A brand includes all names, symbols, characters or other company or product features that allow customers to distinguish your brand from competitors. These detectible symbols are tangible. The intangible parts of a brand are the meanings and perceptions customers take from these brand traits.

Social Meaning

The way customers interpret your brand relates to societal values and the context used to project your image. In the soft drink industry, names and symbols for Coca-Cola often inspire feelings of nostalgia or sentiment. Pepsi, on the other hand, usually inspires feelings of youthfulness or being "cool" and trendy. The difference is based on years and billions of dollars spent to train customers to view their brands these ways.


To say a brand includes symbols tied to a company or product means there is symbolism behind those cues. Thus, the meaning customers take from your brand name and symbols is a key intangible quality. The name 3M has been made to symbolize "ideas" or "innovation" thanks to the company's promotion and product delivery over time. McDonald's golden arches are an iconic symbol of the company's emphasis on fast, friendly service. Kids are especially drawn to the golden arches above company signage.

Cultural Value

Brands not only convey an image to customers, they often impact the image of your customers in society. Fashion brands, for instance, carry high intangible value in many cases. Wearing designer labels such as Armani and Dolce and Gabbana not only make you comfortable, they give you a certain feeling of status or accomplishment in your workplace or circle of friends. The intangible value customers derive from owning or using your brand helps you get high prices from your products.


One of the most valuable intangible benefits of a strong brand is customer loyalty. Loyalty exists when a customer is oblivious to competitor offerings and is willing to inconvenience herself to buy from you or find your product. This results when your brand becomes synonymous with quality, service or responsible business practices. Achieving high customer loyalty enhances your long-term prospects and profitabilty, since your name on a product or store immediately garners attention.