The changing function and value of a brand
I got hold of an article in Asiamoney, Sept04 (thanks Dave) on the changing function and value of brands.
Brands were first regarded merely as trademarks, names and logos that differentiated one product or service from another. This concept was then extended into entire visual identity systems: with guidelines for everything from packaging to advertising, seeking always to differentiate the 'look' of the product. More recently, it has been recognized that brands define ongoing relationships through the power of their personalities and values, which further distinguishes branded products and services from their competitors.
Initially, only the customer relationship was considered. Now, the leaders in brand management recognize that brands define relationships with all their key audiences, notably investors and employees. They also acknowledge that relationships and values relate to behaviour. This means that in the best managed brands, the brand's values are accepted and practiced by the workforce, particularly in service businesses such as banking and insurance. The employees have a relationship with their brand that is the counterpart of the intended customer relationships.
According to Synovate's Brendan Shair, brand is the glue that binds the personality of an organization and the brand should be put at the centre of corporate strategy. "You need a brand internally as a tool to bind things together such as your culture and strategy," he says. "A brand is also used to attract your strategic partners, your business associates, and your staff".