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Business Bursts: Branding

Updated Wednesday, 25 November 2015
Your brand is more than a logo. Business Bursts explains the value of a brand—and how to cherish one.

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Dr Andrew Lindridge, Senior Lecturer in Marketing
A brand is a term, symbol, value or something as associated with a product which helps a consumer create an understanding of their opinion towards it.  So for example it could be British Airways, you know, the ‘World’s Favourite Airline’, but they’re phrases or images we associate with a product, and which gives the company or organisation an advantage over its competitors, because it doesn’t need to communicate anything more than at brand values, or its image it’s presenting.

Dr Terry O’Sullivan, Senior Lecturer in Management
A product if you like is, if you could imagine such a thing, is just a sort of a basic functional thing that you buy to do something.  So it might be a pair of shoes because you need to go for a walk, or it might be a car because you need to get from A to B in a slightly more sophisticated way.  And what branding does is it imbues that basic product with a set of added values.

Baukjen de Swaan Aron, Co-founder: Isabella Oliver
With the Isabelle Oliver brand, what we wanted to establish Isabella Oliver as being as modern, confident and sexy, really like our customers.  We want our customers to be able to walk down the street and if they’ve got Isabella Oliver tote bag to feel proud, to feel this is a brand that I’d like to be associated with. The pillars behind the brand are having great connections that women a) want to wear, b) that stand the test of time and c) are extremely comfortable.

Dr Andrew Lindridge
Benetton is a telling clothes company, which in the ‘80s and ‘90s had a creative director who was apparently given unlimited power to design advertisements on whatever he wanted and which bore no relationship to Benetton Clothing.  And he decided to undertake a series of advertising campaigns to promote social awareness on topical issues, which ranged from the Catholic Church, illegal arms to Africa and oil pollution.  And one that particularly came to mind featured an advertisement of two young girls, about the age of three or four, with a white girl who was white as could be, blonde hair, which was in curls, pale blue eyes, sitting next to a black girl who had her hair moulded into two spikes on her head, and the insinuation was, was that the white girl represented the angel or goodness and a black girl represented the devil by the horns on her head.

Now Benetton was criticised for this advertisement by people saying, this is offensive, this is racist because you’re playing upon old stereotypes, and Benetton’s argument was that if you saw that advertisement and you immediately associated the white person with the angel and a black person with the devil then that is your own subconscious racism coming through, it’s not ours.  We just have two beautiful children, you’re interpreting it negatively.

Dr Terry O’Sullivan
It’s a fascinating area, but it’s an area as I said, that can lead to some quite sharp controversy, because at the end of the day what people are saying is that consumers are being sold an empty image and having to pay more for it, rather than just being sold a basic rational product or commodity.


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