What is a Brand Name? Characteristics, Advantages, Product Five Levels

What is a Brand Name?

The brand name is the name given to the products in order to identify them. There are lots of choices for the brand name. There are really few good brand names.

Sometimes brand names are based on locations.

  • Sometimes brand names are based on a person’s name.

    Ex: Ford, Khaitan, Bajaj, Colgate, Aswini Hair oil etc.

  • Ex: Indian Air lines, Kentucky fried chicken, Bombay dying

    Brand names can be based on animals or birds.

  • Ex: Dove soap, Lion Dates, Tiger Biscuits, Kiwi shoe polish

    Brand names can suggest a life style

  • Ex: Fleet footers, Exxon, Passion

    Brand names express product meaning

  • Ex: Fruity, Aqua fresh, It can be based on the names of other objects. Ex: Shell gasoline, Little Hearts, Apple computers.

Characteristics of Good Brand Name

A good brand name should possess as many of the following characteristics as possible:


The market is filled with over-worked names and over used symbols. A unique and distinctive symbol is not only easy to remember but also is a distinguishing feature. Adidas shoes and Kodak films are distinctive names.


It is desirable to have short names which are easy to read and understand. It should be easy to pronounce and spell. Tide and Surf are examples of such names.


Brand names should be suggestive of quality, superiority or personality or such other attributes. They should communicate consumer benefits. Creativity should be encouraged. Ex: Promise is suggestive of assurance of tooth health and Medimix is suggestive of the mixture of Ayurvedic medicines in the soap.

Compatible with the product

The brand name should be compatible with the product. Timex is appropriate for watches. Pulpy orange suits to the product of orange juice.


It should be protectable under the Indian laws of Trade Marks and Copyright. There should be a search to confirm whether the chosen name is available.

Brands Versus Products

It is important to contrast a brand and a product. According to Philip Kotler, a product is anything that can be offered to a market for attention, acquisition, use or consumption that might satisfy a need or want.

Thus a product may be a physical good (e.g. Cereal or automobile), service (e.g. an airline, bank or insurance company), retail store (e.g. a department store, supermarket), a person (e.g. a political figure, entertainer or professional athlete), organization (e.g. a non-profit organization, trade organization or arts groups), place (e.g. a city, state or country)

Five Levels of a Product

Kotler defines five levels to a product:

  1. The core benefit level is the fundamental need or want that consumers satisfy by consuming the product or service.

  2. The generic product level is a basic version of the product containing only those attributes or characteristics absolutely necessary for its functioning but with no distinguishing features.

  3. The expected product level is a set of attributes or characteristics that buyers normally expect and agree to when they purchase a product.

  4. The augmented product level includes additional product attributes, benefits or related services that distinguish the product from competitors.

  5. The augmented product level includes additional product attributes, benefits or related services that distinguish the product from competitors.
LevelAir conditioner
1. Core benefit

2. Generic product

3. Expected product

4. Augmented product

5.Potential product
Cooling and comfort

Sufficient cooling capacity, an acceptable energy efficiency rating.

Consumer reports state that for a typical large air conditioner, consumers should expect at least two cooling speeds, expandable plastic side panels, adjustable louvers, a removable air filter, a vent for exhausting air, a power cord at least 60 inches long, one-year parts-and-labor warranty on the refrigeration system.

Optional features might include electric touch-pad controls, a display to show indoor and out door temperatures and the thermostat setting.

Silent running, completely balanced throughout the room, and energy self sufficient.

What is Brand?

A brand is therefore a product, but one that adds other dimensions that differentiate it in some way from other products designed to satisfy the same need. These differences may be rational and tangible, related to the product performance of the brand or more symbolic, emotional and intangible-related to what the brand represents.

Advantages of Brands

Brands provide benefits for both consumers and firms themselves. Provides an overview of the different roles that brands play for these two parties.

Identification of source of productMeans of identification to simplify handling or tracing
Assignment of responsibility to product makerMeans of legally protecting unique features
Search cost reducerSignal of quality level to satisfied customers
Promise, bond, or pact with maker of the product deviceMeans of endowing products with unique symbolic associations
Signal of QualitySource of competitive advantage Source of financial returns


To consumers brands provide important functions.

Identification of source of product

Brands identify the source or maker of a product.

Assignment of responsibility to product maker

It allows consumers to assign responsibility to a particular manufacturer or distributor.

Risk reducer

Brands take on special meaning to consumers. Because of past experience with the product and its marketing program over the years, consumers learn about brands. They find out which brand satisfies their needs and which brand does not. As a result brands provide a means of simplification for their product decisions.

Search cost reducer

If consumers recognize a brand and have some knowledge about it, then they do not need to search for additional information to make a product decision. Thus brands reduce the search cost.

Promise, bond, or pact with maker of product

Consumers offer their trust and loyalty with the understanding that that the brand will provide them utility through consistent product performance and appropriate pricing, promotion and distribution programs and actions.

Symbolic device

Brands can serve as symbolic devices, allowing consumers to project their self-image.

Signal of quality

Brands can also play a significant role in signaling certain product characteristics to consumers.


Brands also provide a number of valuable functions to firms.

Means of identification to simplify handling or tracing

Brands serve an identification purpose to simplify product handling or tracing for the firm.

Means of legally protecting unique features

A brand also offers the firm legal protection for unique features or aspects of the product. A brand can retain intellectual property rights, giving legal title to the brand owner. The brand name can be protected through copyrights and designs.

Signal of quality level to satisfied customers

Brands can signal a certain level of quality so that satisfied buyers can easily choose the product again.

Means of endowing products with unique symbolic associations

Investments in the brand can endow a product with unique associations and meanings that differentiate it from other products.

Source of competitive advantage

Brand loyalty provides predictability and security of demand for the firm. It creates barriers of entry for other firms to enter the market. Thus branding can be seen as a powerful means of securing a competitive advantage.

Source of financial returns

Large earning multiples have been paid for brands in mergers and acquisitions.

Brand Management Topics

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