Brand (marketing)

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Relationship between the legal and the marketing concept of the brand

The in marketing used term brand (. English brand , literally branding ) stands for all the properties in which the objects with a brand name associated, by competing objects of other brand names differ . The objects are traditionally goods and services , but increasingly also companies, people, municipalities and sports teams. Properties that make a purchase decision are referred to as "brand-defining".

Differentiation from the legal brand term

The term “brand” in the sense of marketing goes beyond the classic, legal understanding of the brand as a legally protected mark of origin (“trademark”).

According to the classic understanding of brands, it was sufficient if the prospective customers and buyers of a product were able to identify the manufacturer by means of a trademark . In the modern understanding of brands, a brand is only considered successful if the target groups are able to unequivocally identify the manufacturer even without a brand - for example based on the properties of its products.

The central question is: How do the objects that represent a brand name differ from competing objects of other brand names?

In order to enable the target groups to make this distinction, the brand term used in marketing is not limited to the trademarks, but also extends to all results of the marketing mix that the owner and target groups of the brand consider characteristic of the brand name (i.e. as brand-defining).

Functions of a brand

For the owner of a trademark, the brand is an instrument of product policy (see brand policy ):

  • For manufacturing companies and service companies , (manufacturer) brands or service brands offer the opportunity to emphasize the properties of their own products or services more clearly, to give them a profile ( image ) and thus differentiate them from comparable products from other providers.
  • For retail companies and trade associations of trade offer private label or store brands the opportunity to ask the "readily available" branded alternatives to the side and, at least their range in parts, a range image , it stand out to give comparable ranges of competitors and your own company to profile. Because of the lower burden of advertising costs, private labels can also be offered at lower sales prices than manufacturer brands and contribute to a favorable price image .

Brands make it easier for consumers to orientate themselves on the market. With the purchase of a manufacturer or dealer branded article , the consumer is not only acquiring an article of daily use or consumption; he should also be granted an ideal benefit, namely a quality promise linked to the marking of the goods (trademark, previously: trademark) with regard to the properties of the product and the company behind the brand. (For more information, see under branding and corporate branding .) In particular, the publication of comparative product tests has largely eliminated the psychological disadvantage of the less well-known trademarks compared to the more well-known manufacturer brands (“branded articles”).

Brand typology

The following types of brands are distinguished in marketing:

Brand character

From the point of view of the brand owner, the relevant target groups should be able to distinguish the products and offers of the brand owner from competing products and offers from other brand owners. A successful brand positioning is only possible if the products and offers have unmistakable characteristics.

The character of a brand is not defined by the trademarks, but by the typical properties of the objects that are associated with the brand name or are associated with the owner and the target groups of the brand.

The essential character-defining properties of a goods or service brand are its so-called brand values, above all the value proposition , the quality level and the price level . A corporate brand also includes the properties of all corporate elements that represent the company to its target and stakeholder groups (e.g. advertising , personnel , architecture , customer service ; see also moments of truth ).

The associations that the brand triggers in the members of its target groups (e.g. innovative, exclusive, high quality, reliable, iconic, inexpensive) are particularly decisive for the assessment of a brand's character . In this context, one also speaks of the appearance of the brand and the brand experience .

Brand building - brand management - brand reallocation

Depending on whether a brand already exists or not and what goals the brand owner is pursuing with a brand, they are faced with the following tasks:

The aspiration, perception and reality of a brand

The character of a brand includes not only the actual, but also the alleged and supposed properties of the branded objects. This distinction is relevant for the following reasons:

  • The properties communicated by the brand owner to the target groups may go beyond the actual , i.e. H. objectively verifiable properties of the branded objects. Especially in the case of products that in fact hardly differ from each other and are therefore easily interchangeable ( substitute goods ), the brand owners tend to "stage" differences to competing products. Particularly by emphasizing ideal benefit effects , an attempt is made to suggest an alleged unique position of the own brand .
  • The individual external images that target group members make of the supposed characteristics of the brand do not necessarily have to correspond to the self-image that the brand owner communicates of the characteristics of the brand.

Influence of brands on children and young people

Consumer socialization of children

Under socialization generally refers to learning behaviors with which an individual in the social system fits (Kroeber-Riel and Weinberg, 1999). An explanation for socialization is offered by the theories of social learning, which emphasize that learning arises in contact with the social environment and concerns dealing with the social environment.

