One of the most important decisions that a marketer has to take in the area of ‘product’ is in respect of branding. He has to decide whether the firm’s products will be marketed under a brand name or a generic name. Generic name refers to the name of the whole class of the product. For example, a book, a wristwatch, tyre, camera, toilet soap, etc. We know that a camera is a lens surrounded by plastic or steel from all sides and having certain other features such as a flash gun and so on. Similarly book is a bunch of papers, which are in a bound form, on which some useful information about a subject is printed. Thus, all products having these characteristics would be called by the generic name such as camera or book. If products were sold by generic names, it would be very difficult for the marketers to distinguish their products from that of their competitors. Thus, most marketers give a name to their product, which helps in identifying and distinguishing their products from the competitors’ products. This process of giving a name or a sign or a symbol etc., to a product is called branding. The various terms relating to branding are as follows:
- Brand: A brand is a name, term, sign, symbol, design or some combination of them, used to identify the products—goods or services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of the competitors. For example, some of the common brands are Bata, Lifebuoy, Dunlop, Hot Shot, and Parker. Brand is a comprehensive term, which has two components—brand name and brand mark. For example, Asian Paints has the symbol of Gattu on its pack, which is its brand mark.
- Brand Name: That part of a brand, which can be spoken, is called a brand name. In other words, brand name is the verbal component of a brand. For example, Asian Paints, Safola, Maggie, Lifebuoy, Dunlop, and Uncle Chips are the brand names.
- Brand Mark: That part of a brand which can be recognised but which is not utter able is called brand mark. It appears in the form of a symbol, design, distinct colour scheme or lettering. For example, the Gattu of Asian Paints or Devil of Onida or symbol of Yogkshma of LIC, or four fingers and a palm of Anacin are all brand marks.
- Trade Mark: A brand or part of a brand that is given legal protection is called trademark. The protection is given against its use by other firms. Thus the firm, which got its brand registered, gets the exclusive right for its use. In that case, no other firm can use such name or mark in the country. Though branding adds to the cost e.g., to the cost of packaging, labelling, legal protection, and promotion, it provides several advantages to the sellers as well as the consumers.