Of late I have been asked by quite a few people about branding and what are the steps to become a brand but today I was asked a good question, What is a Brand or better put Define a Brand.
Wikipedia says : A brand is a name or trademark connected with a product or producer. Brands have become increasingly important components of culture and the economy, now being described as “cultural accessories and personal philosophies”.
FreeDictionary.com says :
A trademark or distinctive name identifying a product or a manufacturer.
A product line so identified: a popular brand of soap.
A distinctive category; a particular kind
apart from a 100 other definitions.
Let’s talk practical : Shahrukh Khan is a brand, Farhan Akhtar is not; Harsha Bhogle is a brand, Arun Lal is not; Michael Jackson is a brand (yes, he still is), Rakhi Sawant is NOT. Even though I did write about her sometime back and that too in relation to branding, but she never was and can never be.
In terms of product value, I will say they are brands because the first thing is that THEY SELL. Any Shahrukh film just sells, even though the promos have not been good, even though the film is crap, even though it may have no other superstar in it, what matters is it sells. Same does not hold for Farhan Akhtar.
If Harsha Bhogle is on air, everyone listens to him, his name sells there. The same is not true in the case of an Arun Lal or a Rameez Raja, even though they are seen commentating on all channels and are all over the place, people may listen but do not respect their commentary.
An MJ album used to sell without even people listening his songs, they just bought. His shows were a sellout because people knew its M-I-C-H-A-E-L J-A-C-K-S-O-N who’s performing. However old he grew, his shows were always a sellout. He was a household name, even my dad knows his name, even though he never heard a single song of him. On the contrary, even though Rakhi Sawant is a household name, but is her show watched on each and every person ? Though people like me watched a few of her tv appearances, but did we watch it because of Rakhi? No is the answer, and what’s more is that more people switched channels when they saw her on air.
So who is a brand ? Let me tell what does not define it. Any person/product/company which catches the eye of the people simply is NOT termed a brand. It is a necessary condition but not a sufficient one. Something which fades away with time is NOT one. Negative publicity does NOT make one.
A brand is something/someone/product or company which :
is famous (the primary condition)
has earned respect in the society (society may be a variable term here, but constitutes of people who do not know or are NOT associated with the brand personally)
has value (the product is good or the person has excelled professionally or the company has done exceptionally good business)
which sells outright (does not need much of marketing)
raises eyeballs every now and then, with positive actions or sometimes even with neutral ones
no of people who love the brand >>> no of people who hate it (yes you ought-to/must have those who hate you)
does not become news for negative reasons
May be you can add more points ? I put what I could recall of but I guess you may have much more to add, looking forward to discuss and learn more from you people.