The consumer socialization refers BEYOND to the introduction of an individual in the consumer culture of a society (Kroeber-Riel and Weinberg, 1999). To learn from brands, e.g. To explain e.g. learning the logo, one can apply different learning theories. For example, the combination of a product name with pleasant stimuli can be explained with behavioral theories based on the stimulus-response principle. Brand knowledge of children The brand knowledge of a child describes whether the child knows brands of different product groups and how many of them it can name in which contexts. The majority of studies show that children already have brand knowledge and that this correlates significantly with the age of the children.

The phenomenon of acceleration also plays a role in brand knowledge. It is assumed that in earlier years children not only master more and more words, but can also remember brand names earlier. The visual representation is particularly influential, so that easily recognizable figures such as B. Ronald McDonald can be used for years. This makes it possible to draw the children's little attention to the product in question.

In a study by Charlton et al. (1995) 4-14 year olds were read 5 well-known advertising slogans to children, which the children were asked to complete by mentioning the brand name or a second half of the sentence. The proportion of correctly completed advertising slogans was between 34% and 88%, whereby the results were dependent on the topicality and broadcast frequency of the correlating commercials. The advertising slogans were already known by preschoolers and their awareness increased continuously with age. Further studies suggest that children already know brands before they have a full command of the language. According to an estimate by McNeal (1999), 6-year-olds have a brand repertoire of around 200 brands. Brand Desires of Children According to Ward, Wackman and Wartella (1977), 5 steps are necessary to form brand preferences:

  • 1. Brand knowledge
  • 2. Selection of information about products
  • 3. Brand comparison
  • 4. Brand preference
  • 5. Use of information when making a purchase decision

The affective attitude of a brand is more important than the assessment of its usefulness (Pecheux and Derbaix, 1999), since the emotional effects persist. These often lead to brand loyalty. In children, according to Melzer-Lena, brand loyalty begins as early as the age of 2 and expresses itself e.g. B. in the fact that children point to a certain brand when shopping with their parents. McNeal limits this statement, however, because he suspects that showing is only a recognition of colors or the like and thus does not necessarily express a preference. But he also estimates that children start to evaluate brands at the age of 3–4. The children adopt their value judgments from the environment as their own. In some cases, children derive the value of a brand from the length of time it has been known.

Influencing factors

Children have an infinite number of influencing factors, making it difficult to determine how many factors there really are and which ones have the greatest influence. The Wyckham and Collins-Dodd brand learning model attempts to divide these influencing factors into categories. Seven different factors are named: Exposure in Market, Advertising, Peers, Parents, Direct Use, Age and Interest in Product Category. These influence the formation of cognition (states of consciousness) in relation to products, brands and advertising. This cognition, in turn, is decisive for the child's behavior.

Explosure in the market describes the influences that affect the child through his participation in market events. On average, a child visits a store for the first time at 2 months of age. At the age of 10, it enters around 250 stores a year. Market communication by companies with the target group children is described as the influence of advertising . However, this also includes inadvertent contact by children with advertising. The advertising effect on children is much higher than the effect on adults. Companies spend a lot of money hoping to build brand loyalty among children.

As peer role models are called the children of those children judge their values and behavior. These can be friends, older children, popular children or even favored children (children who, for example, have a certain toy). Frequent conversations with peers influence the child's wishes, preferences and the specific buying behavior. This influence increases with age. Parents control the consumer socialization of children through communication, role model effect and reinforcement mechanisms. This socialization depends on the education and occupation of the parents, as well as the family structure, the family income and the style of upbringing. The influence of parents is gradually being supplanted by peers and the media.

The use / possession of a product increases brand knowledge significantly. Satisfactory use can lead to a positive attitude or even brand loyalty. Disappointment from unrealistic promises made by advertising leads to negative attitudes. Children's brand knowledge depends on age. With age, children's cognitive development, interest in products and brand knowledge increase. In addition, age controls the influence of the other factors, so the influence of peers increases with age and the influence of parents decreases. The interest in a product category in turn depends on brand knowledge and it increases with the positive use of a product. In addition, the interest depends on gender, age and environment.

Child marketing

Childlike consumer culture: As children Marketing is "past the parents' understanding of the direct alignment of the paragraph or sale of products and services with appropriate means and measures directly to the children (Effertz 2017). This is particularly important for companies because children and young people have large sums of money at their disposal. In Germany, children have around 25 billion euros at their disposal every year through pocket money and holiday jobs, etc. Furthermore, she moves her parents to buy something worth around 70 billion euros a year. By means of children's marketing, the companies try to bind children to brands as early as possible and to establish long-term brand and product loyalty.

