In Eduard Manet’s painting “The bar in Folies-Bergères” from 1882 there are two BASS beer bottles in the lower right and left hand corners. When Great Britain adopted trademark laws in 1875 the corporate lawyer from BASS saw his chance to secure with exclusive rights “the trademark registration number 1” for eternity. He actually waited all night outside the new trademark office in order to be first! “The trademark is the heart of the brand” as a colleague of mine eloquently once said.

There is a financial value associated with a brand (BASS was acquired for 4 billion USD, while only 600 million USD referred to the fixed assets). The management of brands is in reality the management of meaning. The value(s) we associate with a strong brand is something that we build in a process that is an integral part of the business. The branding strategy is a means to reach the goals set by the business strategy.

Brand orientation is an approach and a mind-set within an organization and its management. It is an approach in which the process of the organization revolves around the creation, development, and protection of brand identity. This is an ongoing interaction with the customers and non-customer stakeholders with the aim to achieving lasting competitive advantages in the form of brands. In principle, a brand cannot be stronger externally in the market, than it is rooted internally within the organization.