“A product is something made in the factory; a brand is something the customer buys. A product can be copied or imitated by a competitor; a brand is unique. A product can be outdated; a successful brand is timeless.”
− Stephen King (WPP Group, London)
Today, the commodity marketplace is flooded with various brands. The requirement of the seller’s brand to stand out among other parallel brands is crucial. Hence, there is a fierce competition among the sellers to make their products or services stand out in the market, thereby winning new consumers and retaining the existing ones. At times, it even leads to diverting the consumers following other brands to the seller’s brand. To remain competitive in the marketplace, strong brand management is required.
Brand Management begins with understanding the term 'brand'.
Brand may be defined from the brand owner’s perspective or the consumer’s perspective. There are various popular definitions of a brand −
“A name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers. The legal term for brand is trademark. A brand may identify one item, a family of items, or all items of that seller. If used for the firm as a whole, the preferred term is trade name.” - American Marketing Association
“A type of product manufactured by a particular company under a particular name.” − Oxford English dictionary
“A name, term, sign, symbol, design, or a combination of these used to identify the goods or services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of competitors.” − A product-oriented definition
“The promise of the bundles of attributes that someone buys and provide satisfaction . . .” − A consumer-oriented definition
The fundamental purpose of branding is differentiation. A brand is a means of differentiating the seller’s product from other competing products.
Brand has the following characteristics −
Tangible characteristics − Price, physical product, packaging, etc.
Intangible characteristics − Customer’s experience with the brand, brand position, and brand image.
Here are some important objectives of a brand −
To establish an identity for the product or a group of products.
To protect the product or service legally for its unique features.
To acquire place for the product in consumers’ minds for high and consistent quality.
To persuade the consumer to buy the product by promising to serve their needs in a unique way.
To create and send the message of strong reliable business among consumers.
Brand management is an art of creating a brand and maintaining it. It is nothing but developing a promise to the consumer, materializing that promise, and maintaining the same for a product, a group of products, or services.
Brand management helps to manage the tangible and intangible characteristics of a brand. A competent Brand Management includes building brand identity, launching the brand, and maintaining the brand position in the market. Brand management builds and maintains the corporate image of a business.
The concept of branding exists since approximately hundred years.
It is a single most compelling thing about a brand that differentiates it from the competing brands. The brand essence serves as a metric to evaluate the seller's marketing strategies. The most important brand essences arise from consumers' needs. Brand essence can be described in just a few words.
For example, Volvo − Safe travel. Disney − Fun family entertainment.
There are seven contributing elements of brand essence −
Authenticity − If the brand makes a promise and fails to keep, then it is rejected. The consumers expect the sellers to be genuine and truthful.
Consistency − The essence of a brand is lost if it is not consistent in providing what it promised to the consumer. Also, a brand should use its logo consistently over time.
Durability − The brand essence remains same over time. Even if packaging and logos change, the essence does not change.
Experience − It is the consumers experience with the brand.
Uniqueness − It is how different a brand is from its competitors.
Relevance − It is the relevance of a brand to the consumer.
Single mindedness − It is sticking to only one thing about the brand which keeps the brand focused.
There are eight essential elements of a brand as given below −
Brand Name − This is what the people get to see everywhere. It must be as simple and memorable as possible, meaningful, easy to pronounce, and unique.
Logo − This can be anything from a piece of text to the abstract designs. It may be entirely unrelated to the corporate activities. It must be relevant to the product or service, iconic, and attractive.
Tone − This is how the seller communicates with the consumer. It can be professional, friendly, or formal. It builds consumer’s perception about the brand.
Jingle − It must be pleasant to hear and hum, relevant to the product, easy to remember, and easy to understand over a large age group to connect consumer with the brand.
Slogan − It summarizes overall value proposition. It should be short, easy to remember, and catchy. For example, KFC’s slogan is “Finger Lickin’ Good” and Britannia’s is “Eat Healthy, Think Better”.
Packaging − It needs to be catchy and advertising, drawing people to see the product inside. Also, it needs to be compact, yet attractive.
Universal Resource Locator (URL) − It forms the domain name on the internet. A seller can register all prospective variations of brand name URLs or can buy the existing URL of a business.
Characters/Mascots − It is a special symbol, either still, animated, or real life entity such as an animal or a human character. For example, Vodafone’s Zoozoo characters are played in its various advertisements by humans wearing special white body suits.