Most of the expenditures for children's marketing are found in the toy industry, around 184 billion euros and in the food industry 3 billion euros, with ¼ being spent on confectionery alone. A study of food advertisements on TV has shown that 78% are directed at children and that between 2010 and 2014 there was an increase in advertising for unhealthy food from 19.19% to 26.29%. A number of problems have been linked to child marketing in recent years.

Health : In Germany, the proportion of obese adolescents is 10%, with the prevalence increasing with age. In addition, the majority of obesity cases in Germany occur before the age of 20. The proportion of alcohol intoxications has also increased in recent years. It should be noted that the earlier the consumption of alcohol starts, the more sustainable it will be in later life. Economic : The health damage mentioned also incurs economic costs. Obesity creates around 63 billion euros in social costs every year. In addition, there are 79 billion euros from smoking and 40 billion euros from harmful alcohol consumption. Together, that adds up to more than 180 billion euros in social costs, only due to consumer behavior that is harmful to health. These figures include direct and indirect costs. However, the costs are likely to continue to rise in the next few years, as many costs arise from long-term damage years later. Materialism: Many children and young people use materialism as a coping strategy in order to deal with low self-esteem and difficult social situations. This leads to a consumer symbolism. Certain modes of consumption are used to solve problems or generally for interaction in a social context.

The aim of children's marketing is to create an image for the products. (Image corresponds to the perception and imagination of a product provided with certain qualities). The process of forming preferences for a certain product in children is then to be equated with an adjustment process between one's own perceived personality image and the desired self. That means, through the consumption of a product there is an approach to the desired self, if the product promises corresponding qualities. Child marketing from a neurological point of view

The decision-making process is still cognitively different from that of adults. The relevant brain areas that are needed for a complicated decision are not yet fully developed in children. The orbifrontal cortex, which we need for impulse control and rational evaluation, still works separately from the mesolimbic system which is responsible for the feelings. Because there is still no link between these two systems, we initially perceive many objects unemotionally until they are linked to an emotion through advertising. That is why children make their purchasing decisions with the help of evaluation and decision heuristics. The sunk-cost-effect (Bazerman 2006) states that children in the defiant phase irrationally hold on to a suboptimal appearance for a long time if they have made efforts in this direction beforehand. The opportunity effect means that the costs of alternatively used options are perceived as lower than they actually are. This means that the costs of the consumption decision are perceived as irrelevant and only the results count. Due to the projection distortion (Loewenstein et al. 2003), children cannot infer the amount of content from the packaging size. They underestimate the degree of similarity between the event now and future events, resulting in an inconsistent assessment. In addition to the evaluation and decision heuristics, there are also perceptual effects and emotions that make it easier for children to make a decision.

The brain constructs and stores a network of brands of feelings and motivations from individual stimuli (Weiss et al. 2006). Therefore, a single perceived aspect of the construct is enough to activate the entire brand network. In this way, spontaneous purchases can be made that are impulsive and without thinking about the product. Often there is also a somatic marking, that is, certain perceived situations are linked to an emotion and this serves as an affect heuristic a decision aid when this situation occurs again. Therefore, emotional advertising can lead to emotional conditioning and associate a product with a specific emotion.

Influence of brands on young people

Adolescence includes the ages of approximately 10 to 22 years. It is a phase of reorientation, the search for identity and insecurity, and you break away from your parents here. Youth marketing makes sense because in Germany young people have free disposal over more than 80 billion euros a year. Since they are generally very willing and open to spend, this is an enormous revenue potential for companies.

The following content refers to Bamert, T., & Oggenfuss, P. (2005). The two most important functions of brands are orientation and serving as a status symbol. Brands offer support and security in purchasing decisions; they can also be used to identify, differentiate or make clear that you belong to a peer group. Through brands, young people can present themselves and can function as a symbolic means of communication.

The model of brand socialization of young people differentiates the needs of brands and their development according to three age groups. In the orientation phase (12–13 years) brands are consciously perceived, one is open to media and brands and looks for support and orientation. In the cutting phase (14-16 years), young people tend to show a critical and negative attitude. Everything is questioned and assessed ambiguously, which makes new brands personally important. In the independent phase (17-18 years), brand relationships and opinions about them are consolidated. In addition to peers, parents and television, social media are influencing factors. Social media is becoming an increasingly important part of young people's lives. In addition to entertainment, it also serves as an advertising platform. As a result, they are very much influenced by it. Two psychological aspects that play a role in the influence of brands on young people are, on the one hand, open dissonance behavior . This describes the process after the purchase, in which perceptible discrepancies are reduced and only advantages are shown to the buyer. At this moment the buyer is more receptive to advertising. In addition, people judge brands that they have known from childhood better in terms of image, brand personality and price-performance ratio.

