[Submitted by CA. Divya Balasubramanian,
Chartered Accountant]

January 20, 2012

What’s in a name quoted Shakespeare “A rose is a rose is a rose”. Then why is it that a name when attached to a product/service with quality and consumer likability becomes a Brand. In today’s era of product madness, the supply seems to have gone spiraling out of control. The consumer has identical options to choose from. The question is what segregates identical product/service? The answer is simple Brand.

We refer to photocopying as Xerox (Brand), a child doesn’t say cola it says Pepsi or Coke.

Although records from the 13th century indicate that casks of whiskey and farm animals were "branded"—or seared—with some kind of mark to identify ownership, the word didn't take on its current commercial connotation until the 18th century and the First Industrial Revolution.

Between 1870 and 1920 alone, i.e. 50 years most of the brands we know today were born, such as Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Mercedes, Nestlé, and Marks & Spencer.

The key aspect is what made them grow from Name to Brand. Was it quality, consistency, connecting with consumers, awareness of products/services, global presence or mere advertising?

Brands have 10 vital elements. Any one of them can constitute a brand. So it’s not about too many it’s about just getting 1 thing bang on right.

  • Name: The word or words used to identify the company, product, service, concept
  • Logo: The visual trademark that identifies the brand
  • Tagline or Catchphrase: Who can ever forget “Hamara Bajaj”
  • Shapes: The distinctive shape of the Mercedes Logo
  • Graphics: The dynamic ribbon is also a trademarked part of Coca-Cola's brand.
  • Color: Owens-Corning is the only brand of fiberglass insulation that can be pink.
  • Sounds: A unique tune or set of notes can "denote" a brand: Titan or a rather not a brand sound Doordarshan
  • Movement: Lamborghini has trademarked the upward motion of its car doors.
  • Smells: Scents, such as the rose-jasmine-musk of Chanel No. 5 is trademarked.
  • Taste: KFC has trademarked its special recipe of 11 herbs and spices for fried chicken.

Again a brand is distinct from a global brand. None of the effort will ever tantamount to making a brand the BIG NAME it strives for. For that it’s all about thinking Borderless. The aspect of business is that the product/service should reach the consumer. Where did global barriers come into the spectrum? A truly global product/service does not have barriers.

So coming a full circle to a rhetoric statement, a brand is built by the product. It’s going to be a successful brand only if the product is good.

Now coming to our financial sector, which we understand best. Why do some companies stand out to others? Why are a group of firms called the BIG4 accounting firms? It’s because they have been imparting a certain standard of service on a global scale. It’s not that these firms never make mistakes but there has to be something right going on for them. It’s about getting the rights more than the wrongs. Arthur Anderson got more wrongs than rights and we know that history. So a brand does generate a certain amount of Revenue for them. But its ultimately the product or service that the brings in the cash boxes rolling.

Above all what Brand must keep in mind is that the job is not yet over "You can never maintain a brand; you have to keep building it.