Edward de Bono* brought up the term Unique Buying State, UBS. He wanted to set this in contrast with USP (Unique Selling Proposition).
Nike's success is a solid proof that de Bono’s concept works. "As a weekend athlete, my two nagging doubts are that I might be congenitally lazy, and I might have little actual ability. I’m not really worried about my shoes. But when the Nike folks say ‘Just do it’, they’re peering into my soul. I begin to feel that, if they understand me that well, their shoes are pretty good. I’m willing to join the tribe of Nike” Cohesivethinking.com
So, in other words, brands are the little gods of modern life, each fulfilling a different need, activity, mood or situation.
*) Edward Charles Francis Publius de Bono (born 19 May 1933) is a Maltese physician, psychologist, philosopher, author, inventor and consultant. He originated the term lateral thinking, wrote the book Six Thinking Hats and is a proponent of the teaching of thinking as a subject in schools.
* Many ideas taken from Marty Neumeier's book The Brand Gap.