Notes on Branding

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Branding
We have mentioned brands periodically throughout this chapter. But what is a brand? A brand is a name, picture, design, or symbol, or combination of those items, used by a seller to identify its offerings and to differentiate them from competitors’ offerings. Branding is the set of activities designed to create a brand and position it in the minds of consumers. Did you know that The Beatles started a recording studio called Apple? When Apple Computer (the iPod company) was formed, Apple Corp., Ltd. (the Beatles’ recording studio), sued Apple Computer because two companies with the same name can create confusion among consumers. This wasn’t much of a problem when Apple was only selling computers, but following the release of the iPod and launch of Apple’s iTunes program, a case could be made that the companies’ offerings are similar enough for consumers to confuse the two companies and their products. In fact, it wasn’t until very recently that the lawsuit over the name was settled, some thirty years after the initial lawsuit was filed. Nonetheless, the situation signifies how important brand names are to the companies that own them. A successful branding strategy is one that accomplishes what Coke and Apple have done—it creates consumer recognition of what the brand (signified by its name, picture, design, symbol, and so forth) means. Consequently, when marketing professionals are considering whether a potential new offering fits a company’s image, they are very concerned about whether the offering supports the organization’s brand and position in the mind of the consumer. A brand name, like Apple, is the spoken part of a brand’s identity. A brand mark is the symbol, such as Coke’s wave or Apple Computer’s multicolor apple (not to be confused with Apple Records’ green apple), associated with a brand. Brand names and brand marks are important to companies because consumers use them to make choices. That’s why it was important to sort out the Apple brand....
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