BRANDING

Abstract:

The new age mantra for effective marketing

Main Article:

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There are hundreds of coffee shops in India, Why do some thrive while others fail? Is the coffee better? Is the atmosphere friendlier? Is the service faster? Is the price lower? Is one the go-to location for business meetings, where another is the neighbourhood hang-out?

How are customers able to establish a sharp connect and loyalty to a particular product, when there are hundreds of similar offerings?

The answer lies in effective branding as a precursor for successful marketing goals to be achieved.

A Brand is a set of associations that a person, or a group of people make with a company, product,service, individual or organisation.If a brand results from a set of associations and perceptions in minds of people, then branding is an attempt to harness, generate, infl uence and control these associations to help the business perform better.

Organisations can benefi t enormously by creating a brand that presents the company as distinctive, reliable, trusted, exciting and other attributes appropriate to that business.

As per the current trends in marketing, customers want a deeper connection with their brands.Brands need to tap a deep customer emotion that gets triggered everytime a customer uses the product or hears its name

So what defi nes a good brand?

The objectives a good brand can include:

* Delivers the message clearly
* Confi rms your credibility
* Connects your target prospects emotionally
* Motivates the buyer
* Concretes User Loyalty

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In recent times, the leading brands have been Apple and Google, both rooted in technological innovation and focussed in not only creating products but also useful services making lives of people better. ITunes and App Store, Google goggles and the like being few examples.

What will a brand do for your product?

When the brand experience, meets the customer needs, users are more willing to pay a premium once its added value is apparent. Thus achieving profi tability.

Brand experience can be a complex of intangible attitudes or perceptions which once seeded properly becomes unshakable from the minds of the people, achieving loyalty, and in turn introducing the product to others through connected community.

How do you position a brand to reap maximum benefit?

Branding creates positive user expectations of reward from your products or services. Positioning establishes a preference for your brand relative to competitive offerings based on the perception of a unique and important difference. Branding, therefore, makes the promise of good user experiences. Positioning describes the brand’s unique competitive difference that makes the promise compelling

Positioning createsthe value proposition interms of the target segment, point of difference and frame of reference.

For example, until a few years, this was the positioning statement of Apple Computers.Inc

“Apple computers offers the best computing experience to students, educators, creative professionals and consumers around the world through its innovative hardware software and internet offerings.”

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Here,

Target segment:students, educators, creative professionals and consumers around the world

Point of difference:Innovation (Think differently)

Frame of reference – other computers.

After Jan 2007, the name of the company was changed from Apple Computer.Inc to Apple, in order to expand its target segment from just computers to entertainment media, thus expanding its customer share in the market.

Branding Strategies:
 
To succeed in branding one must understand the needs and wants of your customers and prospects. Your branding strategy must promote your brand to potential customers so that they not only recognize it, but they also like it and seek it out when making buying decisions. Your branding strategy must move through several stages like creating awareness, solving problems, performance and attachment so you can capture larger and larger portions of market share.

This can be achieved by integrating your brand strategies through your company at every point of public contact be it promotional merchandise or events, social causes, sponsorship or online presence.

Different brand strategies used:

Company Name

In this case a strong brand name (or company name) is made the vehicle for a range of products (for example, Mercedes Benz or Black & Decker) or a range of subsidiary brands (such as Cadbury Dairy Milk).

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Individual Branding

Each brand has a separate name, putting it into a de facto competition against other brands from the same company without confusing the consumer’s perception of what business the company is in, or diluting higher quality products (Nestlé’sKit Kat and Munch are 2 unique brands under same company)

Attitude Branding and Iconic Brands

Example: Nike, Starbucks, The Body Shop, and Apple, Inc. Iconic brands are defi ned as having aspects that contribute to the consumer’s self-expression and personal identity.

Some brands have such a strong identity that they become “iconic brands” such as Apple, Nike, and Harley Davidson.

Brand Extension

Many fashion and designer companies extended brands into fragrances, shoes and accessories, furniture, and hotels. Example: Ralph Lauren sunglasses, perfumes

Individual and Organizational Brands

These are types of branding that treat individuals and organizations as the products to be branded. Personal branding treats persons and their careers as brands. Faith branding treats religious figures and organizations as brands.

Nation Branding

This is a field of theory and practice which aims to measure, build, and manage the reputation of countries (closely related to place branding). Example Malaysian tourism: Malaysia truly Asia

In essence anything and everything that reflects a business values and unique propositions can be a brand.

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Brand management techniques:

In order to manage brands better, a variety of techniques are used to establish the brand’s uniqueness through customer interaction.

Storytelling, as employed by AXIS bank, and several insurance companies, portrayed bringing banking to the customer instead of the other way round and effectively communicated their corporate identity and services provided.

Vodafone differentiated their brand by appealing to sense of individualism and focussing on value of human interaction rather than differentiating on price.

Is rebranding essential?

Successful brands, begin with a tight core brand proposition which is often unique at product features.

Example McDonald for hamburgers, Starbucks for coffee and Oreo for cookies.

As the time flies, consumer mind-setchanges and the brand faces existentialist dilemma. Staying faithful to traditional proposition would lead to brand irrelevance, while expanding it too much would lead to brand incoherence.

Continued success requires redefining of the brand core, fitting it to its traditional as well as modern offerings.Thus keeping the brand relevant, differentiated and credible, through customised adaptability, affordability and availability of the product.

For example, with evolving market types, and economies, Mc Donald’s rebranded themselves as a clean, affordable fast food chain not just hamburgers. Oreo had to reinvent its offerings to introducedifferent varieties to sustain in emerging markets and different economies.

Starbucks reinvented its logo and added a variety of refreshments other than coffee as per different markets to sustain and grow.

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In Conclusion

Branding will take time and investment. After all, most popular brands were not born overnight. With the onset of social marketing and Internet media, there is a chance to reach a wider advertising audience with a unique product or service than traditional marketing methods of the past.


BUDDING MANAGERS

JANUARY 2015 ISSUE


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Author:  admin
Posted On:  Thursday, 22 January, 2015 - 13:49

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