They are not the same. Let us see the difference between them −
|Brand Management||Product Management|
|Brand Management includes evaluation of sales, pricing for a particular product, supervising ad campaigns.||Product Management includes implementing the marketing techniques to increase the product sale and measure the same. For example, repackaging the product.|
|Main objective − Maintaining product quality.||Main objective − Increasing product sale.|
|It includes interaction with manufacturers, sales personnel, advertisers, and copywriters so that manufacturing, sales, and promotion are in synchronization.||It includes interaction with marketing and sales personnel, customer support, etc.|
Here are some commonly used terms in Brand Management −
|B2C E-Commerce||It is the online selling of goods and services to the final consumers.|
|Brand Association||It is the degree to which a specific product/service is recognized within its product or service category. For example, a person asking for Xerox wants to actually make true copies of a paper document.|
|Brand Awareness||It is the extent to which the consumer knows and can recall the brand.|
|Brand Cannibalism||When two brands in the same product line, offered by a company target the same market segment, and compete with each other by eating away the market share.|
|Brand Equity||It is the positive differential effect on the consumer about the branded product or service after knowing the brand. It is the potential of the brand to impact the business.|
|Brand Extension||It means using a successfully established brand name for one segment to enter another segment in the same brand market.|
|Brand Extension||It is using a successful brand name to launch a new or modified product under a new category.|
|Brand Image||It is the perception a consumer develops for a brand as reflected by the brand associations and holds in memory.|
|Brand Image or Brand Description||It is the association or belief the customer has towards a brand. It is not quantifiable.|
|Brand Personality||Brand is seen as if how it was if it were a human being.|
|Brand Proliferation||When one company introduces new brands in the same product lines with the aim to cover every market segment for that product line.|
|Brand Promise||It is the functional and emotional benefits that customer receives when he experiences products or services of a brand.|
|Brand Rejuvenation or Revitalizing||When marketers recognize the declining status of a brand and extend the life of brand by adding new product features, packaging, or presentation, it is called Brand Rejuvenation.|
|Brand Strength or Brand Loyalty||It is the measure of a customer’s attachment towards the brand. It is quantifiable.|
|Brand Stretching||It means using a successful brand name to explore a different market.|
|Brand Recall||It is the ability of the consumer to generate and retrieve the brand in their memory.|
|Brand Value||It is the total value of a brand as a separable asset when it is sold, or included in a balance sheet. It is quantifiable and considered as an accounting issue.|
|Chain Store||Multiple outlets that are owned and controlled in common, have same central buying and merchandising, and sell similar merchandise.|
|Co-branding||Alliance of multiple brands to launch a product or service in the market.|
|Commodity||It is a raw material or a primary agricultural product that can be bought or sold.|
|Consumer Brand Equity||Brand Strength + Brand Image.|
|Differentiation||The ability of a brand to stand apart from its competitors.|
|E-Business||The business running on the electronic platform such as Internet|
|E-Commerce||Buying and selling processes enabled by electronic means such as Internet.|
|Exchange||The act of obtaining something desired by offering something.|
|Export||It is entering a foreign market by selling the goods (maybe with a little modification) that are manufactured in the home country of a business.|
|Family Brand||It is when a parent brand is associated with multiple brands with brand extension.|
|Fashion||A contemporary style accepted in the given field.|
|Global Branding||Exposing brand into foreign markets.|
|Lifestyle||A person’s pattern of living as expressed in its activities, interests and preferences.|
|Market Segmentation||It is a marketing strategy of dividing a broad target market into groups of consumers, businesses or countries having common needs, interests, and priorities, and then designing and implementing strategies to target them.|
|Market Share||It is the percentage of market's total sales earned by a particular company over a specified time period.|
|Marketing Mix||It is the selection of different Ps (Product/Service, Price, Place, and Promotion) an organization uses to bring the product or service to the market.|
|Multi-Brand Portfolio||It is the coherent collection of brands, sub-brands, and co-brands included in the overall offering of the company, where each brand has a defined place and role.|
|Parent Brand||The one under which a company launches a new product.|
|Sub-Brand||The one which is associated with the already established brand.|
The humans have frequent needs as well as occasional needs in the life. They are varied in number of ways such as day-to-day living needs, social needs, health and medication needs, contemporary lifestyle needs, to name a few. According to this need-based market segmentation, the brands are diversified in different sectors such as personal care, home care, commodities, entertainment, healthcare, pharmaceutical, luxuries, and services.
There are two basic approaches of brands according to ownership −
|Manufacturer’s Brands||Private / Store Brands|
|They are created and owned by the producers.||They are created and developed by retailers, distributors, or wholesalers.|
|Manufacturer promotes its own brand extensively.||The retailer does not promote one single brand extensively. He can put the products of different brands on the shelves.|
|Their budgets of research and development, ads, sales promotion, distribution channels depth etc. are huge. Hence, there can be less profit margin.||There is very less budget allocated for ads. Similarly, research and development, distribution channels depth are lower. Hence, these brands can have higher profit margins.|
|They are more advanced and work innovatively on manufacturing technology.||There is no manufacturing technology involved, hence they can be less innovative.|
|They do not communicate with the consumers directly.||They work very closely with consumers, hence they have a better idea on what consumers demand.|
The brands can be further categorized depending on the human needs or the context as given −
The FMCG items such as grocery, toiletries, easy-to-cook foods, are essential for our daily lives. They are called fast moving because they are the quickest to get sold from the supermarket shelves. They are also called Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) brands. They are inexpensive and tangible products which can be produced in advance and can be stored to be consumed later.
The brand managers need to handle these brands tactfully to generate more revenue as there is fierce competition in the FMCG market. If a product does not meet the consumer’s expectations, there is always other brand ready to take the advantage.
Examples of FMCG − Unilever’s Dove Bodycare, Colgate Palmolive’s oral care, Godrej, Dabur, Burges Olive Oil, etc.
They are the products or services which consumers buy depending upon their price. There is no quantitative differentiation for commodities across the market. Milk, sugar, oil, grains and cereals, metals, wool and rubber, and natural gas, are all commodities.
Since it is not easy to pursue the consumers to pay more price for the parallel product he can get at a lesser price, the sellers need to put in a lot of effort on color, logo, brand character, and packaging to differentiate the product so it makes a significant impact on the consumers’ mind. Also, the seller needs to keep on adding value to the product.
Examples of commodities − TATA Salt, General Mill’s Pillsbury whole wheat flour, etc.
They are not essential but highly desired out of one’s own perception and self-worth. The desirability is based on the consumer’s demand of high quality, fine craftsmanship, exclusivity, precision, and beauty. Also, peer recognition, appreciation, and approval of high status are the underlying needs which promote luxury brands. High-end automobiles, jewelry, cosmetics, accessories, properties, and perfumes come under luxury brands.
These brands are divided into three categories −
Prestige Brands − Mercedes-Benz, Rolex, Swarovski, etc. represent high craftsmanship and lavishness. They are regarded as the mark of high social status.
Premium Brands − They are mass luxury brands. For example, Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger.
Fashion Brands − They bring fashion products such as apparels and accessories under “hot trends” and target mass consumers. They bring products according to the seasons.
Most luxury companies are small to medium sized enterprises. Presence of luxury brands must be maintained all over the world to reinforce the brand image in the consumer’s mind. They are available in flagship stores.
Under these brands, a business makes a commercial transaction with another business. Such transactions occur when one business provides resources to another business for manufacturing some product, and when one business supplies or rents out the products to another business.
B2B companies must pursue global branding as they have less number of customers than B2C companies and more number of transactions with other businesses.
