factor in achieving success. Companies may spend vast sums of money and effort just to attain recognition of a new brand. To penetrate a market with established brands, moreover, they may resort to giving a branded product away for free just to get people to try it. Even if the product outperforms its competitors, however, consumers may adhere to their traditional buying patterns simply because of their comfort with those competitive products.
An easier way to quickly establish a brand is to be the first company to offer a product or service. But there are also simpler methods of penetrating existing niches, namely product line extension and brand franchise extension. Product line extension entails the use of an established brand name on a new, related product. For example, the Wonder Bread name could be applied to a whole-wheat bread to penetrate that market. Brand franchise extension refers to the application of an old brand to a completely new product line. For example, Coca-Cola could elect to apply its name to a line of candy products. One of the risks of brand and product extensions is that the name will be diluted or damaged by the new product.
Besides offering ways to enter new markets, product line and brand franchise extension are two ways in which a company can capitalize on a brand's "equity," or its intangible value. Three major uses of brand equity include family branding, individual branding, and combination branding. Family branding entails using a brand for an entire product mix. The Kraft brand, for example, is used on a large number of dairy products and other food items. Individual branding occurs when the name is applied to a single product, such as Budweiser beer. Combination branding means that individual brand names are associated with a company name. For example, General Motors markets a variety of brands associated with the GM name.
Brand extension enjoyed a great deal of popularity during the late 1990s. As product development and advertising costs increased, many companies sought to leverage the equity in their existing brands rather than attempting to launch new brands. In fact, a 1998 Ernst and Young study showed that 78 percent of product launches in that year were line extensions. But businesses must be careful not to go too far with line extensions, at the risk of damaging their brand name or diluting its meaning in the eyes of customers.
Once a company establishes brand loyalty, it must constantly work to maintain its presence with consistent quality and competitive responses to new market entrants and existing competitors. The science of sustaining and increasing brand loyalty and maximizing brand equity is called "brand management." Large companies often hire brand managers whose sole purpose is to foster and promote an individual brand. In many ways, the job of a brand manager in a large company is similar to that of an entrepreneur who seeks to enter and maintain a presence in a market with a branded product or service.
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