Brands and Branding

What is a Brand?

The names Tata, Nokia, Google and many others are one of the biggest brands in the world. So what really is the name Tata or Google is? Is it just a name or more than that?

I define Brand as ‘a network of experience’. Let us understand brands with the example of Google. If I ask you to write a phrase that describes Google, most people would say innovation, technology, cutting-edge research, great brains, great technology, information to the world etc.

Take a moment and think why we say those phrases.

  1. Because we experience the innovation of Google.
  2. Because we hear people experiencing the innovation of Google.
  3. Because we hear the aspirations of Google
  4. Because we see such brains at Google
  5. Because Google says so

and some other reasons.

If you observe carefully, what we said is what we experienced. A brand is an experience, in fact, it is the perception derived out of the experience. Suppose you used a Tata car for some years and your experience is as follows:

Experience: The car gives good mileage and requires minimum maintenance.

Perception: You automatically create a perception that Tata cars require less maintenance and have great mileage. Wrong!! You will actually think ‘Tata’ gives great mileage and requires less maintenance. This is the trick, what we experience is not exactly what we perceive. Why?

When we experience the car, we realize this is something good for us. When we see the name on the steering or anywhere on the car we see ‘Tata’. So whatever good experience we had, we immediately map it to the name ‘Tata’ because that is what we see.

The brand ‘Tata’ is created!!

The qualities of a product are perceived to be the qualities of the name present on the product. Simply, people perceive the qualities of the product to be the qualities of the brand name. Why? Because that is the only way they can distinguish between the products. Later, any product coming out of that brand, we associate the qualities of the brand to the product. It is:

Product Qualities à Brand Qualitiesà New Product Qualities

So remember that brand is a perception. Perception is the result of something. Perception cannot be created but can be influenced.

A brand is what your product is, how your product behaves, the experience of everything, the perception of the product, etc. So, marketers use all these techniques to influence your perception of the brand.

Creating a brand is all about creating a unique experience, which is also called differentiation. Remember this differentiation need not only come from the product, but from any experience.

So when people perceive Woodland shoes to be tough, people perceive Woodland to be tough. So marketers will look for category opportunities where this perception can be leveraged like leather bags, etc.

Once you have a perception. You may

–          Look for opportunities to leverage this perception (Woodland example, Tropicana as breakfast)

–          Change the perception into something else

–          Strengthen the perception and grow into areas which strengthens the brand perception

–          Come out of the perception totally

–          Leverage the perception across other categories and to enter new markets

So, the perception may be the country of origin of the brand, the visuals used, qualities and almost everything of everything can be used to perceive. So, all these are elements present in brands and branding.

Remember every business action results in a perception, and perception creates your brand. Branding is pretty much the affect and how you influence/manage the affect by using the parameters of perception.

This is the brief introduction about Brands and Branding. Thank you

Brand Positioning and Product Positioning

Brand Positioning is the perception of the brand, and Product positioning is the perception of the product. Your product positioning may or may not influence a change in the brand positioning. Example: Tata Nano is the product and Tata is the brand. The perception of the brand ‘Tata’ changes due to the launch of the product Tata Nano. Similarly, Tropicana positioned as a breakfast drink. Here we are trying to change the perception of the usage of Tropicana (banking on the health perception of the drink) which is a product positioning. There is no change in the brand positioning, however, the brand will be more seen in the household and there will be some affect of this product positioning on the brand.

Similarly, sometimes a change in brand positioning is required and is achieved by new product launches and price modelling etc. Example Van Heusen wants to be seen as a youthful brand, so it launches or comes up with promotions in that line to influence the perception of the consumer.