By definition, a brand is a timeless, abstract entity; thereby anything which is short lived, time based cannot be recognised as a brand in real sense. Brand Identity, however specifies a product markers, having reputation, benefit or value attached to it and this brand identity helps marketers to achieve short term success for their organisations. This at the same time, helps managers to control and coordinate easily the abstractions attached to a brand. It means cognitively one can conceive abstractions and manage it within the boundary of an organisation and even outside. This branding having Cognition at its base characterises Cognition Branding Model.
Cognition Branding Model has its birth somewhere in 1950s, the era which is known for emphasising Unique Selling Proposition - USP - i.e. each product must communicate to its potential consumers a simple but distinctive benefits. The idea of USP got a shot in arm in 1970s when “Positioning” became the dear word across corporate. The idea was primarily led to building brands by ‘Compulsive Reiteration of Distinctive Benefits’, supported by rational arguments and emotional appeals. For example, brand Dove. Other fact which came around the Cognitive Branding model was that brand essence was reminded to potential consumers in every activity that carries brand mark and repeatedly, consistently.
These cognition and controlling features came against the basic assumption about branding. As said before, a brand is timeless, abstract thing. Controlling and managing make a brand short-lived and mortal in nature. There are innumerable examples of brands which were noticeably successful initially but died down soon. Reason, these brand could not create myths around them, drawn from society that point in time.
Cognitive model is more appropriate for products which are utilitarian in nature. These utilitarian features help products get a distinctive position in the market, giving consumers a tool to easily separate them from others and can make easy buying decisions. This distinctiveness which is helpful to build a brand, becomes a constraint and comes the way of becoming an Iconic Brand.
Therefore, managers or organisations, need to think very carefully what they are looking for – a short term 'advantage' or long term brand.
Nowhere, I am suggesting to leave aside Cognitive Branding Model. But be ‘cognitive’ in deciding what the ultimate aim for conceiving a brand is. Brand Identity can be a stepping stone to move to Iconic Brand level, but it may prove to be a trapping for many, not able to move to Iconic Brand level eventually.