From  Calvin Klein’s designer jeans to Nike’s infamous swoosh trademark, branding is an integral component of the advertising industry in which  a collection of images and ideas connect consumers with specific attitudes, feelings, and perceptions  about products and companies, invoking a sense  of trust and status. Branding  has  transformed advertising, culture, and  the  economy, changing the  ideas that  consumers have  about the  products they  use,  the  companies that  produce them, and ultimately their  relationships with the product and company.

Since the 19th century, manufacturers branded products with logos and slogans intended to  attract consumers and  develop  a system  where  consumers bought only that  brand and ultimately other products from the company. Manufacturers struggled with the challenge of making sure the brands of their  products were the first chosen by consumers. Many  companies launched extensive  marketing campaigns  designed to define  the brands and  the quality  of the product. These types of campaigns continued throughout the 20th  century, to the point where  specific brands became a stand-in for the actual  names of products. Levi’s, for example,  is a particular brand but  often  used  as a stand-in for jeans.

Characters and celebrities further the disconnection between brand and product, creating new stand-ins for products, while they instill more  value and  brand recognition. Celebrity  endorsed  and   named  perfumes, for  example, demonstrate  the level  of  cross-industry branding   that   occurs  in   the   cosmetics  industry;  Halle   Berry and Britney Spears did not necessarily start  as  models or cosmetics spokespersons, but their  perfume lines  attempt to tap a market ruled  by name recognition. Brand  recognition of beauty  products extends beyond perfumes, with  entire product lines of beauty  and health products recognized by the manufacturer as the first priority. For example, film actress   Catherine  Zeta-Jones  is the  current face  of  Elizabeth Arden  products. The  marketing and selling of these products has  also  extended to branding the  sales  associates working at  cosmetic counters or  driving  a pink Mary Kay Cadillac.

Critics have argued that brand advertising and branding have created new forms of monopoly, especially where price competition and ownership is involved. Since a logo or product name  can be associated as a popular name  for a generic  product, the  company that  owns  the  trademark and  copyrights to those  symbols  and images  profits  from  further connection and  usage.  Branding is also criticized  for the  degree  to which  it has  entered popular culture and  shaped the  daily lives of consumers.

In modern advertising, manufacturers and  companies continue the  extensive marketing campaigns that  have roots  in 19th-century industrial America. Today’s advertisements seek to connect brands and  products with much more  than consumer expectations or  experiences. In  addition to  addressing consumer hopes and reactions to products, manufacturers have also created characters to promote brands and used  celebrities or persons of knowledge to create  excitement and interest  in products, both established and new. The  advertising aspects of branding create new values for the product and the manufacturer. New images and connections  can attract consumers to associate quality  with the product; they will often pay higher prices  to acquire the  branded items  like Gucci  bags or Coco  Chanel couture. At the same time, higher prices have also led retailers  to create  their  own generic  brands that are not supported by such  advertising campaigns, but can still create  the same connections with consumers.

Leave a Reply