“It is better to be first in the mind than to be first in the marketplace. Marketing is not a battle of products; it’s a battle of perceptions” ~Al Ries & Jack Trout
The word brand originally referred to the mark burned onto livestock to set the animal apart as being the property of a particular owner. It this instance it provides a unique identifier, often in the form of a symbol, that protects the rights of the property owner. On some ranches and farms this form of branding still occurs but the marketing profession has effectively hijacked the term and made it their own.
Early marketers used the word brand in much the same way as the livestock owner –referring merely to the trademark, logo or slogan associated with the product. Nowadays brand is a lot harder to define. It is more intrinsic than extrinsic, and its value is in the position it holds in the consumers mind rather than the physical attributes of the product.
Although today’s brand is intangible, just like the livestock of earlier days, it is an asset and can have great value, contributing to the overall worth of the company that owns it. Marketing managers who invest in developing their brand, create and build customer loyalty. This in turn creates demand and allows for higher margins – exactly what most producers are looking for.
Customers like brands because they believe they know what to expect from them. It makes choice easier and the consumer feels knowledgeable and more secure. This is particularly important in complex buying scenarios. [read more – Branding by Jane Delorie – 111K – PDF]