The functional dimension is the product’s attributes and benefits or the tangible properties while the symbolic dimensions are the intangible aspects of the brand. A marketer can combine these two elements to create the ‘right’ appeal for customers. In consumer behavior the rational and emotional perspectives are two models that explain how consumers make purchase decisions. Successful branding, therefore, depends on combining the rational and emotional components of a brand in a manner that it becomes consistent with the consumer’s frame of mind.



Functional brand


Here, the functional dimension of the brand is far more visible and appealing than the emotional or symbolic dimension.


For instance, buying of a painkiller would be by and large a rational, left brain driven activity. What implications does one have for marketers of Aspirin, Aspro, Anacin? Here the brand should be functions driven. That is, the brand essence should revolve around ‘reasons’ demonstrating product superiority in terms of its ingredients and efficiency of its pain relieving process (e.g., the product “dissolves faster in water” and therefore, “relieves pain faster.”


Symbolic brand


Here, the symbolic or emotional dimension is more prevalent than the functional dimension. The decisions would be based on more of the emotional aspect than that of rational aspect.

In the circumstances where consumer buying is emotions driven, the brand must accordingly focus on symbolic or emotional aspects.


For.e.g. While buying greeting cards, chocolates, toys, apparels, etc. the brands competing in this category need to capture the heart of the customer. The brand must be emotions dominated in order to be consistent with the consumer’s state of mind.


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