Brand, Branding and Brand Management
These are three different terms that often collide, but there’s a very thin line that separates them. However, if you navigate the world of branding and design it’s very important to be clear in what differentiates these terms.
What is a brand?
The word “brand” comes from the practice of branding, in other words, the act of marking by burning livestock to recognize them and differentiate them from other cattle. Based on that, the word evolved to be used as in the world of branding, where everything that can be defined as a distinguisher from the competition is nowadays a brand. This may involve concepts, names, logotypes, icons, a defined color palette, and so on.
At its essence, a brand is a distinctive symbol that individualizes objects (or livestock) and tracks them to their owner, nowadays company. Today, a brand is what the customer buys, whereas an object or service, is just something manufactured or provided by organizations.
What is branding?
In contrast to a brand, branding is a communication system that serves to create a connection between the product or service offered and the final customer. This is achieved by establishing an emotional relationship between the brand and the consumer. The deeper this link becomes, the chances of standing out from the competition increase.
Branding was once defined as “the process of creating a relationship or a connection between a company’s product and emotional perception of the customer to generate segregation among competition and building loyalty among customers” by Hislop. We resonate with this statement because indeed, branding is the communication of a brand that crawls into our emotions. When a brand triggers an emotion or when we relate to a brand to an emotional level, that’s successful branding.
For instance, Nike connects to its audience with leadership. Its whole communication system is thought to cause this emotion in their consumers. Another classic example is Coca-Cola, a brand which communication has transcended beyond its product, whose main goal is to transmit happiness. Every campaign that has been launched throughout the years has one common factor, it relates its product to happiness.
What is brand management?
After a brand is born, and its soul (also known as branding) is created, brand management is what keeps the product or service on track. A successful brand is the result of good brand management. Beyond focusing on design, brand management is a function that falls under marketing. The goal of brand management is to empower a brand and have its value increased.
Effective brand management increases brand awareness through supporting an effective brand message, hence creating sales and increasing the price of the product or service.
A brand can exist without branding as long as it has distinctive symbols that enable it to be recognized among its competition. However, this does not mean that it’s successfully connecting with its consumers. To ensure an emotional link with its audience, a communication system based on multiple factors must be designed thinking on a way to create a deeper bond with the final customer. Once the branding or the DNA of the brand is created, brand management techniques are what’s going to keep the brand afloat and will allow it to evolve and grow.