Branding as a discipline has come about in the West only in the fifties. Branding came to India and entered into the business lexicon quite recently. Branding has come to mean a logo to most people. Branding is much more than a logo. Creating a brand is a process and if done well, can be monetised which means, a brand has financial value. The large business houses are brand savvy. However it is small and medium sized enterprises remain confused about it. ‘Branding karna hai’, which means the logo should be visible everywhere.
A brand is visually symbolised by its logo. That is why the logo is so important. Without a visual symbol we would have been unable to identify a product or a company.
What is branding
A brand is a name, symbol and all sensory and unique perceptual associations, personality, thoughts and goodwill that resides within us. All these elements are created and strategised so that it results in the brand image that we have in our minds.
The word ‘brand’ comes from the Old Norse word ‘brandr’ which means to burn or sear. Originally branding was merely used for identification by a symbol or a family name. For instance a mark or symbol used to be seared on the cattle’s backside to identify them when they roamed the vast countryside. Liquor makers had their family names and a symbol to differentiate their produce from others. Royal families had a coat of arms or a crest and used it on flags which during wars,was a means of identification. It was much like a company today that uses a logo.
During the industrial revolution, mass production was possible. Many manufacturers made packaged products and the need to differentiate was critical. Competition among the consumer goods gave rise to branding. They had to deliver much more than just the product, something more than the tangible elements. These intangible elements were communicated through advertising. That is why advertising is crucial to brand building.
Some of the earliest known brands are Coca Cola, Quaker Oats, Kelloggs, Cadburys. There was Ivory, Pears and Lux.
P & G was the first company to give a designation of brand manager. Neil McElroy was the first to introduce the concept of brand management through his famous 3 page memo for ‘brand men’.