Professional Studies for Screen-Based Media
Foundation Degree South West

Development of the brand concept


One of the first uses of branding was seen on large farms where the cattle were physically └branded' with a sign burnt onto their skin so farmer X knew which were his cows and which were not, by the marking on the animal.

The concept has moved on a lot from this simple labelling showing ownership device. However, modern day marketers still use this ownership device. There are lots of examples where a brand reminds you who owns it; so we see chocolate from Cadburys, a new film from Disney, and the latest perfume from Chanel. Here the brand owners want to reassure us about the offering, źit must be good itís from Cadburysí!

Contemporary roles given to branding are sophisticated. Brands are now symbolic of the lifestyles of consumers. Purchasing and consuming them are ways we communicate to others what kind of person we are / want to be / wish we were. Fashion brands, music, mobile phones and even holiday resorts all thrive on this kind of symbolic branding.

Animal, Just Add Water and FCUK are all examples of brands gaining success primarily by offering consumers the ability to say things about themselves. If you are not convinced, ask yourself would you be happy to go to a night-club in a Marks and Spencers pullover and a pair of Asda jeans?

Much current debate about brands is related to this idea that a persons own self-identity and social identity is helped through the brands they choose to own. Self-identity is about what a person thinks about himself or herself and social-identity is about what they believe other people think about him or herself. The difference here are subtle but important, some brands are better able to project an image than others.

Some brands will be considered very personally relevant to some consumers and so perform the self-identity task better. Arguably, the fact that consumers are often not seen by their friends when consuming services means that these brands might relate more to self-identity (what sort of holiday best reinforces the sort of person I think I am?). Although clearly social-identity may influence the type of credit card you own and we might imagine that part of the pleasure of a business class flight is walking past other flyers to check in at the 'red carpeted' check in desk and into the 'reserved' departure lounge.

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

Spencer Brace, Sales & Marketing Manager, Bournemouth International Airport.