What’s In A Brand?
Pamela Accetta Smith
(847) 405-4069
In marketing, according to an article on www.wikipedia.org, the free online encyclopedia, a brand is the symbolic embodiment of all the information connected with a product or service.
A brand typically includes a name, logo and other visual elements such as images, fonts, color schemes or symbols. It also encompasses a set of expectations associated with a product or service which typically arise in the minds of people. Such people, the article continues, include employees of the brand owner, people involved with distribution, sale or supply of the product or service, and ultimately consumers.
In other contexts, the term “brand” may be used where the legal term “trademark” is more appropriate.
Some marketers distinguish the psychological aspect of a brand from the experiential aspect. This aspect, the article says, consists of the sum of all points of contact with the brand and is known as the brand experience. The psychological aspect, sometimes referred to as the brand image, is a symbolic construct created within the minds of people and consists of all the information and expectations associated with a product or service.
This sounds serious. But then again, it is.
To me, a brand should evoke a feeling, one of security, confidence and taste. So in a sense, a brand carries a promise that a certain product has a specific quality that makes it special.
For example, when I think Kraft, I think mac and cheese, or grilled cheese and tomato soup on a rainy day. When I was a kid, these items were happiness mainstays. And they still are today, because I believe in the brand.
Therefore, according to Wikipedia, a brand image may be developed by attributing a “personality” to or associating an “image” with a product or service, whereby the personality or image is “branded” into the consciousness of consumers.
A brand is, therefore, one of the most valuable elements in an advertising theme, as it demonstrates what the brand owner is able to offer in the marketplace. Branding truly is an art.
Business Week magazine publishes an annual “brand scorecard” of the top 100 most valuable brands worldwide. Some results from the 2005 survey contained 53 American, 37 European, seven Japanese and three South Korean brands.
Examples of well-known brand names in the United States included American Express, Apple, Citi, Coca-Cola, Disney, Ford Motor Co., GE, Gillette, Google, Heinz, IBM, Intel, KFC, Levi’s, Marlboro, McDonald’s, Microsoft, Nike, Pepsi, Starbucks and Harley Davidson.
Kraft ranked 69th. Not bad, but dairy could use more exposure! How about the rest of you in this month’s feature on the category brand leaders?
One day, more of you will make the list. Guaranteed.
For more brand stats, browse http: //en.wikipedia.org/wiki/brand.  
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