Brand That Can Do a Lot More
Than the Product
main reason for the general fascination with brands is their ability to provide the consumers an
extra value in addition to what the product\service\company themselves can provide. A value
which becomes the major motivation for consumers to desire the product. Everybody agrees about
that, but from here on it becomes foggy. First of all, what is this value exactly? Also, how
precisely is this value being added and incorporated into the brand? In this short article I
attempt to provide a clear answer to both of these key questions and to suggest a workable
approach to creating value added brands.
of introduction, let me say that strong brands are perceived instruments, means to achieve goals
or benefits, in the consumer's mind. They arouse emotions because they are perceived as a source
of something beneficial. The positive emotions are direct outcomes of these anticipations. Their
various symbolizations (name, logo, font, emblem, etc') have little impact of their own. Their
importance is mainly as identifiers of sources of already attributed and anticipated benefits.
of branding has ten different meanings which are ten different ways to create instrumentality or
usefulness beyond the tangible benefits which the product/ service/ company themselves can
a conceived linkage to a tangible benefit
most basic level of branding is creating a conceived linkage between the brand name and other
identifiers and a tangible benefit. Huge brands like Pantene shampoo which promise to amend the
six symptoms of unhealthy hair look, work in this level.
a mental context
"mental context" is a concept or an organizing principle which allows the consumer to conceive
originally unrelated facts (such as: the various marketing activities of a company) as connected
by a guiding intent or by some other common factor. For example: should you stumbled into a
hotel like the "Hudson" or the "Royalton" in the heart of Manhattan, you are promised pleasure
on different levels, but if you know you're in a "Boutique Hotel" your stay becomes a very
different experience altogether.
essentially a hypnotic effect, in some cases related to Placebo. The branding here is the
creation of an expectation which alters the sensed experience and enables the consumer a richer
experience than what the product alone can provide him with. For instance, the expectation that
an energy drink like "Red Bull" will energize, makes the consumers feel a wave of energy beyond
the physical effect of the drink.
a means of self presentation
the branding creates a symbol with a meaning that is well known to everybody in a relevant
group, which enables the consumer to characterize himself. The brand "ABSOLUT vodka" became a
way for yuppies to signal their yuppieness to other yuppies and so became a huge
a means to deliver a message
branding role in this approach is to create a symbol of another kind, its meaning known for
everybody as well. The diamonds giant "De Beers" made the diamond a means of expressing
commitment, making the physical fact that a diamond is indestructible a metaphor for the
lastingness of a relationship.
a social-cultural authority
next branding approach is the creation of an authority which the consumers can use as a guide,
to help them understand what's happening around them and to inform them which behavioral ways
are normative, what will make them happier etc'. The brand "Apple" depicted the personal
computer, not only as a working tool but also as a device for self expression and creativity.
"a long hand"
approach, the branding is creating means for the consumer and empowering her to act for noble
objectives and high purposes, which are important to her, but which she can't achieve by
herself. The "Body Shop" network made buying a way for contributing to the preservation of the
environment and helping people in need all around the globe.
an Alter Ego
the brand is a way for the consumer to behave (at least on a fantasy level) in a manner he would
like to but doesn't dare, or isn’t willing to pay the price for. The provocation of the fashion
brand "Diesel" is made as if "in the name of" the brand customers. They can feel like they are
provocative themselves every time the brand advertises one of its outrageous
an "Emotional Gym"
for our civilized and protected life style, we compromise (not once, happily) a lot of our
possibilities as humans. We go to the gym to prevent the degeneration of our body which, in our
life style, doesn't get to face the challenges it was designed for. Similarly, we watch movies
and TV series' in order to "exercise" emotional skills which aren't legitimate in our life
style. Brands like "Sicily" from "Dolce & Gabbana", allows us too to experience such
only a fine difference from the previous approach, this branding approach helps the consumer to
fantasize an alternative reality. The brand "Timberland" was designed as a way for consumers to
fantasize about courageous adventures against the forces of nature.
understanding of the different kinds of added value, the ways by which these values are
instrumental to the consumer and the methods by which brands can be destined to be means for the
consumer for achieving his goals, makes the difference between masterful creations of brands and
amateur imitation which produces mere look-alikes.
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