What is the Difference Between a Brand and a Product?
Posted: May 3, 2019 | Author: Ankit Sahu
Popular products can become brands and brand names can be used to refer to popular products. Sounds confusing?
This article will provide a clear understanding and differences between a brand and a product. However, before directly diving into the difference between brand and product let's know some basic stuff.
The Fundamental Difference is "Emotions"
Products perform a function. They exist to serve a purpose or fulfil a need. Hence, it can be said that products have rationale.
Alternatively, if we further simplify products, then we can say that a product is something that is in a physical form or a service made available by the companies in the market for sale.
Products have differentiation in terms of size, colour, shape, packing, features, purpose and the business it comes from. Companies use various aspects to endear their products to potential customers. Examples of products include soap, ice cream, hair oil, services like salon, hospitality banking etc.
On the other hand, Brands have "Emotionale" and are quite different from products because they don’t just cover a customer’s needs; they fulfil a customer’s aspirations. A promise is associated with a brand.
In other words, it can also be said that a brand is the image of a specific product in the minds of the customers. Examples include Audi, KFC, Coca Cola, etc.
Now that we know about products and brands let’s deep dive to explore both further.
Companies build Products and Consumers build Brands
A product is made and sold by a company and purchased and used by a customer. While companies represent brands, customer perceptions and expectations build them. This here is one of the biggest differences between brands and products.
For example, KFS’s product is fried chicken. Its umbrella brand is KFC, and each product like a chicken bucket or chicken wings have their specific names to distinguish the various KFC made chicken products from one another. Without a product, there is no need for a brand.
Image source: KFC Official Website
Brands own a distinguished Identity, but products are common
When Google first hit the Internet with a search engine it was an instant hit among consumers because it helped them find information online quickly. However, the Google brand didn’t become meaningful to consumers until people had a chance to use the Google search engine product.
Through consistent reliable experiences, consumers began to trust that the Google brand could deliver faster and better information online. Today, the word "Google" is used as a verb!
Bing, Yahoo or Google all serves the same purpose but people trust Google when it comes to searching for information.
If consumers think that the two products offer the same benefits, then products with low emotional involvement are easily replaced. For example, a detergent powder is easily replaced if it is not available at the time of purchase.
Brand design - logo, name, personality, colours are never the same of two brands however two soaps or two detergent can look and smell similar to each other. Branding and design creates a huge difference in identities of both brands and products.
Brands Stand Out, but products disappear in the crowd
Remember panoramic and polaroid cameras? With the introduction of digital cameras and more recently mobile phone cameras, the old products are becoming obsolete. The same happened to VHS players, DVD players with the introduction of iPods.
Whereas, brands like Sony and Apple are still there in the market by offering different products.
Products and Brands have Different Life Cycles
Consider Facebook as an example. When Facebook first appeared on digital screens, it offered a social feed of friends and relatives. That product was an instant hit among friends and family.
Today, if Facebook launches a new service, people will quickly respond because they trust Facebook. Now, Facebook has made sure that even if the social media platform shuts down, Facebook as a brand will stand still.
It is noteworthy to highlight that brands and products appear similar to many, but a more in-depth analysis demonstrates the difference between brand and product.
So, now you have a clear understanding of both. You can read about making your own brand identity through our latest blog on ‘What are the Steps to Create a Recognisable Brand Identity’ or talk to our team for brand design services.