What is a Brand?

The original meaning of the word ‘brand’ seems to derive from an Old Norse word brandr, which meant ‘to burn’ (Interbrand Group, 1992). Yet in the etymology of the word, this idea of branding as a “permanent mark deliberately made with hot iron” now takes second place to “goods of particular name or trade mark” (Oxford English Dictionary). But does this really describe what we understand as a brand? The American Marketing Association describes a brand as a “name, term, sign, symbol, or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and differentiate them from those of competitors.”
                                                                                                            Branding and Advertising
                                                                                           FLEMMING HANSEN & LARS BECH CHRISTENSEN

A brand name is the part of a brand that can be vocalized. Examples are Disneyland, Hilton, Carnival cruise, and Outback. A brand mark is the part of a brand that can be recognized but it is not utterable , such as symbol, design or distinctive coloring or lettering. Examples are McDonald’s golden arches and Hilton’s H.A trademark is a brand or part of a brand given legal protection; it protects the seller’s exclusive rights to use the brand name or brand mark. 

What does the brand stand for in the customer’s mind? This is an important question to companies. Brands are increasingly important to tourist destinations even if they are not registered as such. Interestingly, most seem to depict objectives: The Big Apple, New York City; a Kiwi, New Zealand; a cowboy, Wyoming; the Beefeaters, London or the Eiffel Tower, Parris.  

A former CEO of McDonald’s once declared, “If every asset we own, every building, and every piece of equipment were destroyed in a terrible natural disaster, we would be able to borrow all the money to replace it very quickly because of the value of our brand…. The brand is more valuable than the totality of the value of our brand.”

Thus, brands are powerful asset that must be carefully developed and managed.  Great brands have proved to be more enduring than companies, products or people, and in the daily battle of American marketing the main consumer brands wage an almost relentless war on their rivals. Clearly for today’s tourism and leisure industries, increasingly characterized by mergers and the emergence of large players, branding is perhaps the most powerful marketing weapon available.

Brands also perform valuable functions for firms. A brand offers the legal protection for unique features or aspects of the product. The brand name can be protected through registered trademarks. And trade dress, the design of a restaurant or hotel, can be protected through copyrights and proprietary designs. These intellectual property rights ensure that the firm can safely invest in the brand and reap the benefits of a valuable asset. Brands signal a certain level of quality so that satisfied buyers can easily choose the product again. So this is the brand value pyramid..
Simon Anholt has defined a brand as ” the goodwill tied up in a name”. He says branding as the creation of distortion in the mind of consumer which interferes with his or her sense of value so that is prepared to pay more for a product than it’s intrinsic worth would suggest. I.E when we buying a phone from the Nokia we are paying for the name on the phone and what this name represents rather than actually how it made or what are the using materials to made of it. It also applies to hospitality sector we are going to have a lunch in Hilton because of the brand name it is a pinnacle brand in Sri Lanka. we can have the same menu in another hotel in low price  but we are going there because of the brand name. It is the human nature. 

Building a brand is along, slow process that needs patience and commitment. Brand name should be short , memorable and best brand names must also be trademark-able. But if your brand name sounds or look like another existing well-known brand then every Rupee you spent to marketing, the competitor will also gain 50 cents of free awareness. 

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