Functions of Branding

Branding Meaning, Definition, Elements, Functions

Branding Meaning

In marketing, a brand is the symbolic embodiment of all the information associated with a product or service. A brand typically includes a name, logo, design and other visual elements such as images, colour schemes, fonts, or symbols. Branding is important for any business to be successful, as it sets the tone for how a company is perceived by its target audience.

It also encompasses the set of expectations associated with a product or service which typically arise in people’s minds. Such people include employees of the brand owner, people involved with the sale, distribution, or supply of the product or service, and ultimately consumers.

Branding Definition

According to American Marketing Association, “Brand is a name, term, sign, symbol, or design, or a combination of them which is intended to identify the goods or services of one seller or a group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of competitors”.

The term ‘branding’ refers to the entire process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product (good or service) in the consumers’ minds, through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme.

Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers It is like naming a family member. Parents have children and manufacturers have children; i.e., products. As parents, the manufacturers are also eager to know the character and capacity of their products at their birth, but not on their names.

Thus, branding is a process of management by which a product is named, i.e., brand.

Branding helps buyers in many ways. Brand names help consumers to identify products that may benefit them. Brands also tell the buyer about product quality. Buyers who always buy products of the same brand know that they will get the same features, benefits, and quality each time they buy. Branding also gives the seller several advantages.

The brand name becomes the basis on which a complete story can be built about a product’s special qualities. The seller’s brand name and trademark give legal protection for unique product features that otherwise might be copied by competitors. Branding also helps the seller segment markets.

Branding Elements

Brand elements sometimes named brand identities, are those trademarkable devices that serve to identify and differentiate the brand. The main brand elements are: 

1) Brand Names: A brand name distinguishes one product from another. A unique brand name is the first step to developing a trustworthy and profitable brand. 

2) URLs: URLs (Uniform Resource Locators) are used to specify locations of pages on the web, and are also commonly referred to as domain names. 

3) Logos/Trademarks: Logos are symbols that represent something. It is usually a product, company, or brand. Logos help the company to register a particular image in someone’s mind about the company.

4) Characters: Characters represent a special type of brand symbol one that takes on human or real-life characteristics. To be successful, all brands need to elicit the proper emotional response from their target audience.

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5) Slogans: Brand identity is something all companies worry about. One way companies are trying to attract and retain consumers’ attention is through memorable corporate slogans. A few well-known examples of these slogans include:

I) Coca-Cola’s:- “Open Happiness”, and

ii) Domino’s Pizza:- “Hungry Kya?” 

6) Jingles: Jingles are musical messages written about the brand. Some key famous jingles from renowned brands are given below: 

i) Amul:- “Utterly Butterly Delicious”

ii) Cadbury Diary Milk:- “Kya Baat Zindagi Ki”.

7) Packaging: Packaging involves the activities of designing and producing wrappers or containers for a product. Packaging is the sub-part of the packing function of marketing.

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Functions of Branding

1) To Consumers 

i) Identification of Source of Product: Brands identify the source or maker of the product and automatically send the identity of the manufacturer and marketers. 

ii) Assignment of Responsibility to Product-maker: Brand allows consumers to assign responsibility to a particular manufacturer or distributor. Most important brands have a special meaning to consumers. 

iii) Risk Reducer: Brands can decrease the risks in product decisions. Consumers may perceive many different types of risks in buying and consuming a product such as functional, physical, financial social, psychological, and time risks. Thus, brands can be a necessary risk-handling device, especially in business-to-business settings where these risks can sometimes have quite profound implications.

iv) Search Cost Reducer: Brands permit consumers to lower search costs for products both internally (in terms of how much they have to think) and externally (in terms of how much they have to look around).

v) Promise, Deal, or Bond with Product Maker: The relationship between a brand and the consumer can be seen as a type of deal or bond. Consumers offer their trust and loyalty with the implicit understanding that the brand will behave in certain ways and provide them utility through consistent product performance, appropriate pricing, promotion, distribution programs, and actions. To the extent that consumers realise advantages and benefits from purchasing the brand, and as long as they derive satisfaction from product consumption, they are likely to continue to buy it.

vi) Symbolic Device: Brands can serve as symbolic devices, allowing consumers to protect their self-image. Certain brands are associated with being used by certain types of people and thus reflect different values or traits: Consuming such products is a means by which consumers can communicate to others or even to themselves the type of person they are or would like to be future.

vii) Signal of Quality: Brands can also play a significant role in signalling certain product characteristics to consumers. Researchers have classified products and their associated benefits or attributes into three major categories: 

a) Search Goods: With the search for goods, product attributes can be evaluated by visual inspection (eg. the sturdiness, colour, weight, size, style, and ingredient composition of a product). 

b) Experience Goods: With experience goods, product attributes – potentially equally important cannot be assessed so easily by inspection, and actual product trial and experience are necessary (eg, with durability, service quality, safety, and the case of handling or use).

c) Credence Goods: With credence goods, product attributes may be rarely learned (e.g. insurance coverage). Because of the difficulty in assessing, and interpreting product attributes and benefits with experience and credence goods, brands may be particularly important signals of quality and other factors to consumers for these types of products.

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2) To Manufacturers

i) Means of Identification to Simplify Handling or Tracing: Fundamentally, they serve an identification purpose to simplify product handling or tracing for the firm. Operationally, brands help to organise accounting records and inventory.

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ii) Means of Legally Protecting Unique Features: A brand also offers companies legal protection for unique features or aspects of the product. A brand can retain intellectual property rights by giving legal title to the brand owner. 

iii) Signal of Quality Level to Satisfied Customers: Brands can signal a certain level of quality so that satisfied buyers can easily choose the product again. This brand loyalty provides predictability and security of demand for the company and creates barriers to entry that make it difficult for other companies to enter the market.

iv) Means of Endowing Products with Unique Associations: Investments in the brand can give a product with unique associations and meanings that differentiate it from other products. 

v) Source of Competitive Advantage: Although manufacturing processes and product designs may be easily duplicated, lasting impressions in the minds of individuals and Organisations from years of marketing activity and product experience may not be so easily reproduced.

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Functions of Branding

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