So What’s A Brand, Anyway?

Updated: Jun 1

When we hear about brands, many often confuse the term with things like logos, slogans, or other recognizable marks, which are actually marketing tools that help promote goods and services.


Brands are considered to be among a company's most important and valuable assets. The difference between CRDB and Access Bank, or Vodacom and Airtel or Total and Engene is branding. Historically, Brands took off after companies started packaging their goods in the late 1880s to distinguish themselves from other companies. In the 13th century, Italians began putting watermarks on their paper as a form of branding. The other term for branding comes cow farmers, who used to brand their livestock as a form of identification from cows from other farmers.


The term brand is referred to as a relationship between a business and its marketing concepts that help the public identify a particular company. A brand and a company are often inseparable because many companies are identified as their brand. A brand is an intangible collection of tools that shape people’s perceptions towards company products, service or an individual. When a company enters a new space, they naturally want to set themselves apart from others who provide similar products in the market. New companies go through a process of finding professionals that help identify people’s preferences that in result play a big part in shaping brand identities within the market space. The right brand that has matured and aligned to its publics can create enormous value to a company or individual, giving them a competitive edge over others in the same industry. Successful marketing can help keep a company's brand at the center of people's minds. Many organizations often seek legal protection for their brands by obtaining trademarks. For public companies, the brand carries even a greater weight as it protects shareholder value.


There are 4 types of brands. Product brands, service brands, personal brands and corporate brands


Product brands involve marketing a one particular product. Marketers need to undertake rigorous research in order to choose proper ways to communicate with their target market. Product brands focus on materials performance.


Service brands focuses on development and constant testing of high level of service delivery. Service brands focus on core service provided by the company, employee service, brand name, price: value for money, self-image congruence and feelings.


Personal brands- People use tools like the social media to build their own personas. For example Diamond Platnumz (Tanzanian musician) has developed value in his brand after gaining popularity from his music. Diamond Platnumz has used his name to successfully launch his own cologne, snack and media company


Corporate brands make a series of important decisions in order to accomplish their goals and objectives. These decisions include pricing, target market and values. A few years ago, Ivori chocolate introduced affordable chocolate that meets the international standards into the Tanzanian market. The pricing ensured that kids could afford the product while at the same time maximizing utility while consuming the product (price: value for money).


I often used to ask myself why Vodafone brought Vodacom into the Tanzanian market and Safaricom into the Kenyan market. Why is the Mpesa logo together with its colors in Tanzania different compared to Kenya’s Mpesa logo and colors? As mentioned above, when Vodafone entered these two markets, they first determined its brand identity and how it wants to be viewed, A company logo often incorporates a company’s message, slogan or product for the purpose of making the brand memorable and appealing to the customer.


Once a brand has found a sentimental connection with its target market, it creates a brand identity around the public’s perception of the company. This can include Logo, slogan and the visual look of the product’s packaging. At this stage, the company’s goal is to make the brand memorable and appealing to the public eye. Once a brand has built brand equity from creating a positive sentiment among its target audience, if done right, a good brand will result in an increase in sales. Good brands ensure that all their products capture the customers’ trust (brand loyalty), because when they have a good experience with one product, they will most likely try another product related to the same brand.


Successful branding leads to a lot of impressions. A company that is able to get its message across is able to induce and evoke emotion with its customer base. Companies are able to capitalize customer loyalty by bringing in more clients via word to mouth marketing (most reliable traditional recommendation) and some companies take it to the next step by generating testimonial content. This also helps ease the introduction of new products because customers are most likely going to stay loyal to the brands that they already trust and have an existing relationship with, even if newer products of the same brand come in at a higher price, for example Apple.


Companies usually consult a marketing agency to help them generate ideas for the visual aspects of the brand that accurately portrays the message or feeling that the company wants to get across. Digital Advertising has long been the lifeblood of commercial industry growth. Advertising campaigns in the digital space have shaped popular cultures, launched brands into the public eye and contributed to growth of dormant or dying brands or organizations. To date, Horizon Digital has helped dozens of clients create and deploy digital marketing campaigns across different customer touch points. We welcome you to get in touch with us for consultation surrounding the brand identity aspect.

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