For example, restaurants buy cooking energy, raw materials, crockery, furniture, lights, etc. from different businesses. Retailers buy a product from original manufacturer for reselling it. McDonalds, Pizza Hut, IBM, GE, Microsoft, and Oracle are B2B brands to name a few.
These brands cover the products which are commonly known as drugs or medicines used to diagnose, treat, and prevent a disease. There are more than 70,000 registered brands of drugs.
Pharmaceutical brands are different than consumer brands in various prominent ways. Unlike consumer products, where requirement can be generated through creative advertising and other promotional means, a pharmaceutical company cannot create a need that is not there.
Any new pharmaceutical product cannot create demand without underlying medical need. In addition, the product features of prescription drugs cannot be changed to meet consumer needs or preferences without clinical development outcomes and receiving approval from the regulatory authorities.
Examples of pharmaceutical brands − Simila Expert Care nutrition for infants from Abbott Laboratories, USA and Dr Reddy’s Nise™.
The service sector has spurred the economic growth of many countries. Services are produced and consumed in real time. The output of a service brand is intangible, such as experience of the consumer.
In service branding, the speed of processing the consumer’s request, punctuality in delivery, quality, and degree of attending special needs, and responsiveness are the factors the service provider caters for. Because of its intangible nature and dependency on dynamic nature of humans who provide it, branding of service is difficult.
The domestic and industrial appliances, automobiles, etc. are sold with the promise of quality servicing. The quality and cost claimed by the services belonging to the same industry can vary to a great extent. Service brands are categorized into the following types −
Classic Service Brands − They include banks, beauty salons, consultation services, car rentals, and airline services.
Pure Service Brands − They include association memberships.
Professional Service Brands − They include advisors, consultants, travel agents, estate agents, etc.
Retail Service Brands − They include restaurants, fashion stores, supermarkets, etc.
Examples of service brands − Ford, Airtel, Axis Bank, Air India, Café Coffee Day by Coffee Day Global Ltd., Lifestyle fashion retailing by Landmark, ICICI Prudential Life Insurance, etc.
These brands portray their entire image, such as the company’s value, competency, vision, motives, missions, products/services etc. through web to the online consumer. EBrands work to create a direct relationship between the brand owner and the customer via Internet. Due to their wide reachability, it is easy for the e-brands to survive among competitors and gain reputation among consumers.
The consumers are loyal to the sellers whose online commercial transaction schemes are familiar, tested, and established. When the e-Brands provide features such as facility to compare various products, listing products within a specified cost or feature segment, easy and reliable payment modes, then the e-Brands can make place in their consumers’ minds.
Examples of e-Brand − Flipkart, Amazon, etc.
Countries, like companies, apply branding to help themselves market for investment, tourism, and exports. The ‘Country of Origin’ is commonly referenced by the term ‘Made in…’ which depicts an association with the product’s place of origin, which works as effectively as product quality.
Consumers are aware of the origin of the product and ethics used behind creating that product. Some associations of countries and products are France = fashion, wine, and cheese, Italy = design, India = spices, Denmark = chocolate, Germany = automotive, Japan = electronics, etc.
Today, the brands apart from being associated with their countries also need to show their strong connection with the country such as having a manufacturing setup in the country, influx of designs emerging from the talent present in the country, or having a part of production process set up in that country. For the simple reason, the consumers are more likely to buy the product or service if they are authentic. The brand managers need to emphasize on such points while branding.
The Country Brand Index (CBI) measures and ranks the countries on the strength and power of their nation’s brand.
Examples of brand messaging by some countries − “Botswana Our pride, your destination.”, “Canada – Keep exploring”.
Brand equity is the heart of brand management. The brand managers are engaged in building strong brand equity as it directly affects the consumer’s buying decisions, defines market share of the product, and determines the brand position in the market. Strong brand equity can not only make the brand strong but also help the brand establish, survive, and perform well in the long run.
Let us understand, what brand equity is and why it matters.
This term came up in the marketing literature in 1980. This multidimensional concept has different meanings from the context of Accounts, Marketing, and Consumer.
Accounting Context − It is a total value of a brand as a separable asset, when evaluated for selling. It is also called Brand Value. It is quantifiable.
Marketing Context − It is the description of consumer’s associations and beliefs about the brand. It is non-quantifiable. Brand equity is tailored according to the needs and demands of the consumer.
Consumer-based Context − It is a measure of consumers’ attachment to a brand. It is also called brand strength or loyalty. It is quantifiable.
As per Amber and Styles (1996), Brand Equity is a store of profits which can be realized in future.
For brand management, the brand equity is vital as it establishes and fosters the customer loyalty towards the brand, and directly influences the business growth may it be a well-established or a new business.
There can be two motivations to study brand equity −
Finance-based motivation − You can estimate the brand value more precisely for accounting purposes, such as to evaluate the brand as an asset for the purpose of reflecting in the balance sheet, or in case of merging or acquiring a business.
Strategy-based motivation − You can study brand equity to improve productivity of marketing.
It is a progressive loss of brand integrity due to weakening of essential brand elements. It also includes losing the respect of consumers and consistency of the brand. It is a gradual process. For example, a number of US airlines are facing brand decay since years.
Here are some most important reasons of brand decay −
Company fails to manage strategies, create new value, and acquire new customers or new marketplaces.
Company treats the brand merely as a static asset than as a medium to create customer value.
Customer expectations are more than what a brand can deliver.
Presence of issues in brand equity building.
Company palms off brand-customer relationship on customer service department.
Company halts innovations in products or services. The worst part is, customers start suggesting innovations.
David Aaker and Kelvin Lane Keller developed the brand equity models. Let us learn about both the models.
David Aaker defines brand equity as a set of assets and liabilities linked to a brand that add value to or subtract value from the product or service under that brand. He developed a brand equity model (also called Five Assets Model) in which he identifies five brand equity components −
The following factors depict the extent to which customers are loyal to a brand −
Reduced Costs − Maintaining loyal customers is cheaper than charming new ones.
