WHAT IS BRANDING?

By João Andrade

To understand the meaning of the branding concept, we first need to understand what brand is. A brand has a set of the characteristics which attaches the needs of a consumer to a specific product; it is what differentiates one service from another.  

A brand can be a beverage, clothing, a language course or a hotel, for example. Imagine that you arrive in a shop to buy a mobile phone, but when you look at them, there is nothing which distinguishes them from each other. How do you choose a favourite? It’s difficult to imagine a world without brands.

With a market that is getting fiercer by the day, companies, together with their communications teams, have realised the necessity of investing in something extra, and not only in products but in experiences.  

One situation which is easy to understand is when we are in front of a PC and a Mac. They offer the same type of product with similar characteristics and configurations. However, there are consumers who will consume one and not the other for various reasons, being these objective or subjective.

Therefore, branding is the development of that which differentiates one company from the other. And this goes way beyond a logo or a slogan. It’s the identity, the beliefs and the purpose for which the company exists.

Branding is the perception of the consumer when (s)he sees the product or hears the name of its brand. It’s the mental image that (s)he has. It’s the values for which the company wishes to be remembered, but not only the ones that the brand has. It’s the values that the brand appreciates. And all its actions should reflect these values.

Developing the branding of a brand can be an important communications tool, as it can identify the most efficient ways of reaching the stakeholder.