Brand Management - Overview

“A product is something made in the factory; a brand is something the customer buys. A product can be copied or imitated by a competitor; a brand is unique. A product can be outdated; a successful brand is timeless.”

− Stephen King (WPP Group, London)

Today, the commodity marketplace is flooded with various brands. The requirement of the seller’s brand to stand out among other parallel brands is crucial. Hence, there is a fierce competition among the sellers to make their products or services stand out in the market, thereby winning new consumers and retaining the existing ones. At times, it even leads to diverting the consumers following other brands to the seller’s brand. To remain competitive in the marketplace, strong brand management is required.

Brand Management begins with understanding the term 'brand'.

What is a Brand?

Brand may be defined from the brand owner’s perspective or the consumer’s perspective. There are various popular definitions of a brand −

  • “A name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers. The legal term for brand is trademark. A brand may identify one item, a family of items, or all items of that seller. If used for the firm as a whole, the preferred term is trade name.” - American Marketing Association

  • “A type of product manufactured by a particular company under a particular name.” − Oxford English dictionary

  • “A name, term, sign, symbol, design, or a combination of these used to identify the goods or services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of competitors.” − A product-oriented definition

  • “The promise of the bundles of attributes that someone buys and provide satisfaction . . .” − A consumer-oriented definition

The fundamental purpose of branding is differentiation. A brand is a means of differentiating the seller’s product from other competing products.


Brand has the following characteristics −

Tangible characteristics − Price, physical product, packaging, etc.

Intangible characteristics − Customer’s experience with the brand, brand position, and brand image.

Objectives of a Brand

Here are some important objectives of a brand −

  • To establish an identity for the product or a group of products.

  • To protect the product or service legally for its unique features.

  • To acquire place for the product in consumers’ minds for high and consistent quality.

  • To persuade the consumer to buy the product by promising to serve their needs in a unique way.

  • To create and send the message of strong reliable business among consumers.

What is Brand Management?

Brand management is an art of creating a brand and maintaining it. It is nothing but developing a promise to the consumer, materializing that promise, and maintaining the same for a product, a group of products, or services.

Brand management helps to manage the tangible and intangible characteristics of a brand. A competent Brand Management includes building brand identity, launching the brand, and maintaining the brand position in the market. Brand management builds and maintains the corporate image of a business.

History of Branding

The concept of branding exists since approximately hundred years.

History of Branding

Brand Essence

It is a single most compelling thing about a brand that differentiates it from the competing brands. The brand essence serves as a metric to evaluate the seller's marketing strategies. The most important brand essences arise from consumers' needs. Brand essence can be described in just a few words.

For example, Volvo − Safe travel. Disney − Fun family entertainment.

There are seven contributing elements of brand essence −

  • Authenticity − If the brand makes a promise and fails to keep, then it is rejected. The consumers expect the sellers to be genuine and truthful.

  • Consistency − The essence of a brand is lost if it is not consistent in providing what it promised to the consumer. Also, a brand should use its logo consistently over time.

  • Durability − The brand essence remains same over time. Even if packaging and logos change, the essence does not change.

  • Experience − It is the consumers experience with the brand.

  • Uniqueness − It is how different a brand is from its competitors.

  • Relevance − It is the relevance of a brand to the consumer.

  • Single mindedness − It is sticking to only one thing about the brand which keeps the brand focused.

Elements of a Brand

There are eight essential elements of a brand as given below −

  • Brand Name − This is what the people get to see everywhere. It must be as simple and memorable as possible, meaningful, easy to pronounce, and unique.

  • Logo − This can be anything from a piece of text to the abstract designs. It may be entirely unrelated to the corporate activities. It must be relevant to the product or service, iconic, and attractive.

  • Tone − This is how the seller communicates with the consumer. It can be professional, friendly, or formal. It builds consumer’s perception about the brand.

Brand Elements
  • Jingle − It must be pleasant to hear and hum, relevant to the product, easy to remember, and easy to understand over a large age group to connect consumer with the brand.

  • Slogan − It summarizes overall value proposition. It should be short, easy to remember, and catchy. For example, KFC’s slogan is “Finger Lickin’ Good” and Britannia’s is “Eat Healthy, Think Better”.

  • Packaging − It needs to be catchy and advertising, drawing people to see the product inside. Also, it needs to be compact, yet attractive.

