According to the American Marketing Association, a brand is a “name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers”. Besides being a name, a brand may also be a symbol (The Coca-Cola Company), motto (Nike), color combination (Tiffany & Co.), and even a sound (NBC).
To distinguish between brand names or characteristics and the brand or branding process, brand is best defined by two of the eight parts of speech.
Brand is mostly used as a noun because it literally translates to the name of a person, place or thing. If a person, place or thing does not have a memorable name or other identifying characteristics, differentiation is limited as is consumer awareness and, subsequently, sales.
When used with an object, brand is also a verb. Although branding usually begins with a name or image, it continues with lights, cameras, and a whole lot of action!
History Repeating Itself
The original purpose for branding was to verify ownership. Ranchers used a hot iron to stamp or seal an image on cattle. Later, the process was transferred to packaged goods, furniture, clothing, and, unfortunately, people.
Although “people brands” are now more popular than livestock and other products, the branding process is relatively the same. Instead of using a hot iron to make an imprint or lasting impression, retailers now use a collection of experiences highlighted by brand characteristics.
Through repetition, a brand is “sealed” on consumer’s minds via the five senses.
By defining brand as a verb and a noun, value and resources are realized. How can brands convince consumers to engage then exchange value (cash, check or charge) in the marketplace?
Create a compelling name with equally compelling sights, sounds, scents, tastes, and touches. Seek not for an “aha” in your business, but an “ahh” from your customers.
How can brands brand successfully? Marketing via mass media and memorable methods will reinforce a brand.