The 1980s marked a turning point in the competition of brands. Management came to ralise that the principlal asset of a company was in fact its brand names. The brand is not the product but it gives the product meaning and defines its identity in both time and space.
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Too often brands are examined through their component parts: the brand name, its logo, design or packaging, advertising or sponsorship, the level of image and brand awareness or, more recently, in terms of financial valuation. The brand is a focal point for all the positive and negative impressions created by buyer over time as he comes into contact with the brand’s products, distribution channel, personnel and communication. The brand continues to be, at least in short term, a byword for quality even after the patent has expired. The brand performs an economic function in the mind of consumer and thus has a lasting and memorable effect on the company’s activities, be it as distributor or owner of the brand. Legally a brand is simply a symbol which distinguishes a company’s product and certifies its origin and thus only obtains its value through registration and conformity. In order to understand in what way a strong brand is a generator of growth and profitability, it is first necessary to remind ourselves of the fnctions that it performs with the consumers themselves, and which are the source of this valuable goodwill. Once these functions are valued, the consumer seeks out the brands and becomes attached, indeed loyal, to them and, in accordance with the valuation, is often prepared to pay more for the branded product. On the other hand, when these functions are either not fulfilled or not valued by the public, the attraction of the branded product decreases and its premium price becomes unacceptable. Branding means much more than just giving a brand name and signaling to the outside world that such a product or service has been stamped with the mark and imprint of an organization. Brands are a direct consequence of the strategy of market segmentation and product differentiation. It is no wonder that the word “brand” also refers to the act of burning a mark into the flesh of an animal as a means to claim ownership of it. Branding though, is not about being on top of something, but within something. The product or service thus enriched must stand out well if it is to be spotted by the potential buyer and if the company wants to reap the benefits of its strategy before being copied by others. The brand should have its own specific point of view on the product category.
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