Brand and product are among the basic factors for a company to achieve and maintain a competitive position in the market. The customers use these factors to differentiate and choose the solutions to their problems offered by different manufacturers and/or sellers.
Many big companies are popular for nothing other than one or more brands and products they offer to customers. A company can have several products under multiple brands or multiple products under one brand. Apple, for example, is a brand and the iPhone is its product. In addition to iPhone, Apple has many other products like iPad, iWatch, MacBook, iOS and Macintosh etc. Similarly, Microsoft as a popular brand has many products like Windows client, Windows server, Office suit, Skype for business and SQL server etc.
From above paragraph, it is clear that brand and product are not the same, they are two different things. Products are manufactured in factories, agricultural fields, offices and software houses whereas brands are built in the mind of the consumers. Brands take time to grow and become strong and popular with the passage of time.
Now that we have gotten the basic idea, let’s look into the difference between brand and product in more detail.
Definitions and explanations
A brand is a difference between just a car and a Mercedes. A brand is what people feel about a particular company and its products, services or ideas. Branding is about emotions, and it is how customers feel about a company, it provides market authority to companies. Brands are focused on a specific agenda; they stand for something. For example, the brand slogan of Coca-Cola is “open happiness”. To simplify things further, a brand is the image of a particular product that tells a story about the product. A Brand is value addition to the base value of a product.
Factors that contribute toward building a brand:
- Uniqueness:Brands must be built on an original idea.
- Personality: It is essential to display the character of a brand.
- Reliability: A brand needs to be trustworthy.
- Presence:Branding is all about having a bold presence and visibility.
- Consistency: No brand can survive without consistently engaging their customers.
- Competitiveness: A brand should be able to provide competitive value.
A product is a commodity, merchandise or deliverable. Goods, services, ideas or anything that offers a solution to a problem are products. Product is sold to customers, and it is something buyers will pay to make a purchase. Generally, Products are classified in accordance with the service they provide or the brand they belong to. Let’s look at an example Camry car is a product of the giant car manufacturer Toyota.
These are the components of a product:
- Key benefits: Every product must offer a core value or values.
- Consumable: A product is consumable if a customer can derive the benefits from it.
- Availability: Consumers must have easy access to a product.
Difference between brand and product
The main points of difference between brand and product are given below:
1. Market value
Products have a base value, and they are generic. Brands are the added value to make a product perception better inside the minds of consumers. People stereotype generic products as less attractive, poor quality or less effective than branded products. On average, a branded product is 30 per cent more expensive than a generic product.
2. Consumer expectation
Brands are more expensive because users expect more from them than generic products. Branding is all about providing a consistently better experience for consumers. Users spend more to get more, so markets tend to have higher expectations from brands.
3. Emotional appeal
Brands target the emotions of consumers. Strategies are focused on triggering and creating an emotional appeal among consumers to convince them. You will be amazed to know that 57 per cent of successful business owners believe they have a personal connection with consumers. Products are more about selling to consumers.
4. Attraction for consumers
Brands are magnets they are designed to attract their consumers. Products may fail to attract buyers despite being good. Branding is a marketing strategy to set a product apart, and it gives an edge to products in competitive marketing. In simple words, brands are used to increase sales by creating a persona of products.
5. Trustworthiness and reliability
Consumers like certainty, they need to be sure about a product before making a purchase. Brands are to ensure customers that the products are the best match for them. Brands offer evaluation of products so that consumers can trust. Products without a brand are anonymous, and it is hard for customers to trust them or become loyal to them.
6. Market identity
Generic products are anonymous whereas brands have market identities. A brand represents the identity of products in a competitive market, and brands display the quality and reputation of products. In modern emerging markets, brands are valued more than their owning companies. For example, the iPhone (a product of Apple company) is more popular than its owner company. Consumers tend to develop a specific taste for a particular brand or its product over time, and this creates a brand’s identity.
Brand versus product – tabular comparison
A tabular comparison of brand and product is given below:
|Brands add value to a product. The whole process of branding is about meaningful value addition.||Generic products have less face and market value in comparison to branded products.|
|Brands must meet higher consumer expectations. In general, brands are more expensive due to higher consumer expectation.||Generic products are relatively cheaper, with fewer users’ expectations.|
|Brands gave an emotional relationship with consumers.||Products do not have a personalized relationship with customers.|
|Attraction for consumers|
|Brands have a magnetic effect in attracting customers. Brands can be status symbols for consumers.||Many good products fail to capture consumers because of being anonymous. A product without a brand is unknown.|
|Trustworthiness and reliability|
|People trust brands, and a strong brand can sometimes cover up for a weak product.||Consumers tend to trust anonymous products less.|
|Brands gave market identity, which provides them with more authority and reputation in a market.||Products have no market identity; therefore, they have less influence and reputation over competitors.|
Conclusion – brand vs product
Producing a brand is to create a valuable image of a product. Branding adds value to the base value of a product in a market. Consumers pay more for a reputable brand than an unknown product. A brand is a symbol which sets apart its products from other products in a competitive market. These characteristics of brands collectively help consumers compare the money they spend and the value they receive in the form of goods and services. Brands may guide consumers in deciding where to spend their available money to satisfy their need or choose a solution to their problem.
A brand also symbolizes luxury and social status, and people tend to spend more money to buy branded products and thus maintain their status. For example, consumers choose Apple products because Apple has positioned itself as a brand the people can trust and value.