A brand is define as a name, term, sign, symbol or special design or some combinations of these elements that is intended to identify the goods or services of one seller or a group of sellers. A brand differentiates these products from those of competitors. A brand in short is an identifier of the seller or the maker. A brand name consists of words, letters and / or numbers that can be vocalized. A brand mark is the visual representation of the brand like a symbol, design, distinctive colouring or lettering.
In the opinion of American Marketing Association, Brand is a name, position, symbol or design or their combination by which the products and services of a seller or different sellers are recognized and are differentiated from the products and services of competition.
In the views of Lapland, The 'brand' can be defined as any indication, symbol, letter or letters which indicate the origin or the ownership of any product and differentiate the product from its variety, and don't grant the same right to others for using them for the similar object.
Characteristic of a good brand name
A good brand name should possess as many of the following characteristics as possible.
a) It should be distinctive. A unique and distinctive symbol is not only easy to remember but also a distinguish feature.
b) It should be suggestive. A well-chosen name or symbol should be suggestive of quality, or may be associated with superiority or a great personality. The name VIP Classic for travel wares is suggestive of a superior quality for a distinct class of people. Promise is suggestive of an assurance of tooth health.
c) It should be appropriate.
d) It should be easy to read, pronounce and spell.
e) It should be adoptable to new products.
f) It should be registrable under the Indian laws of Trade Marks and copyrights.
Elements of a Good Brand
It is generally a difficult decision to select any brand, for the producer-firm, for its produced goods. Although no legal restriction is there regarding the selection of a brand, yet the marketing managers are required to keep enough of care and precaution in selecting the brand. While selecting the brand, the following qualities must be essentially borne into consideration:
a) Indicative of the Qualities or Merits of the Product. The brand which is selected must be capable of expressing the maximum qualities of the products.
b) No Confusion about the Product. It must not be leading to confusion to the consumers.
c) Simple and Brief. The brand must be brief so that the people could easily remember it, e.g. Murphy, Bush, Amul, Cibaca, Dalda, etc.
d) Simple to Pronounce. It must be capable of being easily spoken or pronounced.
e) Facility in Advertising. The brand must be such that by means of any advertising medium, it could be used to publicize the same.
f) Attractive. The brand should be such that it could be melodious in hearing and could attract consumers.
g) Not Vulgar. From social point of view, the brand should not be vulgar or obscene.
h) Facility in Registration. The brand should be such that there is not much problem in getting it registered.
i) Specific. It must be specific and it must contain some differentiating characteristics, compared to other products.
j) Economical. There must not be much expenditure to be incurred in getting the brand printed on the label or packet during the advertising campaign.
In General, a trade mark is defined as any sign, as any combination of sign, inherently capable of distinguish the goods or service of one undertaking. Trade marks may be a combination of words, letters, and numerals. They may consist of drawings, symbols, colours used as distinguish features. The owner of the mark may not be involved in the relevant trade and acts purely as a certification authority. The internationally accepted ―ISO 9000 quantity standards are examples of such widely recognized certifications.
Distinction between Brand and Trade-Mark
The following are the distinctions between the brand and trade-mark:
a) Registration. Brand is merely a word, symbol or a design. If it is got registered under law, it becomes a trade-mark. But the brand is not required to be legally registered.
b) Action against Imitating. If the brand has been copied out by some other concern competing the business, no legal proceedings against it could be undertaken for the same. As against it, if someone imitates the `trade-mark', the body might be legally sued for.
c) Scope. The scope for brand is limited while the trademark is quite extensive in its sphere.
d) Use or Utilization. When the brand has been got registered, it becomes the trade-mark and its use could be permissible to the same body or undertaking only. Against it, one and the same brand might be used by various manufacturers, producers or sellers.
e) All the Brands are not the Trade-Marks. All the trade-marks have to be brands, but all the brands are not the trade-marks.