Branded items

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A branded article or a branded product is a material good that is provided with one or more trademarks (usually a word-image mark ). The brand to which the trademark refers can be a manufacturer's mark or a trademark . Branded articles can be found under both consumer goods and capital goods .

As a rule, a branded article has properties that distinguish it from products of other brands (see Brand (Marketing) ). With badge engineering , however, the same or almost identical branded items are offered under different brand names.

Branded goods is a collective term for branded goods (as an antonym to "unbranded / unbranded / unmarked goods").

Differentiation from the term "brand (marketing)"

The terms "branded goods" and " brand " are closely related, but must not be equated:

  • There are brands not only for goods (goods brands), but also for services ( service brands ).

The following also applies to material goods:

  • A brand only comprises those properties of a branded product in which it differs from competing products of other brands.
  • If a brand is an umbrella brand or a range brand , various products (branded items) can belong to it.
  • A brand includes not only the actual, but also the (according to the brand owner) supposed and the (according to target groups) supposed properties of the branded goods belonging to the brand.

The "Branded Articles" system

With unbranded goods as well as with unknown branded goods, customers are often unable to assess the quality and the benefits / damage effects of the product. However, with different consequences:

Unbranded goods

Branded goods need not necessarily be worse than branded goods. If unbranded goods (e.g. fruit, vegetables, plants) are sold by a stationary or outpatient retailer who is interested in regular customers , the customer can assume that the retailer pays attention to quality when purchasing the goods in order not to spoil his customers disappoint.

However, manufacturers and retailers of unbranded goods are often only interested in short-term economic success (the so-called "quick mark"). After a deal has been concluded, the dealers often disappear irrevocably from the view of the buyer (affects parts of outpatient trading). If they do not do it (brick-and-mortar retail), when customers complain, they point out that the latter had to be clear about taking a risk by purchasing unbranded goods . High-pressure selling is typical for many manufacturers and retailers of unbranded goods . They don't care if the buyers are dissatisfied with the goods. Since the manufacturers cannot be identified by the end customers, they do not need to fear negative sanctions from the end customers in the event of defective goods .

Branded goods control circuit

As a consumer-friendly alternative to this “ after us the deluge ” mentality, the concept of the branded product is based on a control loop between the brand owner and the end customer: If the users / consumers are disappointed with a branded product, they “punish” the brand owner by abstaining from buying. This feedback (Engl. Feedback ) forces him to rectify the branded product, cheaper offer or withdraw from the market.

Advantages for the customer / buyer

In detail, a branded article offers its customers / buyers numerous advantages:

  • The brand increases market transparency for the customer : If the customer recognizes a trademark in a product that is known to him (e.g. from advertising or from a previous purchase) (= brand recognition function) and associates it with this symbol certain (positive or negative) characteristics ( brand awareness ), can he targeted in a buying situation for or against the product with this brand decide (= information and orientation function of the mark).
  • If a buyer is dissatisfied with a branded item (e.g. its price-performance ratio) , he or she can forego buying this branded item again (or avoid other products of the same brand).
  • In addition, the buyer can tell other potential buyers of his negative experiences with this branded article and, if necessary, advise them not to buy the branded article (or other products of this brand) (= negative word of mouth ).
  • Since a legally protected trademark may only be used by the trademark owner (= brand monopoly function), the buyer can identify the trademark owner (in the worst case with the help of the trademark register , provided the trademark is not used illegally). If certain legal requirements are met, the buyer can hold the manufacturer liable (e.g. product liability , producer liability ).
  • If the brand owner is interested in a long-term customer relationship, he will - at least in theory - endeavor in his own interest to not only satisfy the buyers of his products once but with each subsequent purchase. From this self-interest results - also according to theory - a kind of self-commitment of the brand owner to meet the justified expectations of the customers.
  • A branded article that (or its brand) is established on the market and should therefore be free from negative surprises, not only has utility value for the buyer , but also added value . This added value consists in the security or certainty - so to speak, a " promise " of the brand owner - that the brand owner has done everything to ensure that the branded item not only fulfills the standard properties and benefits that are usual for the brand, but also the special promises communicated by the brand owner.
    This “construction” gives rise to the central concept of the branded goods concept: “Permanent reliability” (motto: “You know what you have”). That means: On the part of the brand owner, the customer should be able to trust that the desired branded item is always and everywhere
    • with the known / promised properties (= unitary product) and the resulting material-functional and ideal-symbolic benefits
    • in the known / promised quality (= uniform quality)
    • at the known / promised price level (= unit price level)
    • is available in the known / promised sales outlets (= "ubiquity")
      (= trust protection function of the brand). The brand acts as a signal for quality of service and reduces the risk perceived by the customer due to the information asymmetry. - In the case of a manufacturer's brand, the manufacturer "vouches" for the customer , in the case of a private label, the dealer.
  • Many branded articles donate their users not only an intersubjectively verifiable, material-technical basic benefit , but also a subjectively perceived, psychosocial additional benefit (see benefit scheme of the Nuremberg School ). These branded articles enjoy an appreciation in the public or in certain sections of society that goes beyond the functional value of the products in question. Owning such branded items is convenient for their owners
    • as a means of profiling one's own personality (in the belief that the characteristics of the brand personality (e.g. cool, dynamic, creative) would radiate to the owner of the branded product),
    • as a means of recognition by the social environment and to increase social prestige ( status symbol ) (= symbolic function of the brand) or
    • as “proof” of belonging to a social group that defines itself (among other things) by owning such branded items (= brand's demonstration function).
Phenomena like this are explored by brand psychology and brand sociology .

