The vast majority of products that are sold are treated as generic by just about everyone except the naive producer, who believes he has a brand of value.
A branded object or service has two components, one required, one desired:
1. Someone who isn't even using it can tell, from a distance, who made it. It appears that it could only be made by that producer (or it's an illegal knock off).
Ralph Lauren certainly got our attention when he started making his logo bigger and bigger, but we also see this in the shape of a Paloma Picasso pin, or the label on a pair of Tom's shoes, or the red soles of Louboutin or the sound of a Harley or the cadence of Sarah Kay or …
If we (the user or the observer) can't tell who made it, then there's no brand. That's the distinction between generic and specific…
2. In the long haul, successfully branded items succeed because the user likes that the brand is noticed in daily use, either by others or even by themselves.
That's subtle but crucial. Does the very existence of the logo or the identifier or the distinction make the user happier?
Can you imagine how crestfallen the debutante would be if her date didn't even know what a Birkin bag was?