Brand & Branding

Key Definitions


A name, term, phrase, design, symbol, or any combination of these chosen by an individual or organization to distinguish a product from competing products.

In simpler terms, anything that differentiates Product A from Product B.

Brand Name

The portion of a brand that can be expressed verbally, including letters, words or numbers.

Brand Mark

The portion of a brand that cannot be expressed verbally, such as a graphic design or symbol.


A unique symbol that represents a specific firm or organization, or a brand name written in a distinctive type style.

Trade Name

The business name under which an organization operates.


A brand or portion of a brand that is legally registered with the government for exclusive use by the owner of the brand.

Service Mark

A trademark that represents a service rather than a tangible good.

Brand Equity

The overall strength of a brand in the marketplace and its value to the company that owns it.  Composed of;

  1. Brand loyalty
  2. Brand awareness
  3. Perceived quality
  4. Brand associations
  5. Other proprietary brand assets

Brand Loyalty

The level of commitment that customers feel toward a given brand, as represented by their continuing purchase of that brand.  Primary benefit is that it provides insurance against significant market share loss when a new competitor appears on the scene.

Victory in the race for brand loyalty can be assured by;

  • Swift management response both to the press and to the marketplace
  • The ability to create a perception of quality
  • Maximized spending on marketing

Brand Awareness

A measure of the percentage of target market that is ware of a brand name.

Perceived Quality

Comes from:

  • Actual facts and experiences
  • Company’s reputation
  • Word of mouth
  • Media coverage
  • Other indirect sources of information

Brand Associations

Perceptions and images that people link with particular brands.

The Value of Branding

A brand is often an organization’s most valuable asset because;

  • It provides customers with a way of recognizing and specifying a particular product.
  • Enables marketers to develop specific images and interrelated marketing strategies for a particular product.
  • It can command a premium price in the market.
  • It is often the only element of a product that competitors can’t copy.

Forms of Brands

Manufacturer Brand

A brand that is designated, owned, and used by the manufacturer of the product.  These are often referred to as National Brands.

Private Brand

A brand that is designated, owned, and used by a wholesaler or retailer.  Also referred to as a Store Brand. Private brands now account for 1/3rd of all supermarket sales in France and Great Britain.

Generic Brand

A nonbranded product that is identified only by its product category.

Key Branding Issues

a) Brand Selection

Brand name is key to a product’s personality.

b) Brand Protection

By using it or by legally registering it.

c) Brand Extension Vs. Individual Branding

  Brand Extension

Assigning an existing brand name to a new product in the same product line or in a different product line.

   Family Brand

A brand assigned to an entire line of product lines.

   Individual Brand

A separate brand assigned to an individual product item within a product line.

d) Packaging & Labeling Suggestions

  • Avoid trying to look trendy: Fads fade, but good designs last for years.
  • State the product’s benefit in simple terms: 2 or 3 major selling points.
  • Keep it clean: Visual clutter reflects indecision.  Simplicity reflects confidence.
  • Be consistent: Repeat the design on every communication tool.


Brand Types & Roles

Brand is what differentiates product A from product B.

All brands are one of 3 basic types:

  1. Single Product Brand: Used for only one product. ABSOLUT Vodka, Coca-Cola
  2. Umbrella Brand: Spans offerings across number of categories. Nestle, Knorr, Wall’s
  3. Sub-Brand: Used under an umbrella. Walkman, Mach 3

Brands also play either of 2 roles:

  1. Signature Role: Used in a simple endorsement role. Nestle Cerelac, Cadbury’s Dairy Milk
  2. Driver Role: Drives consumer purchase & usage. Nestle Yogurt, Knorr Noodles

Family Branding Vs. Umbrella Branding

Family Branding: When there is no sub-brand used under the main (read UMBRELLA) brand, and the brand covers / shelters more than one product categories.

Umbrella Branding: When there is a sub-brand used under the main brand, and the brand covers / shelters more than one product categories.  There is usually a separate sub-brand for each category being covered by the umbrella brand.

Uses of Brands

Identification Purpose: Arbitrary combination of letters (Neologism). Works well.  KODAK, EXXON

Positioning Purpose: Letters which already have meaning. HOLIDAY INN, MILK PAK

Purpose Defines Approach

  • Long-term position in market – Use A
  • Less Money – Use B
  • Image enhancement – Use B
  • Market sensitivity – Research A and B options

Other Considerations

A brand should be;

  • Easy to pronounce, spell and remember.
  • Product characteristics should come forth.
  • Should be sensitive to market segments.

Process of Selection:

  1. Discussions with intended users.
  2. Discussions with phonetic experts.
  3. Brainstorm or use computers to generate combinations.
  4. Screen the list.
  5. When under 10, do legal check on availability.
  6. Finalize one from 2 or 3.

Current Practice in the FMCG

Major Consumer products companies throughout the world are rationalizing their brand portfolios by;

  • Consolidating all their smaller brands under umbrellas of larger, similar category brands
  • Capitalizing on efficiencies obtained by carrying fewer primary brands for their organizations


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