Disadvantages and risks for the brand owner

For the owner of a brand, a branded item is associated with a number of disadvantages and risks:

  • The introduction and management of a branded article (or a brand) are associated with considerable expenditure in terms of personnel, time and money.
  • The promotion of the branded item (or brand) consumes a significant portion of the profit from the sale of the item.
  • The brand owner runs the risk of failure (“flop”) due to errors in the marketing mix or competing (e.g. copycat) products .
  • Due to the generally higher selling price of branded goods, the brand owner runs the risk that very price-conscious customers reduce their sales because they - temporarily or permanently - resort to cheaper unbranded goods.
  • By marking the article, the brand owner emerges from anonymity , becomes identifiable (e.g. by dealers and end customers) and may have to face the responsibility of third parties (e.g. buyers of his products). This means that he can actually be held legally responsible for breaches of duty .

If a branded article (or a brand) is successfully established on the market, it (or she) offers advantages to customers / buyers and also to the other participants in the sales chain (i.e. manufacturers, dealers).

Advantages and opportunities for the brand owner

The strategic decision of a manufacturer or retailer to produce or trade a branded article also gives the brand owner advantages and opportunities. If the manufacturer or retailer were not convinced that the positive effects outweigh the negative, they would bring a (much easier to use) unbranded item onto the market.

In detail, the brand owner has the following opportunities and advantages:

  • Since a branded article has a name , the manufacturer can name the article and advertise it directly to the end customer . This means that he is no longer dependent on or dependent on the advertising and advertising behavior of retailers.
  • If the brand owner succeeds in gaining and maintaining the trust of the buyer in his branded article, he will have to do less persuasion than the owner of a new brand or the manufacturer / dealer of an unknown unbranded product for the time being for the purpose of customer loyalty .
  • To the extent that it is worth something to buyers to purchase a branded article with the “good feeling” of being immune to unpleasant surprises, the brand owner can capitalize the buyer's trust in his reliability through price and volume premiums. That means: either the brand owner can demand a higher price for the added value of reliability, or the market rewards the added value with higher or more stable demand. - The same applies to any additional benefit (see above) that a branded article donates to its users.
  • If the brand is an established umbrella brand or a range brand , the trust of customers / buyers in the branded item also radiates to other items of the same brand ( image transfer ). That means: The other articles of the brand also benefit from the opportunities and advantages that the brand owner derives from a branded article, because the customers are more benevolent towards these articles than products of less well-known brands or unbranded goods without closer examination.
  • If the consumers / users are satisfied with a branded article (e.g. its price-performance ratio) , the probability increases that the buyer
    • buy the same product again at the next opportunity (= higher repurchase rate),
    • also buy other products of this brand (= brand loyalty , brand loyalty),
    • Give preference to products of this brand over products of other brands (= brand preference) or
    • Recommend the branded article (or the brand) to third parties (= positive word of mouth ).

On the part of the buyer, this requires both brand awareness and brand trust .

