The American Marketing Association
(quoted by Philip Kotler)
A Brand is name, term, sign, or design, or a combination of them, intended to identify the goods or services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of competitors.
A brand is a complex symbol. It can convey up to six levels of meaning.
Attributes: The brand and the product for which it is the symbol have attributes. A brand has to convey its attributes.
Benefits: Customers buy a brand or product for benefits and not for its attributes. A brand has convey meaning in terms of benefits.
Values: The brand also says something about the producer's values.
Culture: The brand may represent a certain culture.
Personality: The brand can also project a certain presonality.
User: The brand suggests the kind of consumer who buys or uses the product
Philip Kotler, Marketing Management, 9th Ed., Prentice Hall, NJ, USA, 1997, p.443
Related article by a brand consultancy firm
The Reality of Brands - Towards an Ontology of Marketing
John F.Sherry Junior
In Kellogg on Branding
Originally posted on Knol