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Brand Conscious

March 5, 2017

The ultimate recognition when Bill Dedman said -Brand names are well known to business school professors, but only one professor is a brand name herself. Call her Professor Oprah. There can be no greater appreciation when one’s own name becomes a brand in itself and it is accepted globally. Even our fictitious “Gabbar Singh” is a brand representing a certain quality of person, albeit stereotypical.

Some brands come out to be very powerful as Sara Blakely puts it, It’s the power of the brand. We’ve never formally advertised. I don’t know if you are familiar with this snippet, Half a circle, full a circle, half a circle A. Half a circle, full a circle, right angle A. We, as kids in the late 60s used this as a brainteaser to confuse our friends, the answer to which was. This is the power of the brand when it becomes a part of everyday life.

Look at the truth behind the following:

*How many of us use the term “photocopy”? We mostly use “Xerox”.

*Do we say “search the Net”? No. we say “Google it”.

*Seldom do we say “petroleum jelly”. We always say “Vaseline” which is a trademark of Unilever.

*”Walkman” is a Sony brand. The generic name is “Personal stereo”.

*We say “Ziploc” and not “Zipper storage bag”.

There are numerous such examples, many of which would surprise you such as, Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid), Bikini (two-piece swimwear), Cellophane (transparent regenerated cellulose sheets), Dry ice (solid form of carbon dioxide), Escalator (moving staircase), Kerosene (combustible hydrocarbon liquid) and Thermos (vacuum flask).

What is a brand? As defined in BusinessDictionary.com Unique design, sign, symbol, words, or a combination of these, employed in creating an image that identifies a product and differentiates it from its competitors. Over time, this image becomes associated with a level of credibility, quality, and satisfaction in the consumer’s mind. Thus brands help harried consumers in crowded and complex marketplace, by standing for certain benefits and value. Legal name for a brand is trademark and, when it identifies or represents a firm, it is called a brand name.In other words, a brand goes beyond a mere name or a logo or icon. It is a promise to your customers of a certain kind of product or service. A brand combines several elements which include logo, words, type font, design, colors, personality, price, service, etc. You should also look at the attributes of your product/service and incorporate them into your brand. When you think of SONY you immediately get the picture of top quality consumer electronics and BENZ reminds you of best in class German engineering in automobiles.

*Your brand is your public identity, what you’re trusted for. And for your brand to endure, it has to be tested, redefined, managed, and expanded as markets evolve. Brands either learn or disappear. Lisa Gansky

Why do you need a brand? Every company needs a brand including startups. With the short attention span of customers in today’s environment, standard advertisements do not register. When you watch TV how many commercials do you view or remember? Maybe, only the radically unconventional ones or those related to well known brands and there too you may not remember the actual advertisement.

What goes into the making of a brand? The creation of a brand is a complex and time consuming but extremely crucial activity. Here, let me show you some of the elements and their impact:

*Name: This is not just a word or a set of words. “Apple” or “Idea” is not just a word; they provide a feeling, a promise. In the case of Apple the promise is of quality and exclusivity. In the case of Idea it is technology reaching out to the common masses.

*Logo: This is the visual representation that identifies the brand. The LIC logo of a pair of hands holding a lamp symbolizes to secure/protect the light of life.

*Signature phrase: A very important component for any brand. We all know “The Taste of India” is associated with AMUL (Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd).

*Graphics: The graphical design (shape, color, font, etc.) of the entire brand including the logo. Air India has mascot in the “Maharaja” as well as a logo.The Centaur that has now been replaced by a red colored flying swan with the “Konark Chakra” in orange, placed inside it. The design and color combination on each aircraft also contribute to the brand.

*Shapes: The distinctive radiator grill of the Rolls Royce automobile is never changed across its numerous models.

*Sounds: Tunes and musical notes add to the experience. The chimes of Microsoft Windows, Mozart’s 25th Symphony used for Titan watches.

There are other elements such as scent and taste that can also go into making of your brand. Companies have even used the services of linguists to help create their brands.

“People need patience. It takes time to build a brand.” Carmen Busquets

Achieving a level where your brand becomes a part of daily jargon can take years and may or may not signify something good for you. For some of these brands the owner companies have completely dominated the market and they continue to reap the benefits. For most, however, the owner company has faded into oblivion while the brand lives on.

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