Advantages and opportunities for trade

The trade also benefits from customer loyalty to a branded article or branded product:

  • The probability that the branded goods ordered by a retailer will actually find buyers is fundamentally greater than with unbranded goods (= lower sales risk ) due to the higher appreciation by customers . However, higher subjective appreciation is mainly based on greater awareness of intensively advertised brands. If objectively comparative product tests show the lower quality of well-known brands compared to less well-known brands, the retail trade accrues corresponding advantages from brand rankings.
  • Due to the loyalty of the customers ( customer loyalty ) to branded goods, the planning of the purchase quantities is generally more predictable for the retailer than for unbranded goods, the properties and benefits of which are more difficult for the customer to assess.
  • The probability that a retailer will achieve a higher gross profit by selling branded goods is fundamentally greater than with unbranded goods due to the higher sales price. On the other hand, well-known branded goods are particularly suitable for attractive price reductions, in which the foregoing gross profit is compensated by higher inventory turnover, which in turn can lead to financial advantages.

Quality of the branded goods control loop

The trust of customers in the reliability of a brand owner is only justified, however, if the control loop between the brand owner and the end customer works. This control loop is based on the fact that a brand owner, whose product does not meet expectations, gets to feel the loss of trust of the end customer so soon and so clearly (feedback) that he either improves the branded product, adjusts the (excessive) price to the low quality or takes the branded product off the market. This feedback works better the more the following conditions are met:

  • The branded article is a substitute good that can be easily replaced : If there is a continuing or renewed demand, dissatisfied customers can switch to at least one other, at least equivalent or even better branded article (example: bread) (= competition from alternative offers).
  • The branded article is tested as soon as possible after its market launch by a well-known, independent and trustworthy consumer protection organization (e.g. Stiftung Warentest ). As a result, as many potential buyers as possible can incorporate the test judgment into their purchase decision.
  • The branded article has a relatively short average lifespan or useful life (e.g. yoghurt). The more easily the quality and the benefits / damage effects of the branded article can be finally assessed and communicated to other potential buyers. All the more likely, a buying situation occurs in which customers switch to alternative branded articles and can “punish” the brand owner for inadequate quality.
  • There is quick and easy communication between previous and potential buyers of a branded product . This means:
    • As many buyers of a branded product as possible share their experiences with the branded product as soon as possible. It is important to state how long and how intensively you have been using the branded article. In the case of branded articles with a longer lifespan or useful life, an initially positive impression can turn into negative with increasing use or consumption of the branded article, so that initially positive assessments may turn out to be premature or premature over time (example: car).
    • As many potential buyers as possible learn about these experiences and take them into account - appropriately and with the necessary critical distance - in their own purchase decision.

Special features in the paragraph

One of the special responsibilities of a branded goods manufacturer is that the end customers purchase the branded goods in such a way that they

  • know the essential product properties (e.g. condition, operation, shelf life),
  • acquire the goods in perfect condition,
  • are satisfied with the use or consumption of the goods,
  • can contact the manufacturer quickly and easily in the event of complaints and
  • be satisfied quickly in the event of justified complaints.

Many branded goods manufacturers support retailers in achieving these goals, for example through advertising or sales promotion measures .

In the case of branded articles that require intensive advice, manufacturers often restrict distribution to specialist retailers . This is usually combined with training courses for specialist sales staff by the manufacturer.

Manufacturers and retailers of branded goods do not always pursue common interests. In response to these trade- offs , manufacturers of branded goods often choose to sell their products directly to end customers, bypassing retailers. This is done in the following way:

  • Factory sale ( factory outlet , factory outlet)
  • Sales through our own stationary branches
  • Sales through our own sales force
  • Sales or order acceptance by phone ( call center )
  • Sale or order acceptance via the Internet ( online shop )
  • Dropship (factory dispatch, factory dispatch).

Direct sales have several advantages for manufacturers (often also for customers). So can manufacturers

  • organize sales and distribution according to your own ideas and responsibility,
  • offer the end customer lower prices, since the margins for wholesale and retail are eliminated,
  • Communicate directly with the end customer in order to find out unfiltered about the ideas, wishes, suggestions, reactions and complaints of the end customers ("listening to the customer"), as well as
  • present the manufacturer's brand in its entirety (“brand world”) to the end customer (see also Brandland ).

History of the branded product

The story of the branded product is also a story of brand thinking and branding concepts.

