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Thursday, 1 December 2011


In today’s cluttered environment, reduced search costs are significant not only in monetary, but in psychological terms: Given a choice, consumers do not want to go through the mentally exhausting and unsure process of trying a new brand. They do not want to have to work their way through the explosion of new products and services offered to them. Brands are the shorthand that consumers use to guide their all important purchasing decisions.[1] “A mark that is strong because of its fame or uniqueness, is more likely to be remembered and more likely to be associated in the public mind with a greater breadth of products . . ., than is a mark that is weak because it is relatively unknown or very like similar marks or very like the name of the product[2]”.

A reputed trademark can appeal consumers at emotional and psychological level. The reputation of the trademark can provide an emotional benefit to the owner of the trademark by simply reassuring the consistency of quality of the marked goods, when the consumer take the risk of purchasing and consuming the marked goods. It is not just the reassurance of consistency of the quality, it goes further than this and reduces the sensitivity of risk which is helpful to encourage the consumers to buy new product in the market bearing the same trademark. In other words the trademark can provide the emotional reassurance to the consumer when they take the risk of purchasing the goods.

1.      Consumers who are primarily motivated by ideals.(VALs category)

The consistent marketing identity can also increase the consumer’s emotional enjoyment of consuming the marked products simply through linking it to their memories of pervious consumption. The consumers are most likely to recognise the organisation behind the product and sense a long team relationship with it[3].The attractive power of an image’s symbolism of a trade mark which trigger in the minds of consumers can increase the emotional enjoyment of purchasing and consuming marked products[4]. They may go further and appeal to consumers’ psychological needs for social status, self-expression and a sense of community.[5] For example, A person can feel energetic  when  drinking  PEPSI/COKE,  “cool” when he is wearing a “Abercrombie and Fitch” t-shirt, caring when buying a “ARCHIES” greeting card or gift. Strong brands possess a personality, a positive “halo.” It has been observed that “we are known by the brands we keep.”

2.      Consumers who are primarily motivated by achievement.(VALs category)

The role of the trade mark expands beyond signifying information about the marked products to consumers to include signalling information about consumers of the marked products to third parties. And the reassurance that the trade mark provides to consumers includes the fact that it can convey this message to third parties. As well as signalling social status, the image and associations of a trade mark can enable consumers to make other statements about themselves and their tastes, preferences and values. For example, “Many persons purchase branded goods for the purpose of demonstrating to others that they are consumers of the particular goods”—in other words to impress. .  They advertise themselves by wearing clothes, jewelry or accessories that tell the world that they are people of refined taste or high income”[6]. A person for instance would buy a Ferrari car to display his social standing and flamboyance which would lend further to his standing in the society.

The relations that a trade mark gives marked products, along with their exclusivity to one undertaking, can enable consumers both to feel important or attached and they can use this attachment as a resources of differentiating from others. Where consumers have established a relationship with a particular brand which gives them emotional or psychological benefits, they are more likely to try new products or new versions of products sold under the same brand.[7]

The capacity of a trade mark to confer intangible characteristics on marked products also has implications for the marketing practices of brand extension and brand stretching[8]. From a brand extension point, it is “easier for consumers to create an association to new information when extensive, relevant knowledge structures already exist in memory.” The elaborate memory structures of strong brands, therefore, “facilitate the formation of linkages to new associations,” and “well-known brands can extend more successfully and into more diverse categories.”[9]
Consumers can derive additional emotional or psychological benefits from being able to purchase a range of branded products that share a distinctive presentation and project a distinctive brand image. This can influence consumer’s decision-making both about which kinds of products to buy and which brand, especially where the relevant trade mark is one that enables them to make a statement about themselves and their values or creates a sense of belonging to a community.

[1] Jerre B. Swann, An Interdisciplinary Approach to Brand Strength,
[2] Kenner Parker Toys, Inc. v. Rose Art Industries, Inc. - Confusing Play on Words Costs Dough for Rose Art; Charters, Theresa A,
[3] Jerre B. Swann, An Interdisciplinary Approach to Brand Strength By Jerre B. Swann,

[4] Lynn B. Upshaw and Earl L. Taylor, the Masterbrand Mandate (2000).
[5] Swann, Aaker and Reback, 2001,
[7] Koehn, Trademark Reporter ,2001
[8] A. Griffiths, An Economic Perspective on Trade Mark Law (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2011)
[9] ibid

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