Trade Leverage − The loyal customers generate steady source of revenue.
Bringing New Customers − Existing customers boost brand awareness and can bring new customers.
Competitive Threats Response Time − Loyal customers take time to switch to a new product or service offered by other brand. Hence this buys time for the company to respond to competitive threats.
The following measures depict the extent to which a brand is widely known among consumers −
Association Anchors − Depending upon the brand strength, associations can be attached to the brand which influence brand awareness.
Familiarity − The consumers familiar with a brand will speak more about it and thus, influence brand awareness.
Substantiality − Consumers’ review on brand brings substantial and strong commitment towards the brand.
Consumer’s Consideration − At the time of purchasing, consumer looks for a particular brand.
It is the extent to which a brand is believed to provide quality products. It can be measured on the following criteria −
Quality − The quality itself is the reason to buy.
Brand Position − This is a level of differentiation as compared to competing brands. Higher the position, higher is the perceived quality.
Price − When quality of the product is too complex to assess and consumer’s status comes into picture, the consumer takes price as a quality indicator.
Wide Availability − Consumers take widely available product as a reliable one.
Number of Brand Extensions − The consumers tend to take a brand with more extensions as a measure of product guarantee.
It is the degree to which a specific product/service is recognized within its product or service category. For example, a person asking for Xerox wants to actually make true copies of a paper document.
Information Retrieval − It is the extent to which the brand name is able to retrieve or process the associations from consumer’s memory.
Drive Purchasing − This is the extent to which brand associations drive consumers to purchase.
Attitude − This is the extent to which brand associations create positive attitude in the consumer’s mind.
Number of Brand Extensions − More the extensions, more the opportunity to add brand associations.
They are patents, copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, and other intellectual property rights. More the number of proprietary assets a brand has, greater is the brand’s competency in the market.
This model is developed by Kelvin Lane Keller, a marketing professor at Dartmouth College. It is based on the idea that the power of a brand lies in what the consumer has heard, learnt, felt, and seen as a brand over time. Hence this model is also termed as Customer Based Brand Equity (CBBE) model.
According to CBBE model, it takes answers to four basic questions for building brand equity starting from the base of the pyramid shown above −
It is not only how often and easily the consumer can recall or recognize the brand but also where and when he thinks of the brand. The key is to create brand salience to acquiring correct brand identity.
According to Keller, to make the brand meaningful it is essential to create a brand image and characteristics. Brand meaning arises out of brand associations, which can be imagery-related or function-related.
The imagery-related associations depict how well the brand meets social and psychological needs of the consumer. The function-related association such as product or service performance is what the consumer looks for primarily.
Regardless of the type of product or service, developing and delivering the product that completely satisfies the customer’s needs and demands is the prime objective of making the brand meaningful. A brand with the right identity and meaning creates a sense of relevance in the consumer’s mind.
The companies must cater for the consumer’s response. Keller segregates these responses into consumer’s judgments and consumer’s feelings.
Consumer Judgments − They are consumer’s personal opinions regarding the brand and how he has put imagery-related and performance-related associations together. There are four types of judgments crucial for creating a strong brand −
Consumer Feelings − They are consumer’s emotional reactions to the brand. They can be mild, intense, positive, negative, driven from heart or head. There are six important feelings crucial in brand building −
It is the level of personal identification the consumer has with the brand. It is also called brand resonance, when a consumer has a deep psychological bonding with the brand. Brand resonance is the most difficult and highly desirable level to achieve. Keller categorizes this into four types −
Behavioral Loyalty − Consumers may purchase a brand repeatedly or in high volume.
Attitudinal Attachment − Some consumers may buy a brand because it is their favorite possession or out of some pleasure.
Sense of Community − Being identified with a brand community develops kinship in the consumer’s mind towards representatives, employees, or other people associated with the brand.
Active Engagement − Consumers invests time, money, energy, or other resources and participates actively in brand chat rooms, blogs, etc., beyond mere consumption of brand. Thus, the consumers strengthen the brand.
BrandZ is the world’s largest brand equity database created and updated by Millward Brown, a multinational company working in advertising, marketing communications, media, and brand equity research.
This database was created in 1998 and is being updated continuously since then. It lists top 100 global brands since 2006. To compile this database, the raw data is collected from about two million consumers and professionals across more than 30 countries. It lists around 23000 brands.
BrandZ is the only brand valuation tool that helps brand owners to find out how much brand alone can contribute to corporate value.
Brand asset valuation evaluates a brand’s value, strength, and performance as compared to other brands in the market. An agency named Young and Rubicam developed a metric called Brand Asset Valuator (BAV), which measures brand vitality, which is the brand’s potential in terms of its future growth and brand power.
The brand is analyzed in the following terms −
Differentiation − How different and better is the brand from its competitors?
Relevance − How closely the target audience can relate with the brand offer?
Esteem − Has the brand built its esteem by keeping all promises it made to the target audience?
Knowledge − How many of the target audience know the brand?
Brand equity, being the heart of brand management is very. Peter Farquhar, in a paper he published on Managing Brand Equity, suggests three stages in building strong brand identity −
Introduce − Introduce an innovative and quality product in the market. Use brand as a platform to launch future products. Customer’s positive recognition is very important.
Elaborate − Create brand awareness and associations so that the customers remember the brand and the positive opinions about it for a long time.
Fortify − Make the brand create a positive consistent image in the customer’s mind. Develop brand extensions and create customer-brand emotional relationship to fortify the brand.
In the contemporary market, three essential characteristics are required to manage the brand − brand identity, brand image, and brand positioning.
Brand identity is nothing but the belief fostered by the brand, its uniqueness and key values. A brand has an identity when it is driven by a goal different from competing brands and is resistant to changes.
A strong brand identity can be built when you have answers to these questions −
Brand image is the set of beliefs, real and imaginary shortcomings about the brand developed over a time and held in the consumer’s mind.
Brand image is built using communication media such as advertising, publicity by mouth, packaging, online marketing programs, social media, and other ways of promotions.
