We hear a lot in commercial jargon about ‘brands’, ‘brand loyalty’ and ‘brand awareness’ but where does this phenomenon arise from and what is a brand? Well, let’s firstly look at the history of a brand. In the English language, to ‘brand’ historically was painful and involved burning an impression into the flesh with a hot poker or iron. The impression held great symbolism and was used as an identity system.
A commercial brand is similar but less painful! Consumers buy into brands and own certain branded goods as they hold symbolism and say a great deal about them as people. They become an identity system and purport values that the consumer wishes to portray about themselves to others.
In comparison with traditional branding procedures, where a brand was burning an impression into the flesh, corporations now strive to burn impressions into the memory. They aim to make sure that their brand is recalled first against their competitors and maintains prominent positioning in the human memory cells.
Brands have become really powerful and generate millions of pounds within the industry. They have become so iconic that the big players in the field obtain a mass following and create deep, underlying meanings that can be used as identity systems.
The status of brands does not stop at products and companies. Celebrities have even become brands and very powerful marketing tools. Think of Brand Beckham and how just associating a brand with David Beckham greatly enhances its sales figures and prestige.
Alongside the age of celebrity branding, is also the notion that countries and places have become like brands. Consumers are given a clear idea of what it is like to visit a place before they’ve even been there. This is known as place branding. London is currently working on its image as a city in order to promote the London 2012 games.
So is there anything that is not susceptible to branding these days, and just how powerful are brands set to be in the future? In a sense brands help compile the contemporary day make up of consumers. They hold great symbolism, hold importance and appeal in the consumer’s mind and generate a huge amount of money in the business.
Are brands a good thing, or do people place too much emphasis on brand identity and symbolism?
Don’t forget, you can get into the branding game by branding your company logo on our promotional products!