When people say brand, the brands that come to mind straight away would be Coca-Cola, Nike or even Versace. The dictionary defines a brand as ‘a kind or variety of something distinguished by some distinctive characteristic’. However, in marketing terms it is defined as ‘a name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of these, intended to identify the goods or services of one seller or group of sellers of a product or service’ (Kotler, Brown, Adam, Burton, Armstrong, 2007). A brand can be defined in many ways, and there are several characteristics that make up a strong brand. Furthermore, strong brands have strong brand loyalty and the importance a strong brand is shown when brands expand their products. Moreover, brand strategy is important for a strong brand to exist, and consumers can convey an image of themselves when they buy. All these factors show how a strong brand is important in the eyes of the consumer. Getting back to ‘what is a brand? There are different views of the definition of a brand than Kotler’s. For example, another definition of a brand is that it is ‘a mixture of tangible and intangible attributes, symbolised in a trademark, which, if properly managed, creates influence and generates value’ (Clifton and Maughan, 2000). This definition describes brands in a broader perspective and it further considers manageable qualities of a brand, which Kotler’s definition does not. Since manageable qualities of a brand are in all strong organisations, people must consider this. A brand is much more than just a logo, such as McDonald’s golden arches or Nike’s ‘swoosh’ symbol, it also includes what the brand represents. In these cases, McDonald’s represent quality food made quickly, and Nike represents high quality shoes. Furthermore, there are three characteristics shared by the strongest brands, ‘clarity, consistency and leadership’ (Melewar, Sambrook, 2004, p167). Clarity is a ‘clear and distinct vision of their brand’s identity’ (Melewar, Sambrook, 2004, p168). For example, Ferrari represents a clear identity, which means that their cars represent what the brand is about, which is high performance sport cars. Strong brands also are consistent in what they produce, for example Porsche produces expensive sport cars consistently, but until recently they have produced a four-wheel drive, which has been ‘inconsistent with Porsche’s traditional sporty image’ (Melewar, Sambrook, 2004, p169). Leadership is what also makes up a strong brand, it is a ‘brand’s ability to lead and exceed expectations, that is to ake people into new territories and new areas of product, service, technology and even social philosophy at the right time’ (Melewar, Sambrook, 2004, p169). All these characteristics is what makes up a brand, and distinguishes the strong brands from the weaker ones.
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