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It's futile looking for the Holy Grail if you don't even know what it looks like. Similarly, it will be impossible to tell whether a business is just a name, or a strong brand, unless we know what the elements of a brand are and how they are assessed.
A brand is a name, term, sign, symbol, or design, or a combination of them, intended to identify the goods or services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of competitors (Kotler 2001, p.404)
Customers too see brands as something that is more than what is built into the product. But these values and meanings may be different from customer to customer or from one group of customers to another.
While Aaker is of the opinion that brand values are expressed along these four dimensions others like Jean - Noel Kapferer are of the opinion that this expression is along six dimensions: Physique, relationship, reflection, personality, culture and self-concept. (Kapferer 2000, p.127)
Brand identity is made up of a core identity and an extended identity. A brand's core identity is fundamental to the meaning of a product. It is what a business will want its product or service to be perceived as.
The extended identity of a brand includes aspects of the brand that complete the picture. This will normally be, aspects of the brand that a business will want its target market to associate with. Everything a brand stands for cannot be communicated merely by its core identity. This shortcoming of the core identity is made good by its extended identity. And the broader a brand's extended identity the more unforgettable it will be. (Aaker 1996, pp.85-9)
The concept of brand identity brings us to ...
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