What is a Brand?

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What I thought a brand was and what a brand actually is...

Branding is a topic that is often discussed as part of marketing and many of the concepts of branding are lost within marketing strategies.. So what is a brand? During the last class we explored what a Brand is, and how a business might manage a brand to maximise their value in the eyes of a customer.

What is a brand?

Throughout the class we discussed the different words often associated with branding and many of the common things we agreed on were identity, shorthand, an image and assurance of quality. Many of us agreed that it was important to have a logo or identifier to differentiate from other brands. Adding to this we learnt that a brand will often have a set of values or personality traits which indicate who the a company might be targeting with their products.

"A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sellers"

American Marketing Association

What this means is that, a brand above all else is a way for consumers to figure out companies they can associate with based on the unique features of a brand.

One example would be to look at cars, although any car can drive you from one location to another, some consumers are likely to only drive Toyotas or only drive Volkswagens because they have a perception that one brand is better than the other. In the case of cars this would be down to reliability of the product, costs of owning the product and how it makes the owners of the car feel compared to owning a different car.

"Branding is endowing products and services with the power of a brand"

Kotler & Keller, 2015

Kotler and Keller’s quote tells us that “Branding a product” is adding value to the product in the sense that products will then be able to differentiate from competitors by being unique. One example we discussed in class were food products such as baked beans. Many companies have baked beans cooked and tinned in the same factory but labelled differently. The product is therefor a commodity that has been turned into a brand.

A Brand is a product which has a meaning attached to it. Whilst a commodity is a product with no meaning.

Brand position is about “designing the company’s offering and image to occupy a distinctive place in the mind of the target market.” What this means is figuring out where your product or service sits in a marketplace and how to appropriately brand the products for this.

As an example, it wouldn’t make sense for Tesco’s to label their “finest” products in plain packaging, instead the quality of packaging and logos associated with the products are done in a way which attracts customers who want a slightly higher quality selection.

In class we then looked at branding ourselves for the future. We looked into jobs we might want to take on or aspirations and how a brand might help us realise these goals.

For me this is a difficult question. I have so many skills across so many fields, from audio production to web design, IT services to video editing, all digital or print media involved, I would be able to at least meet the basic needs. In a way I see myself as a jack of all trades and I wanted to use this as part of my brand. I love card games, and I am a bit of a nerd so wanted to use this as well. Growing up in and around London having this represented would also be important for me. I came up with the strapline ‘Shad of all Trades’ and created the below poster to show off my own self.

Although I initially thought about branding myself for a specific sector, after feedback and discussion in class I found that I’d much rather think about fitting myself into any role and bring my skills with me to add value to wherever I go. At the moment in my current job I bought with me web design experience which was previously not part of my company. It opened up the possibility for me to work on a professional website project for a company rather than for private clients. I learnt that, my brand is really about versatility and being able to fit in anywhere I go. Hopefully this will continue to be the case as I move forward, as it allows me to experience many different creative sectors even if the job itself is not creative.

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