Was a brand is, is not an academic debate. The right answer to this question has high practical relevance. Without a brand, there is not much left in many markets today.
Market economies are driven by three major forces:
The right understanding of brand is crucial for business success. Thus, a wrong brand understanding leads to entrepreneurial failure.
A definition in advance
On the one hand, the term mark can be traced back to the French term “marque” (mark, sign for recognition). On the other hand, the term is based on the Germanic term “Marka”.
This stands for “setting boundaries, separating one’s own area from another, bordering on differentiation”.
There are still managers in the business who consider the following statement to be correct: “The product is everything, the brand is just a communicative accessory.”
And there are countless academic terminology definitions that do not make it to the point: “Identification mark for a product (English: brand). A brand can mark individual products or a group of products. ”
Everyone has their point of view or “tendency” about the brand. Me too. And I consider the first statement to be false and the second to be inadequate.
For me, the following anonymous term definition comes straight to the point: “A brand is the most valuable piece of real estate in the world: a corner of someone’s mind.”
Brand – that’s head cinema
Products have low social relevance – strong brands have high social relevance. This importance in customer life gives brands their much desired economic value.
What is special about brands is that they build relationships with customers through stories and experiences based on attractiveness and trust. An emotional relationship that is significantly stronger for strong brands such as Apple , Adidas or Audi than the rational customer benefit relationship with the most standardized product.
Behind every strong brand stands a unique world of meaning, ie identity. Strong brands create an identity and create an emotional experience world – and thus they create identification. So brand creates emotion primarily. Brand is head cinema. Just as people’s behavior is primarily influenced by emotions. Even capitalism and its companies follow in their essence primarily emotions – because behind them are always people with their emotional behavior.
Brands are now trained to exude confidence. To appear reliable and attractive. To be a rock in the surf of mobility, virtuality and globalization. All this is in our head. More precisely: in the limbic system of our brain.
Business is therefore, according to Sir John Hegarty, “a battle of brands and the battlefield is the mind of the consumer”.
Brands have become the epitome of success
According to investment banker Edson Mitchell, Business works as follows: “People never remember what you tell them. They always remember how they made them feel. ”
Steve Jobs understands why he never thought and acted out of the technical logic of the computer industry, but consistently out of the emotional power of a lifestyle brand.
According to Steve Jobs : “Marketing is about values. It’s a complicated and noisy world, and we’re not going to get it. So we have to be really clear about what we want them to know about us … Apple what able to encourage people to define Themselves as anti-corporate, creative, innovative rebels simply by the computer They used … Apple is about people who think outside the box who want to use computers to help them change the world. ”
Such “people” forgive their brand any product weakness and price increase. Such people have built a brand relationship that is deeply emotional and goes far beyond the rationality of a product or a price.
Without a doubt, we live in an age of the brand today. At a time when collective images in people’s minds shape society, politics and the economy. We are no longer living in the age of industrialization.
The black box of corporate success: Our emotions
Products “sell” satisfaction needs such as thirst or hunger. This satisfaction by means of mineral water products or yoghurt products is today mostly interchangeable.
Brands, on the other hand, sell dreams. Aspirations. They satisfy the addiction, the longing of people for beauty, status, individuality, security. According to GfK , the largest German market research institute and number five worldwide, the company’s success is only 30 percent rational and 70 percent emotional.
In its mafos practice, GfK can only measure about 30 percent of sales – or market share success – for example, the influence of price fluctuations, increasing or decreasing advertising pressure, and distribution changes – in other words, rational factors acting in the short term.
About the rest – which is an average of 70 percent of the success or failure – there are according to GfK mostly only partial knowledge. These are longer-term and mainly emotional influencing factors.
So our conscious buying decisions do not correspond to the factual reality. Implicit processes control our consumption behavior. Implicitly such processes are called in the brain of humans, which run extremely fast, parallel, intuitively and automatically and are partly unconscious.
The fact is that our decisions are influenced by our unconscious self. And so often done emotionally and without reflection. Our behavior is not controlled by our supposedly free will, but by genes, synapses, hormones etc. This phenomenon is called user illusion.
This is the black box of success and the main reason for the many failures and inefficiencies in companies. In our actions, the motive is often the exact opposite of the cognitive claim.
Brands have power
Brands are more than the sum of corporate identity, image and brand value. Brands are universal reward and sense “machines”. They are the ideal and economic basis of a successful company.
Only brands give companies and their products an identity. A meaning. An attitude. An emotion. Brands are the power in the background. Brand power is soft power. The resources of soft power are corresponding values that evoke emotional attraction.
Thus, India as a middle power with ” Make in India ” has a very strong soft power with the value system quality, functionality, precision, professionalism, performance, competence, technical, reliability and status.
The Indian middle class, i.e SMEs or family businesses, is also often a soft power on the global market. However, these do not always practice a professional brand management, although they rely much more on the use of soft power than the big companies with all their hard market power.
It is important to distinguish between brand and product. The product is what the company produces. Products promise a certain functional bundle of benefits – a performance promise. They are real, usually consist of atoms and come from the world of the material.
The brand is what the customer buys. Brands promise a certain emotional bundle of meaning – a value proposition. They are fictions, social constructs, invented reality, lifestyle and lifestyle. Brands are faith communities based on positive and negative prejudices as well as collective myths.
Brand is neither a product nor a communicative accessory. Brands are the most important tool in communication competition. They are something fundamental and comprehensive. They stand for an attitude and are a guarantee for a strong positioning.
It’s about making your own business a brand and emotionalizing the products from the customer’s perspective. To create a relevant and attractive reality with words and pictures. Building a brand in the customer’s mind – that is, a “brand in the brain”.