Brands are as old as the supra-regional trade in antiquity . The first markings were already part of trade in the Egyptian, Greek and Roman empires. Artists signed their works and there were workshop marks on products as an expression of special quality.

In the Middle Ages, marks of origin, property and guild marks were used to identify the manufacturer of a product or the trading company. Pronounced brand quality first developed the changes with the endorsement of special trading masters or houses. In particular, the trademarks used by trading companies, their house and court trademarks, usually provided with a cross symbol (confirming quality and reliability), mark the beginning of commercial goods marking.

In modern times, the commercial importance of strategic branding was recognized at an early stage by, for example, Josiah Wedgwood (porcelain manufacturer in England) in the 18th century . At that time, however, these were only isolated phenomena. In Germany, Farina (since 1709) and Meißener porcelain (since 1710) are among the oldest branded articles. From the middle of the 19th century , the concept of the brand became a widespread phenomenon .

As a result of industrialization and the associated mass production of standardized products, as well as the increasing distance between manufacturer and consumer, many brands that are still known today emerged, such as Maggi ( 1887 ) and Persil ( 1907 ). Among them was Coca-Cola , invented by John Pemberton , which was touted as a stimulating headache and nerve remedy (also against depression ). Later the branding concept spread to all sorts of household products: tea , coffee , soaps , detergents , shoe polish , cigarettes and so on. Firms like Kellogg’s , Heinz , Cadbury , Henkel , Lever Bros. and Procter & Gamble had a boom.

Since the 1950s, brands have continued to develop in parallel with the growing importance of marketing . While manufacturer brands initially dominated, private labels gained increasing importance in the second half of the 1960s . In the 1970s and 1980s, these initially led to increasing price polarization of brands in luxury and cheap brands. Since the 1990s, the private labels have been able to distinguish themselves and establish themselves through the use of modern brand management and psychostrategic brand orientation with a high level of quality awareness. Today they cover a wide range of articles, from generic brands to so-called premium brands.

The development towards a service society and the increasing globalization since the 1980s are reflected in the increasing importance of service brands and international brands. Since the 1990s, global brands ( umbrella brands ) have been on the advance due to the merger and takeover boom; after cross-border company takeovers, however, numerous established individual brands are only carelessly maintained and go under.

Brand name names become independent in linguistic usage

Some branded article names have become the epitome of a product type in society's consciousness. They are often used in everyday language when the speaker is unclear which brand is really present in the specific situation. Classic examples are “4711” (for cologne , 1881), “ Odol ” (for mouthwash , 1895), “ Nivea ” (for skin cream , 1911), “ Tempo ” (for paper handkerchief , 1929), “ UHU ” (for all-purpose glue , 1932) or " Tesa " (for transparent adhesive tape , 1936).

The situation is similar with the term “ awakening ”. It found its way into the Duden dictionary in 1907 and goes back to a branded article that is popularly known as the “mason jar”. Preserving jars from the “J. Weck u. Co. ”( Wehr-Öflingen ) enjoyed a unique position on the market at that time . They were marked with the word mark “J. WECK ”(1906), which referred to the company founder Johann Carl Weck (who resigned in 1902) .

Services as "branded goods"

In a figurative sense, services (i.e. non-material economic goods) can also be understood as branded goods. However, this is only the case if it can be recognized by means of a trademark who the “ supplier ” (contractor) of the service is (for further details: see service mark ).

In this sense, well- known personalities (e.g. artists , athletes ) market their economic potential similar to a branded item with the help of a manager from music or sports management or through an agency (= personality marketing ). The name of the person stands for the brand name, the characteristic features of the person for the brand (= branded personality ). - Freelance workers who are interested in renewing a contract act in a similar way : in order to set themselves apart from potential competitors, they emphasize their special skills and qualities to the previous client ( see also self-marketing ).

Abuse of the branded goods principle

Originally, the term “branded goods” enjoyed a good reputation among consumers , as it stood for reliable quality ( “branded quality”) compared to goods of unknown origin.

With the flood of branded articles, however, “ free riders ” among manufacturers try to benefit from the positive connotation of the term “branded article” by simply using a trademark , without justifying the historically grown basic trust of consumers in the branded article principle with “brand quality” . As a result, the term “branded article” has lost much of its “ nimbus ”.