In summary, one can say that the influence of brands on young people is enormous, as the functions already mentioned play a central role in many lives. What can you do about it? As parents, one should take the desire for branded clothing as an opportunity to discuss and deal with the children. One should emphasize the importance and cost of clothing. In general, it's important to be open about beauty and identity. As a parent, you can also adjust your pocket money budget. Ultimately, however, the best cure for suggestibility is self-confidence and self-esteem.

See also


  • Arnd Zschiesche, Oliver Errichiello: Brand instead of opinion. The laws of brand management in 50 answers. Offenbach, 2018.
  • Franz-Rudolf Esch : Strategy and Technology of Brand Management. 6th edition. 2010.
  • Klaus Brandmeyer, Peter Pirk, Andreas Pogoda, Christian Prill: Make brands strong . 2008.
  • Henrik Sattler, Franziska Völckner: Brand Policy . 2nd Edition. 2008.
  • Henning Meyer (Ed.): Brand Management 2008/2009 . 2008.
  • Oliver Errichiello, Arnd Zschiesche : Brand power in medium-sized companies. 2008.
  • Carsten Baumgarth: Brand Policy. 3. Edition. 2008.
  • Klaus Heine: The Concept of Luxury Brands . Luxury Brand Management, No. 1, ISSN  2193-1208 .
  • Florian Langenscheidt (Ed.): German Brand Lexicon . 1st edition. German Standards Editions, Cologne 2007, ISBN 978-3-8349-0629-8 .
  • Arnd Florack, Martin Scarabis, Ernst Primosch (eds.): Psychology of brand management . 2007, ISBN 978-3-80063-352-4 .
  • Kevin Lane Keller: Strategic Brand Management. 3. Edition. 2007.
  • Julia Mährlein: The sports star in Germany: The development of the top athlete from hero to brand. Sierke, Göttingen 2009, ISBN 978-3-86844-130-7 .
  • Allen P. Adamson: BrandSimple. How the Best Brands Keep it Simple and Succeed. 2006.
  • Alexander Deichsel : Brand Sociology. 2nd ext. Output. 2006.
  • Heribert Meffert , Christoph Burmann, Martin Koers (Eds.): Brand Management. 2nd Edition. 2005
  • Franz-Rudolf Esch (Ed.): Modern brand management. 2nd Edition. 2005.
  • Richard Linxweiler: Brand Design. Develop brands, successfully implement brand strategies. 2nd Edition. 2004.
  • David A. Aaker: Building Strong Brands . 1996.
  • Bamert, T., & Oggenfuss, P. (2005). The influence of brands on young people. University of Zurich: Chair of Marketing.
  • Effertz, T., & Teichert, T. (2010). Child marketing from a neurological point of view: Recommendations for ethically correct design of the marketing mix. Journal für Betriebswirtschaft, 60 (3), 203–236.
  • Effertz, T. (2017) The dark side of child consumer culture: Child marketing and its economic costs. In Schinkel, S. & Herrmann I. (Eds.) Aesthetics in Childhood and Youth: Socialization in the Field of Tension between Creativity, Consumption and Distinction (pp. 77–94). Transcript publishing house
  • Götze, E. (2003). Brand knowledge of 3 to 5 year old children and their influence on brand decisions of their caregivers. Vienna, Service-Verlag.
  • Thomas, P., & Clambach, M. (2013) Young Living Worlds: Perspectives for Politics, Education and Society

Notes and individual references

  1. In the case of companies, the objects are strictly speaking only those elements with which the public comes into contact.
  2. The brand name is the central trademark of a brand (in the form of a word mark or a word-figurative mark ).
  3. Strictly speaking, it is a firm declaration of intent or self-commitment , not a contractually binding promise that would give the customer the right to liability in the event of non-compliance .
  4. For difficulties in marking services, see service mark .
  5. Julia Kramer: Metamorphoses in Sport. The transformation of the top athlete from hero to brand. Arnd Krüger , Swantje Scharenberg (ed.): Times for heroes - times for celebrities in sport . Münster: LIT 2014, pp. 195–212; ISBN 978-3-643-12498-2