Developing a Brand Strategy: Service-Based Industries

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4. Identify the factors that need to be considered when developing a brand strategy within the service-based industries and explain why the development a clear and consistent corporate brand image and reputation is a fundamental part of international brand strategy.

Corporate brand image:

Branding is the art and science of identifying and fulfilling human physical and emotional needs by capturing their attention, imagination and emotion. Your corporate brand is, more than anything else, the most significant thing that will define you in the public eye, and therefore the one that will help to ensure your success - or your demise. A strong brand image and name will boost confidence throughout the business, and create a strong, successful impression in the market. Keller (2003a) says, “technically speaking, then, whenever a marketer creates a new name, logo, or symbol for a new product, he or she has created a brand” A brand serves to identify a product and to distinguish it from competition. “The challenge today is to create a distinctive image” (Kohli and Thakor 1997)

The resource-based view within the strategy literature has argued that sustainable competitive advantage is created primarily from intangible capabilities, including brands and reputations (Omar et al., 2009) The relative importance placed by the firm on its corporate identity also influences brand structure. Companies such as IBM and Apple place considerable emphasis on corporate identity (Schmitt and Simenson 1997). In the case of IBM, "Big Blue" is associated with a solid corporate reputation and reflects the company's, desire to project an image of a large reliable computer company that provides products and services worldwide. The IBM logo is featured on products and advertising worldwide to convey this image. Equally, Apple used its neon apple logo to project the image of a vibrant challenger in the personal computer market.

Why does it matter?
•Identification of sources of product
•Assignment of responsibility to product maker.
•Risk reducer
•Search cost reducer
•Symbolic device
•Signal of quality
•Promise or bond with product or maker

Advantage: Awareness
The harder a company works on its branding and identity, in most cases, the more awareness it creates. For example, Coca-Cola is known worldwide for its product. A consumer can see it in a foreign county, with labelling in a foreign language and know it is a Coca-Cola product. The red colour and shape of the bottle is an immediate trigger in many minds as to the fact that the drink is a Coca-Cola product. This is branding and identity at its best. Advantage: Consistency in the Marketplace

The more often a customer sees your brand in the marketplace, the more often he will consider it for purchase. If the brand and identity are truly kept consistent, the customer is more likely to feel that the quality is consistent and to become a loyal follower of the brand. However, this means that the product must maintain a consistency that reflects the image as well. Attract stakeholders, which can aid the development of strong business relationships. Focuses on long term growth

Disadvantage: Can Become Commonplace
Many brands strive to be No. 1 in the minds of consumers. For example, in many parts of the U.S., people request a Coke when they go to a restaurant, not necessarily meaning a Coca-Cola product, but any soda. While it is the goal of branding to become the standard, it is not the goal to become the generic term of a line of products. Disadvantage: Negative Attributes

If a product or service experiences a negative event, that will become attached to the brand. For example, a massive recall or unintentionally offensive ad campaign can tarnish a company’s brand and image, causing the company to need to build a whole new brand and identity to recapture its place in the market.

An important element of a firm's overall brand strategy is its branding policy. Strong brands help the...
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