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Definition

brand

What is a brand?

A brand is a product, service or concept that is publicly distinguished from other products, services or concepts so that it can be easily communicated and usually marketed.

Branding is the process of creating and disseminating the brand name, its qualities and personality. Branding could be applied to the entire corporate identity as well as to individual products and services or concepts.

Well-known advertising copywriter and ad agency founder David Ogilvy defined a brand as: "the intangible sum of a product's attributes: its name, packaging, and price, its history, its reputation, and the way it's advertised."

How are brands identified?

Brands are often expressed in the form of logos and graphic representations of the brand.

In computers, a modern example of widespread brand application was the "Intel Inside" label provided to manufacturers that use Intel's CPUs.

A company's brands and the public's awareness of them are often used as a factor in evaluating a company. Corporations sometimes hire market research firms to study public recognition of brand names as well as attitudes toward the brands.

Lenovo laptop with 'Intel Inside'
The 'Intel Inside' label in advertising and marketing by computer vendors that use Intel's processors is a famous modern example of the application of brand.

How are brands protected from intellectual property theft?

Brands are usually protected from use by others by securing a trademark or service mark from an authorized agency, usually a government agency. Before applying for a trademark or service mark, individuals and organizations need to establish that someone else hasn't already obtained one for that name.

Although they can do the searching themselves, it is common to hire a law firm that specializes in doing trademark searches and managing the application process, which -- in the United States -- takes about a year.

Once they've learned that no one else is using it, they can begin to use their brand name as a trademark simply by stating it is a trademark (using the "TM" where it first appears in a publication or website). After receiving the trademark, they can use the registered symbol after their trademark.

When should you trademark a brand name?

Organizations should trademark their brand name as soon as possible after beginning to use it in commerce or e-commerce.

The best way to protect a brand name is to file for a trademark before someone else does. They can use the "TM" symbol on their brand name even before they file for federal trademark protection.

If they wait to file for a trademark until after someone else has started using their brand, it can be more difficult and expensive to stop them.

It is also important to use a brand name consistently so that it becomes well-known and associated with the company or product. Inconsistent use can weaken your brand and make it more difficult to enforce trademark rights.

What are some famous brands?

Famous brands include Coca-Cola, Nike, IBM, Volkswagen and Chanel. These companies have built their brand over many years and are among the most valuable brands in the world.

The Coca-Cola brand is worth $79 billion, making it the most valuable brand in the world. Coca-Cola has been able to build such strong brand equity because it has consistently delivered a product that people enjoy.

Nike is the second most valuable brand in the world, with a brand value of $56 billion. Nike has built its brand by associating itself with some of the world's greatest athletes and using creative marketing campaigns that resonate with consumers.

These companies have all built their brand equity through a combination of great products and strong marketing.

See also: brand ambassador, brand equity, brand recognition, brandjacking, brand experience, brand essence, rebranding

This was last updated in July 2022

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