Building Strong Brands
2010 – 2011
Role of brands
The scope of branding
Building brand equity
Choosing brand elements
Perhaps the most distinctive skill of professional marketers is their ability to create, maintain, enhance and protect brands. Branding has become a marketing priority. Successful brands command a price premium and elicit much loyalty. New brands capture the imagination of consumers and the financial community alike. Marketers of successful twenty-first-century brands must excel at the strategic brand management process. Strategic brand management involves the design and implementation of marketing activities and programs to build, measure, and manage brands to maximize their value. The strategic brand management process involves four main steps:
1. Identifying and establishing brand positioning;
2. Planning and implementing brand marketing;
3. Measuring and interpreting brand performance;
4. Growing and sustaining brand value.
The American Marketing Association defines a brand as “a name, term, sign, symbol, 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 thus a product or service that adds dimensions that differentiate it in some way from other products or services designed to satisfy the same need. These differences may be functional, rational or tangible – related to product performance of the brand. They may also be more symbolic, emotional or intangible – related to what the brand represents.
Role of brands
Brands identify the source or maker of a product and allow consumers – either individuals or organizations – to assign responsibility to a particular manufacturer or distributor. Consumers may evaluate the identical product differently depending on how it is branded. Consumers learn about brands through past experiences with the product and its marketing program. They find out which brands satisfy their needs and which ones do not. As consumers’ lives become more complicated, the ability of a brand to simplify decision making and reduce risk is invaluable.
Brands also perform valuable functions for firms. First, they simplify product handling or tracing. Brands help to organize inventory and accounting records. A brand also offers the firm legal protection for unique features or aspects of the product. The brand name can be protected through registered trademarks; manufacturing processes can be protected through patents; and packaging can be protected through copyrights and designs.
The world’s strongest brands share 10 attributes, according to Kotler&Keller (2006):
1. The brand excels at delivering the benefits consumers truly desire. 2. The brand stays relevant.
3. The pricing strategy is based on consumer perceptions of value. 4. The brand is properly positioned.
5. The brand is consistent.
6. The brand portfolio and hierarchy makes sense.
7. The brand makes use of and coordinates a full repertoire of marketing activities to build equity. 8. The brand’s managers understand what the brand means to consumers. 9. The brand is given proper, sustained support.
10. The company monitors sources of brand equity.
The scope of branding
Branding is endowing products and services with the power of a brand. Branding is all about creating differences. To brand a product, it is necessary to teach consumers who the product is – by giving it a name and using other brand elements to help identify it – as well as what the product does and why consumers should care. Branding involves creating mental structures and helping consumers organize their knowledge about products and services in a way that clarifies their decision making and, in the process,...
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