By Mercedes Galíndez
The appearance of Brands goes back to the beginning of architecture and craft of stonemasonry when stones were carved or marked with a sign or identity symbol. This was the initial function of Brands: to Identify. Marks on stones provided information about the identity of the author or master builder and, later on, they were a way of identifying the workshop or lodge to which they belonged. When Commercial Activity developed due to the use of Paper Currency, goods had to be identified and the place of origin and data of the exporter needed to be recorded on containers or jars.
During the Industrial Revolution and with the increased consumption of the working classes Brand Packaging took place. Food and other raw materials that used to be sold in bulk were packed and the packaging provided information on the hygienic conditions of the product, its weight, and name or brand.
As the supply of products and services increased and the demand became more sophisticated in the international market, it was necessary to move to another level in organizational communication and advertising started playing a key role. Commercial Communication began to have a direct impact on the production conditions of goods where Branding was different to the Promotion of Products.
Since the early twentieth century some erratic designs of posters or advertisements were elaborated and published in newspapers, but they were far away of what a specialist would nowadays consider a professional one.
It was after World War II that Advertising – as a result of technical progresses in Mass Media - became more important, enabling an increase in the market and the arrival of the Consumer Society. Thus, the Advertising and Promotional function was added to the initial function of brands related to identification.
However, contemporary Organizations are recognized not only for being part of the social system to which they belong, but also for each of the elements that comprise them and their networking in a market where, as Norberto Chaves stated:
Obsolescence of the traditional modes of identification and diffusion is caused by the increase of Competitiveness, the stridency and information overload, high entropy of the commercial message due to acceleration and massification of consumption, the increase in the rates of change of the receiving social subject itself due to constant innovation of the Screening matrices in the market, the hypertrophy of the institutional body due to the proliferation of entities that are meant to be “socially” heard (Chaves 1992).
In this context Brands have acquired a central role. When speaking about Brands two key dimensions are considered. On the one hand, a Brand is a verbal sign (the name)so that it can be designated and verbalized and on the other hand, it is a visual sign (logo, symbol, color) to be seen in visible space and be used in various media supports.
If the brand is a sign, and thus it must convey a meaning, it must be managed so that the brands of an organization, of its products and services, are the result of a communication strategy.
Thus, Brand Management and Branding involves the permanent administration of each of the elements of the trade mark system of an organization, its products and services in order to obtain maximum effectiveness (meet all the proposed objectives) and efficiency (those targets should be achieved at the lowest costs) and ensure great flexibility to adapt to the strategic changes that occur within the system or that will arise from the environment since they will have an impact on the brand.