about the brand and feelings associated with the brand experience. Brands also aid inreducing consumer perception of risk-of-use (i.e. product not meeting expectedperformance) by use of guarantees or promising quality (e.g. returns policy of a retailstore). As we move into the domain of ‘residual’ brand image in the minds of consumers,a consumer-centric ways of looking at brands starts to emerge. Brands are not what brandowners want them to be. It is more important to understand what brands ‘mean’ toconsumers or what is the consumer’s view of the brand. A Louis Vuitton hand bag or aBulgari watch not only serves the functional role expected of a handbag (or a watch) butalso creates a ‘feeling’ of possession of something unique and valuable (limited edition),and is used to express (communicate) to others an image and identity of the owner(wealth, artistic taste, etc.) in the social fraternity. A brand is therefore what consumersperceive it as with its functional utility (i.e. what it does or need it serves), psychologicalattributes (i.e. brand image), and symbolic meaning (i.e. meaning for brand buyer). Thisis the concept of brands as an ‘identity.’ The identity that consumers seek to projectthrough the consumption of brands is influenced by their cultural values (what the brandmeans in the cultural context e.g. a Louis Vuitton bag means something in a social settingwhere the brand is understood by many or using ), symbolic and functional valuesassociated with people using the product (i.e. personality of the brand and the personalityconsumers want to project – use of brand label accessories with brand names emblazonedon the products or buying a Harley Davidson), feeling that brand is an expression of arelationships with a company (e.g. possessing and using an American Express card that isused by well known personalities is perceived as belonging to a select group), andimbuing (through attribution) brands with value to pay a premium beyond their functionaland symbolic value (buying a Bentley).
Table 1 What is a brand?
What is a brand? How does it exist? Brand utilityA physicalidentity in a legalcontextLegal identity as atrademark, logo, designetc.Prevents others from copyingLogo, design,symbol, etc.As a logo, design,symbol, etc.Enables recognition and differentiation by customersthrough visual identity. With investment and overtime brand starts to connote values like quality,innovation etc.Brand ascorporateidentityExists in the minds of stakeholders (customers,employees, banks, etc.)as being synonymouswith corporate valuesespoused and perceivedby stakeholdersStrong differentiationAs a ‘shorthand’repository of informationabout theproductExists in the minds of consumers as image / idea / direct experiences- as a summary of allexperiences with thebrand – as informationand feelingsInfluences consumer choice processA positive brand feelings / experience leads to a belief that the brand will deliver on the ‘promise’ – brandtrust
dapted from Leslie de Chernatony and Francesca Dall’Olmo Riley, “Defining a “Brand”: Beyond the Literature withExperts Interpretations” Journal of Marketing 1998