When the company portfolio is growing, the brands tend to evolve. It is critically important to define the structure of the brands within a portfolio to keep the brand health strong.
The brand managers need to take various decisions such as considering the right time to extend the existing brand, selecting appropriate brand name, whether or not to have different websites for multiple brands and so on. Since each of such decisions has direct implications on the future, a plan for brands is developed to provide clarity to the consumers.
Brand architecture comes in play while presenting the brand efficiently. Let us learn more about brand architecture.
It is the structure of the brand in an organizational entity that defines how various brands and sub-brands in a company’s portfolio are related to each other or are different from one another.
Brand architecture provides a hierarchy that depicts the roles and relationships within the products and services that make a company’s portfolio and makes sure that the external stakeholders understand the value of what the brands offer.
They can be varied from pure to hybrid. However, generally brand architecture is distinguished into two categories − House of brands and Branded house.
|House of Brands||Branded House|
Multiple brands or activities are brought together under a single name. There is complete freedom for the management of divisions, activities and the brands.
Mitsubishi Motors division and Mitsubishi Electricals division are completely unrelated except the fact that they come under Mitsubishi business. Both divisions manage their own advertising, and brand values, and obtain separate profits.
It is a family of brands with high degree of unity. Here, the master brand structures the child brands in such a manner that they are capable of expressing the value of a parent brand. Master brand is the single brand acting as a driving force.
For example, Google.
Google books, Google maps, Google Translate, Google Mail, etc., all come under the master brand Google and only differentiate in their descriptions.
Let us see the brand architecture strategies in detail −
The brand is a kind of product brand, if the corporate brand name is hidden and every product is assigned a different name and one single positioning. Each new product is a new brand.
In this type, the company name is well known and guarantees the quality of the products. For source brand, the products are on the forefront, while the company name remains in the background.
When a variant is added to the existing brand, it is called line extension. The variant can be anything from color, packaging, nutritional value addition, or a new shape. Line brand targets a subset of the consumers.
For example, Cadbury Bournville comes in three flavors − Raisin & Nut, Rich Cocoa, and Cranberry. Likewise Dairy Milk Silk comes in Orange Peel, Roast Almond, and Fruit & Nut variants.
This is the simplest type, where all units and divisions of a business share the same brand. The brand name is used for different but related products. It involves creating a brand equity for a single brand. It is also referred to as Corporate, Umbrella, or Parent brand. In this type, the product or service benefits are less important than brand promise. It drives purchase decisions and defines consumer experience.
Here, a parent brand consists of various operating units which are identified by their own brands. The parent endorses the products or services under itself and has a clear market presence. There is a synergy between the product name and the parent name. This architecture provides credibility, approval, and guarantee to another brand.
For example, Marriot Residence Inn, Courtyard, and Fairfield Inn.
In this type, all or many brands are kept with separate identities, names, and life cycles of their own. They often compete with each other. The parent does not provide any brand equity to benefit the sub-brands. This structure is found in FMCG companies.
In this architecture, a principle brand supports to qualify other brands. The idea is, if the ingredient is good, it amplifies the brands better than they would have amplified independently without the ingredient. Thus, the ingredient brands turn out as energizer.
For example, Intel Inc. Any computer brand’s ad says “Intel Inside”, depicting Intel processor enabled motherboard that comes with high power and speed of execution.
It is a combination of monolithic, endorsement, and portfolio architectures. These are the most common solutions.
Brand architecture needs to be revised when the companies change their strategies or the business has added important features which are beyond the existing brand structure.
The following parameters should be considered while choosing an appropriate branding strategy −
Since most of the brand architectures are built over a substantial period of time in the domestic market, there are some all-time questions while launching the brand on the global canvas −
Should the brand architecture be globalized?
Can the present brand architecture be taken to the new potential countries?
How to handle internationalizing of brand architecture in different countries when there is difference in their respective infrastructure, civic rules and regulations, media costs, to name a few?
For instance, it is definite that taking a brand architecture to Russia could be smoother than taking it to the US as the media and distribution costs are higher in the US.
If a brand architecture is not proper, it can lead to unwelcome consequences. Few instances are as follows −
When there are too many daughter brands, the parent brand loses the focus. In the bargain of achieving recognition for the daughter brand, the parent brand takes a backstep. While launching a daughter brand, it gets people’s attention and the daughter brand attracts all the investment on the advertisement. It gets remarkably successful thereby taking over the image of the parent brand. The solution to this is, turn daughter brand into a simple product.
For example, Golf, the daughter brand of Volkswagen swallowed it up in image. Amul Lite, a daughter brand is swallowing parent brand Amul butter due to increased health-consciousness of consumers.
The company makes innovative products or makes improvements in the existing product. When a superior product comes up, it is time to decide for the brand managers whether to extend the new product as a part of the original brand or launch it as a new product with a potential of becoming a brand in itself.
While branding the new product out of innovation, the connection between the product and the company that develops it should not be weakened.
The company grows by bringing out the best in its product. Every time a research and development team comes up with the innovative product, the brand managers have to decide on what to name that ‘new’ product.
For example, a cement manufacturing company came up with an innovative cement that provides extremely smooth surface. Before introducing it into the market, brand managers need to be decide what to name the product. Is it fine to extend the name just as ‘new ultra smooth cement from…’? Or should it be given a name that can stand as a brand in itself later?
Brand name is the mightiest form of its identity. It tells the objective of the program and reveals brand intentions. Some brand names and products apparently seem irrelevant.
As in case of ‘Apple’, the microcomputers brand, Steve Jobs and the co-founder Steve Wozniak chose this name with the logo of a munched apple as they intended to give a new look to the conventional human-machine relationship. The apple logo tells that a computer machine is something to enjoy, rather than to fear about. Similarly, Amazon logo with a directed arrow from a-to-z depicts range, continuity, strength, and uninterrupted flow.
Thus, to make a strong brand, almost any name can be chosen, with the fact that the brand managers need to put consistent efforts in making the brand name meaningful.
