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A brand is the sum of all the associations, feelings, attitudes and perceptions that people have related to the tangible and intangible characteristics of a company, product or service.
The American Marketing Association defines ‘brand’ as “a name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sellers…A brand may identify one item, a family of items, or all items of that seller.” But the meaning of brand extends to intangible aspects as well, such as associations, feelings and experiences. Philip Kotler, one of the world’s foremost experts on branding offers this definition:
A brand is a complex symbol that can convey up to six levels of meaning:
The extent to which a brand can convince the customer that they provide more meaningful tangible and intangible benefits than competing brands determines the overall strength of the brand.
Brands are important to companies because stronger brands are able to command and sustain higher margins than weaker brands. Brand strength is judged by many measures, including ‘substitution’, the likelihood that the customer will purchase another brand if their brand is not available, price premium, awareness, etc.
Brand positioning strategies attempt to shape the associations, experiences, feelings, attitudes and perceptions that people have about a brand so that they not only view the brand positively, but see the brand as a solution to a specific need, want or ‘pain point’ that they may have.
The completed brand positioning strategy is used as a guideline to determine how the brand is represented, i.e., in logos, taglines, names, colors, products, services, distribution channels, communications channels, messaging, etc.
Philip Kotler Source: Marketing Management, Eleventh Edition, 2003, Prentice Hall
The meaning of 'brand' within the context of online data reporting:
When used to refer to online content or publishers the term 'brand' can have a slightly different meaning. Most likely it refers to a collection of online branded content across a collection of websites that display a consistent, shared brand identity. In this instance, most syndicated research services will count the websites as a single brand for reporting of statistics and other data. A website can only exist under one brand at a time.
Source: Nielsen Online
store brand, private label
point of difference
frame of reference
reason to believe
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