1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE PROBLEM/STUDY
Branding is one of the most important aspects of the marketing arena. In this world of ever increasing competition and removal of barriers to trade due to the enforcement of the WTO (World Trade Organization), branding has become even more important. In a situation where a multitude of alternatives are available to the consumer at lower prices, the establishment of a strong brand name is extremely important.
A strong brand can make all the difference between a successful brand and a failure. Branding is at the heart of marketing. The reason for this statement is that marketing should not only be about meeting needs but also about fulfilling expectations. Marketers strive to create strong brands that can sustain themselves over the years and from generation to generation. Brands like Coca Cola and Marlboro have been around for decades and their appeal is still massive all over the world. Through advertising and other marketing means, companies try to form favorable consumer perceptions about the brand. These perceptions are very important as it does not matter how strong the brand is in actual terms but what is important is the perception formed about it in the consumer mind. This perception, whether accurately reflecting the products features and attributes or not, is the motivation behind consumer buying.
A successful branding effort should ideally eliminate price as a contributing factor to buying behavior. However, in certain types of competitive markets, the market dynamics are such that price again comes into play and the players face the danger at worst, of price wars, and at best competition where consumers are making decisions based on price. Branding is by far one of the most important factors influencing an item's success or failure in the marketplace, and can have a dramatic impact on how the "company behind the brand" is perceived by the buying public.
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