Branding and Mental Availability - the distinction

A brand needs to build relevant memory structures that make it easier to notice, recognise, recall and hence.... of This is the brand’s mental availability.

Branding helps build mental availability, it’s like a coat-hanger on which memories can hang.  It’s like a Dewey decimal number which tells the brain’s librarian which memories to access and/or refresh.

The branding in itself rarely communicates anything else, nor does it need to. McDonald's scottish name is a brand, it communicates nothing about usage situations, food types etc - no haggis served at McDonalds.

Branding is branding - full stop.

So what memory structures does a brand need? This is a useful question to ask when launching a new brand (and this example is a good reminder for existing brands too).  

Launching new brands is very risky, it's very easy for things to go wrong.  The question a marketer needs to ask is "what are the CRUCIAL memory structures that I need to get into as many heads as possible?".  In other words,
what memories, if they were missing would massively reduce the chance of purchase?  These usually turn out to be rather prosaic (and hence easily missed by those marketers who don't tend to be the most down-to-earth people)... things like…. what does the brand do (e.g. it is a car), what does the pack look like, where is it likely to be found, where will it be used/bought, who will buy it and so on.

If this sounds too simple then how come so many marketing campaigns seem to neglect this?