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By Invitation - Branding basics by Prashant Pinge
28th March 2011

When I started looking around for contributors to this blog, one of the first names that came to my mind was my dear friend Prashant Pinge. He is by profession a top class marketing and branding consultant but first and foremost he is a story teller! That is why I am really excited to have him contribute regularly to our blog and I know its going to be fun reading his thoughts and ideas. I also highly recommend Prashant's firm Media Panther for your marketing and advertising needs. So without much ado over to Prashant?

It all started with cattle. Yes, that's right. The beginnings of branding are a little shady. But it's done such a great job, that the past's long been forgiven, if not forgotten. And yes, over time, the word brand has taken on myriad dimensions. And definitions.

So what really is a brand? A brand is a differentiator, an identity, a persona, a story, a promise, an emotion. Phew. Now that's a long list.

Well, let's look at what a brand is not. It's not a logo, a symbol, a tagline, a slogan, a product. But it does include all these things.

That still doesn't answer the question now, does it? So how about this? A brand is an experience. Or more precisely, it's the experience that manifests when your promise delivers. In fact, delights. None other than your customer.

So in short, it's not about what you say. It's what the customer says, or more accurately, experiences.

In which case then you're justified in asking why branding matters. Just take a look around. Like it or not, branding is here to stay. The world is overloaded with information. According to one statistic, you are exposed to at least five thousand messages a day. And here's my take. They all sound so freakin' alike.

That's where brands come in. To create differentiation. To deliver on promises. To immerse into the experience. After all, customers today have so many choices and so little time. Brands also evoke that key word. Trust. Yes, customers certainly do build relationships with brands. And here's another secret. Brands take customers beyond loyalty. They have the power to turn them into evangelists.

So all in all. Power to the brand!

About the author

Prashant Pinge is a consultant at Media Panther (http://www.mediapanther.co.in/), a branding, marketing and advertising services firm in Mumbai.

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