Consumers love brands because they offer an extra value—that is, one in addition to the core product or service. That value becomes the major motivation for consumers to buy or use the product.
How precisely is this value being added and incorporated into the brand? Advertising professionals say it is advertising. Consumers love the ad—so they’ll love the brand. Other marketing experts are suggesting that a consistent and total brand experience is the key.
Brands are not human-like and they do not have a life of their own outside the consumer’s mind. They are instruments, simply means to achieve ends. Emotions cannot be glued to them. They arouse emotions when they are perceived as a source of something beneficial. The positive emotions are direct outcomes of these anticipations. Their various symbolizations (name, logo, font, emblem and so on) have little impact on their own; their importance is mainly as identifiers of sources of already attributed and anticipated benefits.
The act of branding has 10 different meanings, which translate into 10 different ways to create instrumentality or usefulness beyond the tangible benefits of a product/service:
1. Creating a Conceived Linkage to a Tangible Benefit
Creating a conceived linkage between the brand name and other identifiers and a tangible benefit (a result in the physical world or an experience). That benefit is provided by the product itself or any component of the marketing mix.
2. Forming a Mental Context
A concept or an organizing principle that allows the consumer to connect unrelated facts by guiding intent or by some other common factor. In these cases, the main benefit of the brand to its customers originates in the mental context.
3. Directing an Experience
The branding here is the creation of an expectation that allows an experience richer than what the product alone can offer.
4. Creating a Means of Self-Presentation
Branding creates a symbol with a meaning that is well known to everybody in a relevant group. It enables the consumer to characterize himself and is used by him for inner communication, for interpersonal communication and for public communication.
5. Creating a Means to Deliver a Message
The branding role in this approach is to create a symbol of another kind, its meaning widely known as well. That kind of symbol enables the consumer to make a very specific statement and/or express a very specific emotion.
6. Building a Social/Cultural Authority
The next branding approach is the creation of an authority that the consumers can use as a guide. That guide helps them to understand what’s happening around them and informs them which behavioral ways are normative, what will make them happier and so on.
7. Creating ‘a Long Hand’
The branding creates means for the consumer and empowering him or her to act for noble objectives and high purposes that she can’t achieve by herself.
8. Creating an Alter Ego
The brand is a way for the consumer to behave (at least on a fantasy level) in a manner he would like to but doesn’t dare, or isn’t willing to pay the price for.
9. Building an Emotional Gym
Opting for our civilized and protected lifestyle, we compromise a lot of our possibilities as humans. We go to the gym to prevent the degeneration of our bodies, which because of our lifestyles don’t get to face the challenges they are otherwise capable of confronting. Similarly, we watch movies to exercise emotional skills that aren’t legitimate or acceptable in our lifestyles.
10. Facilitating Fantasies
This branding approach helps the consumer to fantasize an alternative reality. Consumers fantasize about irresistible sex appeal, omnipotence and dominance, importance, success, fatal love, murder and so on