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Brand Power

July 12, 2023 at 8:47 pm | Economic Affairs

Pakistan, being the 5th largest country dominated by 64% of youth, is a big market for brands.

Ghulam Murtaza

A brand is a fictitious person who, by and large, has characteristics of human beings. The desire to recognize oneself, products, and corporate entities is as old as human beings. By default, we tend to be looking different, prominent, credible, more value-adding, high-paid, protected, and identifiable.

So, every living person is a brand with some value one holds. In the corporate world, it’s known as a type of product manufactured by a particular company under a particular name.

Brands and branding can be traced back to the eons,5.0000 BC when hunters would use hand-crafted weapons of specific ‘brands’ to succeed and lead in hunting. The origin of the “proto-brands”, or ancestral brands, was evident in the Lascaux Caves of Southern France.

From the evolutionary perspective of brands, people engraved their cattle to identify and market their goods for milking, plowing, and racing. For almost 4000 years, brands have been used to establish livestock, starting approximately in the year 2000 B.C. Non-branded cattle were known as ‘maverick’, which meant unmarked calf.”

These cattle came from Texas’s rancher, Samuel Augustus Maverick, who, after the American civil war, decided that since all other cattle were branded, his would have no mark. Having no mark was also a brand to identify.

The cave paintings from South-Western Europe, from the Stone Age and Early Bronze Age, reflect branded cattle, as well as paintings and Egyptian funerary monuments, approximately 4000 years old.

Initially, “the brands were painted on with pine tar or paint. Chinese used marks on ceramic goods’ Likewise, Indians, Greeks, and Romans had different engravings on their goods. Some of the earliest examples of marked pottery appeared in China 4.000 – 5.000 years ago. The Grecian and Egyptian museums are decorated by marks placed on vases and swords that denote not only the makers but also the names of the merchants who sold them to others in the marketplace.

Archaeologists have identified about 1.000 different Roman marks in use during the first three centuries of the Roman empire. Proofs that testify to the existence of the branded articles also appear outside the Roman Empire: “There were trademarks on pottery in Mesopotamia (now Iraq) dating as far as 3000 B.C.

Pharaohs used to identify their products. The brick-liners in ancient Egypt also placed symbols on their products. Quarry marks and stonecutters’ signs have been discovered on materials used in Egyptian buildings as much as 6.000 years ago.

Now let’s talk about how the evolutionary process entered the modern world and became part of the standardization and ceremonial laws framed to promote and protect brands.

In the 1950s, Procter and Gamble, General Foods, and Unilever set new dimensions to the brand management and marketing we pursue today. They improved the quality levels of products. A brand manager was assigned to provide a distinctive product that identified it from indistinguishable competitors.

This required an understanding of the targeted consumer psychology and behaviors, what we call a “branded proposition” that offered functional and emotional value. Over time, the emotional value would create a buffer against functional parity.

As long as the brand was perceived to offer superior value to its competitors, the company offering the brand could charge a little more for its products. If this brand “bonus” was bigger than the cost of building a brand (the additional staff and often advertising costs), the company came out ahead.

In the middle of the 19th century, Tide, Kraft, and Lipton set new benchmarks for the brand mix, much more than the logo.

Soon after, the concepts leaped over the borders to spike every country, including Pakistan. Fashion and celebrities are deeply correlated. Legendary Noor Jehan and Wahid Murad especially flaunted the high street youth in the 50s and 70s. In the 70s, fashion cult surfaced many new brands in Pakistan, which soon aromatized worldwide in desi circles. The digital era has taken this cult to the vertex.

Now, it’s getting an elevated investment podium in the country, and almost 1000s of brands are circulating in Pakistan. In the last three decades, they mushroomed on the retail landscape of Pakistan. The foundation of the Chainstore Association of Pakistan is another milestone the country witnessed in 2020, which spurred brand cognition by organizing two retail summits.

Pakistan, being the 5th largest country dominated by 64% of youth is a big market for brands. Despite the rapid growth of brands, we are still undersized, especially in the international market, resultantly hoodwinked by other countries who named our many products. The below awareness of the brand’s power needs to be disseminated.

High profitability is the top benefit of any brand. People pay for the satisfaction and confidence associated with a brand. It would not be staggering if a thing of Rs.100 is sold for Rs.500 due to brand power.

Identification gives the power to stand out products in the 1000s. The customer does not have to brawl to find out the product best suited to him/her.

Brands create a competitive edge by differentiating your brand in the marketplace. The customers find your product, whereas the generical finds customers.

You may not have to introduce your products every time. The customer has already gone through this process. Even new brands become easier to launch and promote.

Customer loyalty and value sharing are other big brand advantages. Customers are connected emotionally to the brands and own them psychologically.

A brand enhances the credibility of your products and ease of selling. You do not have to work hard to sell.

Due to more profitability, you have the margin to improve your quality to raise customer satisfaction. This brings one out of the quality and services comprise of the fear of cost. Hence, attain a bigger canvas to paint.

A brand gives you the power of publicity without paying anything. Especially premium brands are widely flaunted, which is not only free marketing but also luring others.

Brands are registered; hence it ensures the protection of your business.

Logo is the essence of the brand. While choosing logo, we must ensure that it should be attractive, suggestive, long remembering, unique, should not be time-bound, distinctive, concise, clear, and easy.

The categories of brands have touched the 21 figures, but the major ones are corporate, product, services, and personal brands.

It’s imperative to disseminate brand cognition as a public service message. More coordinated and integrated efforts are needed to make inroads into the international market. International customers are now only a single click away, and it’s never been so easy to sell the products.

Just imagine how KFC, McDonald, and Coca-Cola captured the world market due to the staggering power of brands.

The author is a freelance writer and Secretary General PAAPAM.

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