Though companies create brand identities, people create brand meaning. The meanings people find in brands help them make sense of, and give shape to, the world around them. Brands help people to define themselves and their place in that world, or, rather, the different worlds and environments they inhabit—the workplace, the family nest, the social gathering and so forth. Meaning is at the heart of consumer behavior. Yet meaning is not a manufactured, concrete given. Meaning is up for negotiation and interpretation, and the role of the individual in the creation of meaning is a very active one.

To talk about branding first we need to know that what BRAND is?  There are many definitions for BRAND, But to aggregate all of them into one definition we need to accept David Aaker’s definition in 1991; A BRAND is a name, sign, symbol, slogan or anything that is used to identify and distinguish a specific product, service, or business[1]. Philip Kotler used this definition in his book (Principle Of Marketing) too.

The American Association of Marketing’s definition from BRAND is too close to their definition but they put another thing to this definition. They think that BRAND is “A name, term, sign, symbol, or design, or a combination of them, intended to identify the goods or services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of competitors” . You can see that in this definition, BRAND can be a combination of name, sign & etc. And it’s for making a difference between products of different suppliers.

Many people think that the logo is the brand, but, in fact, the logo (and also slogan) is just one representation of the brand. Your brand isn’t how you look or what you say or even what you sell. Your brand is what people believe you stand for. For example:

Starbucks sells coffee. It stands for daily inspiration.

Apple sells computers. It stands for thinking differently.

Disney sells animated and amusement park family entertainment. It stands for making dreams come true.

And you can see their logos as one of their brands representation in below pic .

Companies brand lives in consumer minds, so branding is the process of developing consumer beliefs and perceptions that are accurate and in alignment with what you want your brand to be.

Logo as one representation of brands

[1] – Aaker, David (1991)

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