Professional Studies for Screen-Based Media
Foundation Degree South West

Definition of Branding


There are a large number of definitions of branding. For example:

  • "A maker of a sign pointing something outÓ (Lury 1998)
  • "All aspects of a product/service plus the area surrounding itÓ (Ellwood 2002)
  • "A bundle of benefits as perceived by the customerÓ (Kapferer 1997)
  • "Signs and symbols that differentiate one offering from another, hopefully in a positive wayÓ (Van Auken 2002)

Although these are all a little different they do have some things in common.

1. Brands have to be easily recognisable
2. Brands signal (communicate) much to the consumer
3. Brands help consumers make choices by pointing out the differences between Product A and Product B

Brands work hard by achieving a lot in a short space of time. Once an organisation has developed and made their brand(s) familiar, consumers can quickly recognise them. If the branding strategy is really successful, consumers will associate the brand with many positive attributes. They should also immediates know which products or service a brand relates to. So that you can test yourself, we’ve listed a few brands here:

  • Kellogg’s Cornflakes
  • Nike Shoes
  • Tesco
  • BMW
  • Hilton

As you read through the list, you probably thought about the products (cereal, sports shoes, supermarket, car, hotel). But the brand names will almost certainly have triggered a lot more than that. You may have also: thought: healthy, trendy, value for money, luxury and prestige.

All these adjectives will have been stimulated by what the brand(s) mean to you. This shows that what brands are good at is allowing us to store up lots of feelings and thoughts that we attach or associate to each brand we are familiar with. There is a huge range of choice offered to most western consumers, from toothpaste and tourist destinations to French fries and films!

A key rule for branding is to ensure your product is easily recognised and remembered, and then associated in the consumer's mind with relevant positive attributes. So when the busy mother realises she needs more coffee, she doesn't have to make a list of all 89 possible options, she takes a short cut and perhaps considers just 3 possible brand to buy. This smaller group of brands considered for purchase is known as the Ťevoked setÓ.

The concept is clearly understood in a variety of ways:

Stuart Perl, Regional Director of Marketing (EMEA), Cunard Line Seaborne Cruise Line.

Jon Weaver, Marketing Manager, Bournemouth Borough Council

Heather Moore, Marketing and Promotions Officer Marwell Zoo, Hampshire