Brands are different from products in a way that brands are “what the consumers buy”, while products are “what concern/companies make”. A brand is an accumulation of emotional and functional associations. The brand is a promise that the product will perform as per customer’s expectations. It shapes customer’s expectations about the product. Brands usually have a trademark which protects them from use by others. A brand gives particular information about the organization, good or service, differentiating it from others in the marketplace. The brand carries an assurance about the characteristics that make the product or service unique. A strong brand is a means of making people aware of what the company represents and what are its offerings.
To a consumer, brand means and signifies:
Source of product
Delegating responsibility to the manufacturer of a product
Less search cost
Deal or pact with the product manufacturer
Brands simplify consumers purchase decision. Over a period of time, consumers discover the brands which satisfy their need. If the consumers recognize a particular brand and have knowledge about it, they make a quick purchase decision and save a lot of time. Also, they save search costs for the product. Consumers remain committed and loyal to a brand as long as they believe and have an implicit understanding that the brand will continue meeting their expectations and perform in the desired manner consistently. As long as the consumers get benefits and satisfaction from consumption of the product, they will more likely continue to buy that brand. Brands also play a crucial role in signifying certain product features to consumers.
To a seller, brand means and signifies:
The basis of competitive advantage
A way of bestowing products with unique associations
A way of identification to easy handling
A way of legal protection of products’ unique traits/features
Sign of quality to satisfied customer
Means of financial returns
A brand, in short, can be defined as a seller’s promise to provide consistently a unique set of characteristics, advantages, and services to the buyers/consumers. It is a name, term, sign, symbol or a combination of all these planned to differentiate the goods/services of one seller or group of sellers from those of competitors. Some examples of well-known brands are Mc Donald’s’, Mercedes-Benz, Sony, Coca-Cola, Kingfisher, etc.
A brand connects the four crucial elements of an enterprise- customers, employees, management, and shareholders. A brand is nothing but an assortment of memories in the customer’s mind. The brand represents values, ideas, and even personality. It is a set of functional, emotional and rational associations and benefits which have occupied target market’s mind. Associations are nothing but the images and symbols associated with the brand or brand benefits, such as The Nike Swoosh, The Nokia sound, etc. Benefits are the basis for a purchase decision.
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