Suhel Khan's Blog

A blog about mobile app development, tech sales, my rants and more..

What is branding?


This post is a part of series of article on branding. The previous post was

“Branding is the most oversold but least understood expertise” . Breaking the myths and discovering the facts.

You won’t believe one gentleman really mailed me the recipe for a unique sushi dish. And this enthusiastic lad was so serious about the whole thing that he also sent me a list of good restaurants in Delhi where I can go and have it. I nicknamed him “sushi peddler” (What say? J). Well now let’s get back to the job of defining brand and branding.

Definition of Brand (Bookish):

Brand: Distinguishing name or symbol (logo) designed to identify the origins of a product or service, differentiate the product or service from the competition, and protect the consumer and producer from competitors who would attempt to provide similar products. A BRAND is designed to:

· Identify the origins of a good or service

· Differentiate those goods or services from those of the competition

· Protect the consumer and producer from competitors.

I know that’s pretty boring way of explaining things but apart from being poker face these bookish definitions does great job in keeping the confusion away. Let’s take an example and explain it further, Starbucks coffee through product packaging and advertising, has created an association between many different objects and its brands. The unique customer experience, the shape of the cup, the green and white colors, and the remarkable consistency of using it together make Starbucks distinctive from competitors in such a competitive segment. Here are some examples of its branding efforts:-

starbucks_cup starbucks-branding strip_144 starbucks-staff

Now going on to branding let’s have a bookish definition for branding first.

Definition of Branding (Bookish):

Branding: Branding is the process of creating an association between a symbol, object, emotion, perception and a product/company with the goal of driving loyalty and creating differentiation.

Usually the word BRANDING conjures up  images of branding cattle. At times I feel  branding has a branding problem. 🙂

Talking about the biggest benefit of brand is that it should provide to its customer the ability to reduce their decision making, which is only possible by pushing the brand into the subconscious of the consumer with attributes that keep him associated with the brand. And the process of creating these attribute is branding, the art and science behind building brands.

Some quotes by experts on branding:

ries “A brand should strive to own a word in the mind of the consumer.” –
Al Reis and Laura Reis

stephen “A product is something made in a factory; a brand is something that is bought by the customer. A product can be copied by a competitor; a brand is unique. A product can be quickly outdated; a successful brand is timeless.”
Stephen King, WPP Group, London

steve “We don’t have a good language to talk about this kind of thing. In most people’s vocabularies, design means veneer… But to me, nothing could be further from the meaning of design. Design is the fundamental soul of a man-made creation.” Steve Jobs

warren“Your premium brand had better be delivering something special, or it’s not going to get the business.
Warren Buffett

I leave with you with this post till i come back with another post on

What is the difference between brand development, brand strategy and branding?”


PSST: When i was searching for Warrens’ image it was Estella Warren who had more image results then him. Warren buddy time to do some online branding.. 🙂


9 comments on “What is branding?

  1. arthur c. van wyk
    March 6, 2009

    a brand is a set of attributes about a product or service that exist nowhere else but in the mind of your customer.

    branding is the creation, development, promotion and maintenance of those attributes, i.e a conversation.

    • From all the noise out there pretending to describe what is a brand, branding, marketing, the difference between them and so on, I find this simple, smart and accurate blog post comment that nails it finally. Thank you.

      If products exist on the shelves and brands exist on the customer mind, then knowledge exist on the web and intelligence nowhere else but in the reader’s mind.

  2. Suhel khan
    March 6, 2009

    Thanks Arthur for sharing your insights.

  3. Kugan
    March 29, 2009

    Hey Sushel

    I fully agree with you on “Branding is the process of creating an association between a symbol, object, emotion, perception and a product/company with the goal of driving loyalty and creating differentiation.”

    The the phrase “branding has a branding problem” is just a classic 😀

    Have you read Brand Failures by Matt Haig?

    • Suhel khan
      March 29, 2009

      Hi Kugan,

      Thanks for pointing me out to Matt’s book..I saw ur message googled it and i found quite interesting chapters on kellogs and Mc’s case.. i have ordered it & will be anxiously waiting to explore it further.

  4. onbrands
    April 9, 2009


    We tend to make things far too complicated.

    A brand is nothing less than the total collection of perceptions and associations that people have about an idea, place, person, company, etc. A brand is found in minds and hearts. Branding is different. It’s a verb. Branding is the action or actions of building perceptions and associations around an idea, place, person, company, etc.

    BrandSimple is one of the best books I’ve read on the business of brands and branding.

  5. Peter
    January 6, 2010

    Hi Suhel
    it always occured to me that the process of branding is always invariably linked with collateral development and placement rather than the act of ensuring that those associations are truly reflected in the brand. case in point, what can one make of most government brands?

    • Suhel Khan
      January 8, 2010

      Hi Peter,

      Thanks for commenting on the blog. You are right branding is linked with primarily logo, collateral, website and stuff like that and that is a general perception. Branding infact starts from there but it goes on to include even the dress of your front office staff to the way they speak or handle the visitors to the paintings that you put on your reception. The point is branding is all about projecting an image that you want your customers to see. These activities do happen in any organization but how many times do we consciously take decision keeping in mind the aspects of branding?

      About government brands, it depends how they are projected and treated like the destination branding & marketing are primarily government initiatives. example “uniquely Singapore” “Bavaria as a business destination” “switzerland” etc. But would really like you to throw some more light on this aspect.

  6. Sushi Take Away
    March 14, 2013

    I take pleasure in, result in I discovered exactly what I was looking for. You’ve ended my 4 day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye

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This entry was posted on February 28, 2009 by in Branding, Corporate Branding, Design, ebranding and tagged , , , .
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