Brand name is not a product. Hence while selecting brand name for a new product, the names which differentiate the product among its competitors must be chosen instead of those that describe what the product does.
Instead of working behind a logo or a brand name, the companies have started coming up as brands themselves called corporate brands. They are choosing to become as widely visible as possible out of the consumer’s demand of responsibility and transparency.
By presenting itself under corporate brand profile, the companies can attract students and executives in the employment market. In Asia, at the end of Procter and Gamble television ad, company signature is displayed for a few seconds as it is already visible and established as a corporate brand. In the US the P&G experience is different and it needs efforts to make itself more visible.
Few companies have preferred to keep their own names separate from their brand names for the reason of getting affected in case of brand failure. There are other reasons of corporate visibility over product visibility. The multi-brand retailers, hyper chains are interested in corporate visibility of a company rather than product brands they sell as their basic B2B relation is with companies and not with brands.
In today’s market, the customer has a very wide choice of products. When it comes to brands, he chooses brands but he tends to compare the products of different brands. Products increase customer’s choice whereas brands simplify decision making. To influence the customer’s buying decision and to get hold of the competitor’s market share, brand identity and positioning are essential.
Brand management works with these two fundamental tools, brand identity and brand positioning. Let us understand these terms −
It specifies that a brand has a goal that is different from the goals of other parallel brands in the same market segment and it has resistance to change. It is defined clearly and does not change over time.
Brand identity is fixed in nature being tied to the fixed parameters such as brand’s vision, objective, field of competence, and overall brand charter.
Brand positioning is emphasizing on the distinguishing characteristics of the brand, those that make the brand appealing to the consumers and stand out among its competitors. It specifies how the products of a brand penetrate the market to grow their market share while dealing with the competitor brands. Brand positioning is competition oriented and hence dynamic over a period of time.
Brand identity can be represented by six faces of a hexagon or a prism as shown below −
Brand Physique − It is the tangible and physical added value, as well as the backbone of a brand. It considers physical aspect of brand: How does it look, what does it do, the flagship product of the brand, which represents its qualities. For example, the dark color of Coke and colorless Sprite.
Brand Personality − If a brand were a person, what kind of person it would be? Would it be sincere (TATA Salt), exciting (Perk), rugged (Woodland), sophisticated (Mercedes), elite (Versace)? The brand has personality which speaks for its products and services.
When a famous character, spokesperson, or a figurehead is used for branding, it gives the brand an instant personality.
Culture − It is the set of values that governs and inspires the brand. Countries of origin, presence of brand over geographically diverse regions, changing society, etc., play an important role in building a brand’s culture.
Customer Self-Image − It is what the brand is able to create in the customer’s mind and how the customers perceive about themselves after purchasing the product of a brand.
Customer Reflection − It is the perception of a customer about the brand after using the brand. For example, “The Thunderbird I purchased is value for price. It is giving me pleasure of leisure riding. Thanks to Royale Enfield.”
Relationship − Brands communicate, interact, transact with the consumer. It is the mode of conduct that defines the brand. This factor is vital for service brands. For example, banking where the cordial relationship develops faith in the customers when it comes to handling their money with respect.
Let us consider the example of brand identity prism for Garnier’s BB cream −
Keller defines brand image as awareness of brand name (whether and when customers know the brand and can recall it) and belief about brand image (customer’s associations with the brand). If either of both is created successfully while leaving the other one in poor state, it brings down the brand drastically.
For example, Salman Khan is a brand in himself with very high awareness. But his image went bad due to the hit-and-run case and that spoiled his reputation.
Creation of Brand knowledge is a collective effort of consumer, marketer, researchers, distributors, and ad agencies.
Creating brand knowledge is extremely important for the company’s stakeholders.
There can be a single brand portfolio or multiple brand portfolios. The companies decide courageously to create a new brand for its growth when the existing brand does not perform satisfactorily.
There is a wide variety of consumers in terms of their behavior, economic status, tastes, genders, age groups, and preferences. If the market segmentation is too diverse, it becomes hard for a single brand to meet the demand of maximum consumers. Thus, the main objective of creating a multi-brand portfolio is to meet the demands of the segmented market in a better way.
To avoid the conflicts with the existing brand and the market segment, the companies are inclined towards creating a new brand each time it ventures into a new market segment. A multi-brand portfolio covers large market segment and can stop entry of any new competitor in the market.
Place and operate the brands within a portfolio with strong coordination.
Set clear and precise charter and identity for each brand.
Build strong brand architecture. Position the brands to increase their appropriateness and target market.
Focus on a particular competitor for each brand.
Keep corporate organization and brand portfolio matched.
Brand stays in the minds of consumers and helps the company to grow their market share and revenue. Here are few basic steps to build a strong brand −
Study the market, need of the hour, competitors, and target audience. Study the purpose of what you wish to accomplish through the brand.
Decide brand personality, culture, and profile. Think of distinctive features to stand out from the competitors.
Identify how the stakeholders perceive the brand. Bridge the perception gaps.
Decide where you want the brand to position in the market.
Create a plan and work on strategies where you want to place the brand.
Communicate the brand to consumers via TV ads, social media, online marketing, etc.
Make sure the consumers remember the brand.
Evaluate if the consumers are influenced in a right way and if you have accomplished the purpose.
To identify brand positioning, the brand manager needs to study the market segment of venture. To establish a strong brand positioning, you need to get clear answers to the following questions −
Brand for what benefit?
For example, The Body Shop uses natural ingredients in its products and is environment-friendly. Tropicana packs real fruit juices in tetra packs, etc.
Brand for whom?
It is the target audience of the brand grouped as gender, age, economic bracket, etc. For example, while Nike is top clothing brand for all income group, Gucci and Fossil remain high income handbags brands.
Brand for what reason?
These are the facts that support claimed benefits.
Brand against whom?
This defines the way to attack competitors’ market share.
