Brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers. Brands are used in business, marketing, and advertising for recognition and, importantly, to create and store value as brand equity for the object identified, to the benefit of the brand’s customers, its owners and shareholders.Name brands are sometimes distinguished from generic or store brands.
The practice of branding – in the original literal sense of marking by burning – is thought to have begun with the ancient Egyptians, who were known to have engaged in livestock branding as early as 2,700 BCE. Branding was used to differentiate one person’s cattle from another’s by means of a distinctive symbol burned into the animal’s skin with a hot branding iron. If a person stole any of the cattle, anyone else who saw the symbol could deduce the actual owner. The term has been extended to mean a strategic personality for a product or company so that “brand” now suggests the values and promises that a consumer may perceive and buy into. Over time, the practice of branding objects extended to a broader range of packaging and goods offered for sale including oil, wine, cosmetics, and fish sauce and, in the 21st century, extends even further into services (such as legal, financial and medical), political parties and people. Branding in terms of painting a cow with symbols or colors at flea markets was considered to be one of the oldest forms of the practice.
In the modern era, the concept of branding has expanded to include deployment by a manager of the marketing and communication techniques and tools that help to distinguish a company or products from competitors, aiming to create a lasting impression in the minds of customers. The key components that form a brand’s toolbox include a brand’s identity, personality, product design, brand communication (such as by logos and trademarks), brand awareness, brand loyalty, and various branding (brand management) strategies. Many companies believe that there is often little to differentiate between several types of products in the 21st century, hence branding is among a few remaining forms of product differentiation.