What is a Brand?

March 14, 2016

As a brand designer, it is easy to get obsessed about brand identity and go to great depths and detail in designing logos that reflect a brand’s virtues and ideologies. Obsessing about brand design rarely gets one to ask, what a brand really is?

In my humble opinion as a consumer, user and brand designer (in that order) in simple words, brands are those emotional or functional attributes that enable an organisation to define itself and be set apart from its competitors.


Brands today are not just names of products we consume everyday, nor are they defined by a single logo or identity. According to Sir Michael Perry (former Chairman, Unilever), “In a modern world, brands are a key part of how individuals define themselves and their relationships with one another. More and more, we are simply consumers. We are what we wear, what we eat, what we drive” (Lury, 2001). Just as people choose their own friends or companions, they choose brands that match their taste, personalities and beliefs. This suggests that brands are an extension of human personalities. They have characteristics of their own and thus attract those consumers who have similar traits. These attributes enable them to not only meet the physical needs of people in the form of products and services but also address needs at emotional levels.


Branding is important to consumers as much as consumers are important to it, said brand guru,Wally Olins. This is because when a consumer purchases a brand that meets the needs it was meant to, it fills the consumers with a feeling of empowerment. It is this attribute of brands that leads us to put our favourite brands on a pedestal as compared to their competitors in the market only because they have successfully positioned themselves in the minds of its numerous consumers and users.


Sancharee Saha
Associate Art Director
Brand Designer
Coffee Addict