There is a standard formula to achieve brand positioning −
For … (target market of potential buyers or consumers) Brand X is … (definition of frame of reference and category) Which gives the most … (promise or consumer benefit) Because of … (reason to believe)
The target market is the psychological and social profile of the consumers a brand aims to influence.
Frame of reference is the nature of competition.
Promise or consumer benefit is the feature that creates preference and drives decision after making choice. For example, Cadbury promises its Silk chocolate bars to be the smoothest ones among other Cadbury chocolate bars.
The reason to believe is reinforcement of promise or consumer benefit. For example, Tropicana Products, the producer and marketer (a division of PepsiCo), promises to be delivering 100% pure fruit juices in its Pure Premium juices range.
Let us take an example of brand positioning conducted by Shoppers Stop, the retail chain in India that sells retail clothing, handbags, jewelry, perfumes, toys, home furnishing, and accessories. It has business of 20 billion dollars. It was founded in 1991 with first store at Mumbai and expanded rapidly across the country soon. The consumers perceived it as mass market brand and it started losing its shine in the retail competition in 2008.
The brand managers and company management together carried out a store audit at all outlets, studied customer experiences, updated brand identity, and came up with new tagline, “Start something new”. It then repositioned the brand as premium, accessibleluxury sector. This position of bridge-to-luxury appealed young, middle-class consumers in India, who had their own money to spend at a young age. The new repositioning also added the credibility of Shoppers Stop to preset itself as a potential partner for international brands who were looking to enter the Indian market.
The impact was, its share price grew 450% from 52-week low, sales rose more than 10%, and as newly acquired strength of positioning the brand, it started co-branding with international brands such as Chanel, Dior, Armani, Esprit, Tommy Hilfiger, Mothercare, Mustang, Austin Reed, and so on.
Consumers are interested in brand values. When the consumer understands the brand value, he can interact with the business in a particular way.
For defining and establishing brand values, you need to take an honest look at the product or service. You can proceed by using the following steps −
Step 1 − Find out the answers for the following questions −
Step 2 − Compile a list of values related to the product/service, such as −
Step 3 − Narrow down the list of values.
Bring down the list of values which are absolutely indisputable for execution of your business. Recommended number of values is three to four.
For example, if your brand’s value is timeliness then make sure you keep the promise of shipping and delivery of products always on time, handle and reply to your customer inquiries in timely manner, attend the customer’s call in the shortest possible time etc. Make sure that the value is always consistently honored, despite any internal or external situation.
Step 4 − Use the list as a reference.
Use the list of brand values while creating new products or services, dealing with clients, consumers, and partners.
Venturing into global markets is inevitable for brands. A brand is global when it is visible and sold at every possible place in the world. The consumer around the world become aware of various international brands if they travel worldwide or just watch a satellite television at home.
Before you take the brand in the global market, you need to cater to various aspects of the global consumer such as −
Culture of Consumers −
Economic status of the country in terms of −
Laws and Regulations enforced −
When the brand transits from local to global, it competes with other global brands. For example, Nokia battles Motorola and Samsung. The brand managers must manage the transnational brand to remain superior on the essentials such as the brand’s price, performance, features, and imagery.
Brand promotion is the way to inform, remind, persuade convincingly, and influence the consumers to drive their decision towards purchasing the product or service under a brand. Marketing force of a company conducts brand promotion primarily, though the wholesalers and retailers also can do it.
Brand promotion is required to −
Promote information related to features, prices, and special schemes of the brand.
Differentiate the product by convincing the customers about the unique features of the brand.
Create and increase the demand for the product.
Build brand equity.
Stabilize the sales affected by natural, social, or political changes. For example, Nescafe promoted its new brand of 'iced coffee' to increase sales during summer.
Outperform the competitor’s marketing efforts: In a highly competitive market, even a well-established brand has to be promoted to retain market share. For example, Coca Cola and Pepsi work to nullify each other's efforts.
Build positive brand image.
There are various brand promotion methods conducted to keep the brand noticeable −
Organizing Contests − To attract the consumers, various contests are organized for consumers without having them to purchase the product and giving away gifts or prizes.
Promotion on Social Media − When the brand is promoted on social media, it is not perceived as “aggressively trying to sell”, rather as being able to communicate at a more personal level.
Product Giveaways − This strategy is used for promoting edibles, toiletries, foods, etc., where a small sample is given away to the consumers for free trial.
Point-of-Sale Promotion − These items are placed near the checkout counter in the store and are often purchased by consumers on impulse as they wait to be checked out.
Customer Referral Incentive Programs − This is a way to bring new customers with the help of the existing customers by offering some incentives to the existing customers.
Causes and Charity − Some percent of the amount after selling the product is donated for a cause or charity thereby promoting the product. Charity and cause are the reasons which induce the feelings of helping in the customers.
Promotional Gifts − It is giving away of gifts which the customers can practically use, such as caps, key chains, pens, etc. This helps the brand to always remain with the customers and creates an emotional attachment.
Customer Appreciation − It is organized with the objective of not selling the product or service. It is a way of creating a fond memory attached with the brand. It includes organizing in-store refreshment events with the offer of food treats of pizza, burger, beverages, etc. It is an effective way to bring new potential customers.
Another way of promoting brands is by employing a brand ambassador. A brand ambassador is a person who embodies the brand, influences the customers, creates brand awareness and a specific brand image, and generates sales opportunities.
A brand ambassador usually represents only one brand at a time. The employing company considers the brand ambassador as a face of the company that speaks of the brand in their own words and boosts the positive image in the minds of consumers. The looks, talents, status, achievements, and reputation of a brand ambassador is useful for influencing large audience of consumers.
In 2003, India’s largest chocolate brand, Cadbury went into worm controversy. To regain the consumer’s confidence, Cadbury contracted the Bollywood superstar Mr. Amitabh Bachchan for brand promotion. During his campaign, Cadbury not only restored the trust of consumers but also experienced boost in the sales of its flagship product Cadbury Dairy Milk (CDM).
Celebrity branding is nothing but using celebrities to promote the brand. The celebrities are featured in both electronic and print media ads. They appear at brand launches, corporate events for social responsibility, and other such events.