Today, branded articles are no longer considered trustworthy per se . In each individual case, an examination by the consumer or a recognized consumer protection organization is required to determine whether and to what extent the price-performance ratio of the branded product in question is correct or whether the purchase of the branded product is not advisable. In Germany, the Stiftung Warentest and the Öko-Institut in particular have provided empirical evidence for years that, from the consumer's point of view, the nimbus of the general superiority of "branded articles", i.e. H. from manufacturer brands to private labels, is not justified.

There are also countless cases of trademark forgery . Manufacturers fraudulently provide inferior product copies that are similar to the original with third-party, respected trademarks. This happens in violation of trademark law and possibly other copyrights, which is often hardly recognizable for the unsuspecting layman. By misleading buyers, who believe they are buying an original branded product, these manufacturers use this method to make unjustified sales and possibly profits.

Variation in quantity, quality

Branded items are sometimes offered in different sales points or countries in different packaging sizes, often several sizes next to each other at one sales point - e.g. B. Mars bars. In the absence of a direct side-by-side comparison, it is difficult to estimate the amount of content. At the typically higher unit price in gastronomy, at petrol stations, there is often the smaller package size.

Branded companies emphasize consistent quality, but when viewed over a longer period of time, qualities are changed in order to meet different and regionally different tastes, to comply with changed laws, and to enable different recipes and manufacturing processes. In 2017, Hungarians criticized the fact that branded products were offered in their country in a lower quality or quantity than in Austria.

See also


General representations

  • Erwin Dichtl, Walter Eggers (eds.): Brands and branded articles as instruments of competition ; Beck, Munich 1992, ISBN 3-406-36752-6 .
  • Heribert Meffert : The branded article and its importance for the consumer. Results of an empirical study ; Gruner and Jahr, Hamburg 1979, without ISBN.
  • Paul W. Meyer : Marketing of the industrial branded article ; Collection of essays, in: Series materials on the basics of marketing , Vol. 6, self-published, Augsburg 1986, ISBN 3-921953-14-6 .

Sales of branded goods

  • Christofer Eggers: Vertical contractual distribution systems for branded articles ; Hartung-Gorre, Konstanz 1990, ISBN 3-89191-394-X .
  • Reinhard Oertli: Dual-track sales of branded goods. Economic appearance and legal problems ; Schulthess, Polygraphischer Verlag, Zurich 1988, ISBN 3-7255-2645-1 .

Branded Psychology

  • Fritz Unger (Ed.): Consumer Psychology and Branded Articles ; Physica, Heidelberg 1986, ISBN 3-7908-0354-5 , 3-7908-0353-7.
  • Thomas Fritz: The message of branded articles. Texting strategies in advertising ; Stauffenburg, Tübingen 1994, ISBN 3-86057-091-9 .

Brand sociology

History of the branded product

  • Hans-Gerd Conrad: Advertising and branded goods using the example of the brand company Dr. Oetker from 1891 to 1975 in Germany ; WVB Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Berlin, Berlin 2002, ISBN 3-936846-00-6 .
  • Florian Langenscheidt (Ed.): Deutsches Markenlexikon , Gabler, Wiesbaden 2008, ISBN 978-3-8349-0629-8 .
  • The TV campaigns by Ariel, Dixan, Omo, Persil. Austria 1976 - 1989 ; CD-ROM, in: Leopold Springinsfeld: The brand culture. Understand, judge, develop ; Deutscher Fachverlag, Frankfurt am Main 2001, ISBN 978-3-86641-092-3 .
  • Without statement of responsibility : MarkenWaren. Maggi, Odol, Persil & Co. conquer the rural household ; Husum, Husum 2002, ISBN 3-89876-081-2 .

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Hans-Otto Schenk: Functions, conditions for success and psychostrategy of trade and generic brands , in: Manfred Bruhn (Ed.): Trade marks in competition ; 2nd edition, Stuttgart 1997, pp. 71-96.
  2. Entry of the word mark “J. WECK " in the Imperial Patent Office (entry November 13, 1906, registration number 92192)
  3. Hans-Otto Schenk: Quality-price relationships of manufacturer brands and trade marks. An empirical review based on product test results . In: Yearbook of sales and consumption research, issue 2/1980, pp. 129–145.
  4. Same brand in Hungary worse than in Austria?, February 21, 2017, accessed February 21, 2017.