“Brand”, a strong word that really means everything when it comes to a product or company. A brand has to create its own identity in the minds of its target market. And yeah, every product has a particularly defined market, that is certain, the market may be defined on the basis of the different market segmentation parameters namely demographic, geographic, psychographic, behavioral factors. Well not really dwelling deep into the marketing jargon, in short, a brand is defined for some particular group of people with similar interests. Now this group can be REALLY BIG and for example the geographic parameter might span the entire world over a period of time. Well, a brand is affected by a whole lot of other jargon such as brand name, brand value, brand association etcetera. What I would really like to focus people’s attention is the inherent power that a brand has. Why do you think a person loves Sony Ericsson or an Apple product, primarily because these brands are associated with something that people perceive as amazing, and it actually boils down to their basic needs of having a great phone. In technical terms Brand Association (so much for the criptic name!). Now WHAT is it that people see in Apple and Sony Ericsson phones and WHAT is the basic need that they ASSOCIATE these brands with. The different answers to the same question could be “Quality”,”Durability”,”Utility”, “technology expertise” or any other such answer depending upon the PERCEPTION of the individuals about the BRAND. More importantly the perceptions would be driven by the underlying NEED of the individual. For example, not everyone might be in search of “Quality” in a mobile phone, they may be interested in “Durability”. Again, there might be combinations of several needs for some other individual, his/her interest lies in “Durability” AND “Utility” and they might really would not mind whether the phone may or may not have, say, “technology expertise”.
Now if a Brand really has to perform well across geographic locations, it is absolutely necessary for them to try to bridge the gap between the “underlying needs” and “brand perception” so as to maximize sales at a premium amount and attain high market shares, all at the same time. The brand owner should seek to bridge the gap between the brand image and the brand identity as well. Aah, another set of jargon! Brand identity is nothing but the symbols, name, trademark, communications and visual appearance or anything that uniquely identifies the brand. Brand image to a large extent depends on how the brand has been perceived by the target market of the brand. Brand image is how you actually perceive the brand while brand identity is the way the owner of the brand actually wants you to perceive the brand!. So basically if you think that Sony Ericsson Walkman Phones provides very high quality music and Sony Ericsson actually wants you to perceive that it is high quality product by making use of the Walkman logo that was already a hit when they launched the walkman that ran on tape, Voila! they have achieved their success.