  • Universal Resource Locator (URL) − It forms the domain name on the internet. A seller can register all prospective variations of brand name URLs or can buy the existing URL of a business.

  • Characters/Mascots − It is a special symbol, either still, animated, or real life entity such as an animal or a human character. For example, Vodafone’s Zoozoo characters are played in its various advertisements by humans wearing special white body suits.

Brand Management versus Product Management

They are not the same. Let us see the difference between them −

Brand Management Product Management
Brand Management includes evaluation of sales, pricing for a particular product, supervising ad campaigns. Product Management includes implementing the marketing techniques to increase the product sale and measure the same. For example, repackaging the product.
Main objective − Maintaining product quality. Main objective − Increasing product sale.
It includes interaction with manufacturers, sales personnel, advertisers, and copywriters so that manufacturing, sales, and promotion are in synchronization. It includes interaction with marketing and sales personnel, customer support, etc.

Brand Terminology

Here are some commonly used terms in Brand Management −

Term Description
B2C E-Commerce It is the online selling of goods and services to the final consumers.
Brand Association It is the degree to which a specific product/service is recognized within its product or service category. For example, a person asking for Xerox wants to actually make true copies of a paper document.
Brand Awareness It is the extent to which the consumer knows and can recall the brand.
Brand Cannibalism When two brands in the same product line, offered by a company target the same market segment, and compete with each other by eating away the market share.
Brand Equity It is the positive differential effect on the consumer about the branded product or service after knowing the brand. It is the potential of the brand to impact the business.
Brand Extension It means using a successfully established brand name for one segment to enter another segment in the same brand market.
Brand Extension It is using a successful brand name to launch a new or modified product under a new category.
Brand Image It is the perception a consumer develops for a brand as reflected by the brand associations and holds in memory.
Brand Image or Brand Description It is the association or belief the customer has towards a brand. It is not quantifiable.
Brand Personality Brand is seen as if how it was if it were a human being.
Brand Proliferation When one company introduces new brands in the same product lines with the aim to cover every market segment for that product line.
Brand Promise It is the functional and emotional benefits that customer receives when he experiences products or services of a brand.
Brand Rejuvenation or Revitalizing When marketers recognize the declining status of a brand and extend the life of brand by adding new product features, packaging, or presentation, it is called Brand Rejuvenation.
Brand Strength or Brand Loyalty It is the measure of a customer’s attachment towards the brand. It is quantifiable.
Brand Stretching It means using a successful brand name to explore a different market.
Brand Recall It is the ability of the consumer to generate and retrieve the brand in their memory.
Brand Value It is the total value of a brand as a separable asset when it is sold, or included in a balance sheet. It is quantifiable and considered as an accounting issue.
Chain Store Multiple outlets that are owned and controlled in common, have same central buying and merchandising, and sell similar merchandise.
Co-branding Alliance of multiple brands to launch a product or service in the market.
Commodity It is a raw material or a primary agricultural product that can be bought or sold.
Consumer Brand Equity Brand Strength + Brand Image.
Differentiation The ability of a brand to stand apart from its competitors.
E-Business The business running on the electronic platform such as Internet
E-Commerce Buying and selling processes enabled by electronic means such as Internet.
Exchange The act of obtaining something desired by offering something.
Export It is entering a foreign market by selling the goods (maybe with a little modification) that are manufactured in the home country of a business.
Family Brand It is when a parent brand is associated with multiple brands with brand extension.
Fashion A contemporary style accepted in the given field.
Global Branding Exposing brand into foreign markets.
Lifestyle A person’s pattern of living as expressed in its activities, interests and preferences.
Market Segmentation It is a marketing strategy of dividing a broad target market into groups of consumers, businesses or countries having common needs, interests, and priorities, and then designing and implementing strategies to target them.
Market Share It is the percentage of market's total sales earned by a particular company over a specified time period.
Marketing Mix It is the selection of different Ps (Product/Service, Price, Place, and Promotion) an organization uses to bring the product or service to the market.
Multi-Brand Portfolio It is the coherent collection of brands, sub-brands, and co-brands included in the overall offering of the company, where each brand has a defined place and role.
Parent Brand The one under which a company launches a new product.
Sub-Brand The one which is associated with the already established brand.