Celebrity brand endorsers are different from brand ambassadors as the former are not employed by the company as the latter. The popularity, fame, and charisma of the celebrities is useful in brand promotion. Celebrities can endorse multiple brands at the same time unlike brand ambassadors. Similarly, a company can have multiple celebrities to promote its brand.
Online brand promotion comes with the challenge of integrating the marketing mix (putting the right product, at the right price, at the right time) with the multi-channel, multi-device digital marketing.
Online brand promotion leverages the power of Internet to present the brand to worldwide audience. But it is a kind of double-edged sword as whatever good a brand has can reach globally so does the brand’s weaknesses. There are various ways to promote a brand online. Such as
Publishing articles, news, spreading business links throughout the web, channeling the promotional schemes and ads towards the target audience, creating and updating the blogs and the forums.
Creating and sharing videos, audios, and pictures of the brand on top ranking websites such as YouTube.
Creating the company’s business account on leading social networking websites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and promoting the brand by gaining new followers.
Engaging in social gaming such as Zynga, Kongregate, etc., under the name of the brand.
Brand extension is required for a company’s growth, profitability, and brand’s added reputation. It is an inevitable strategic move at some point of time in brand management.
While extending a brand, all assumptions related to that brand held for a long time are revised and the brand’s identity is redefined. The brand managers need to identify growth opportunities and increase parent brand’s value.
It is nothing but launching a product in a different category under an already established brand name. It is extending the existing brand promise with diverse products or services.
The following diagram shows the matrix of brand growth.
When a company introduces a new product, it has the following choices −
New Brand, New Product (New Brand)
New Brand, Existing Product (Multi-Brand)
Existing Brand, New Product (Brand Extension)
Existing Brand, Existing Product (Line Extension)
The last two in the above list are the types of brand extensions.
A variation of existing product launched under the existing brand. It often adds different flavor, package size or shape. Here, established brand is the parent brand.
For example, Coke is basic brand with Diet Coke as extension.
A new product is launched under existing brand. It often adds a product of different category. The new associated brand is a sub-brand.
For example, ITC brand with Sunfeast cookies, Vivel shampoo, Bingo chips as its sub-brands. In 1994, Titan Industries Ltd. extended the brand Tanishq, India’s only national jewelry brand.
Let us see yet another excellent example of systematic brand extension, Nivea.
Just like product launching, brand extension demands time, resource allocation, energy, and associated risks. When the brand is exposed into unknown market, it might face dominance among established competitors. In addition, the brand image can come into trouble too.
Brand adaption is nothing but introducing and engaging the consumer with the brand. It involves five steps −
Awareness − Customer knows the brand but does not have complete information.
Interest − Customer tries to find more information on the brand.
Evaluation − Customer tries to know how beneficial the brand would be.
Trial − Makes first purchase to determine its usefulness or worth.
Adapt/Reject − Becomes a loyal customer or looks for some other parallel brand.
The brand adaption practices involves the following steps −
Develop internal (brand managers and representatives) and external launching (consumer and prospects) of brand.
Impart positive attitude towards the brand among sales managers and marketers.
Create high customer demands and expectations about the brand.
Provide training for the sales and customer care force to practically deliver the brand promise.
There are various scenarios where a brand has successfully extended or failed to extend. For example, Bic ballpoint pens. It extended successfully into disposable razors but the extension into perfumes was a failure.
The factors that influence acceptability of a brand extension are mainly −
Perceived risk − It is the evaluation of uncertainty about the type and degree of expected loss after making the consumer makes a choice.
Consumer’s Innovativeness − Personal trait or desire of consumers to try a new brand/product and thereby experience something new.
Product Similarity − Greater the degree of similarity of the extended product with the original product, more is the chance of transferring the positive effect.
Parent Brand Reputation and Strength − Brand’s reputation is associated with the consumer’s perception of the quality of the brand. Strong and reputed brands leverage extension than weak brands.
A company requires to rebrand when it decides to change any of its brand elements such as brand name, logo, slogan, or even a small change in the message for better communication and more relevant brand promise. Rebranding is extremely important, expensive to execute, and risky.
There are multiple reasons behind why companies initiate rebranding. These reasons can be categorized into two types − proactive or reactive. Let us take a deeper look.
It happens when a company anticipates and prepares for future changes in the market.
To prevent or prepare for future potential threats by competitors.
To plan for international growth, rebranding the products and services into a consolidated brand thereby saving money over time and creating a greater sense of brand unity.
To enter into a category of business, product, or market which no longer remains cohesive to the existing brand identity. In case of Apple Inc., as the company evolved into new businesses beyond computers, the original brand name Apple Computers became too restrictive. It was then changed to Apple Inc. At the same time, Apple Inc. updated its logo depicting its progress.
To attract new audience, or want to appeal to it. In case of McDonald’s ads, it refers to itself as McDonald’s to target a different demographic from its traditional audience.
To increase the brand relevance in consumer’s mind, the company might decide to rebrand. For example, when the use of printed Yellow Pages directories started declining, Yellow Pages rebranded to YP.
This branding occurs when the companies need to react to a significant change. Reactive rebranding might happen in the following situations −
When companies need to work on negative brand image.
For example, during 1990-2000, the London based men’s clothes making company Burberry’s public image was associated with hooliganism and violence. The brand had lost its image so badly that the clubs and pubs in UK had started banning entry for the people wearing Burberry. The company worked to disassociate itself from such an image by changing styles of the product, changing their logo, and applying excellence in everything.
When companies merge or acquire other companies, or when they separate. For example, California based Intel rival and chipmaker, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) is considering to split shortly.
When there are legal issues with branding. Trademarks are often the root cause for rebranding. For example, an Australian business tries to expand into USA and finds that its existing name is already trademarked and not available for use in USA.
When a competitor manifests a company’s brand as useless or outdated, then rebranding helps to get an opportunity to facelift the brand to effectively strike back in the market.
When changes take place in business regulations, laws, competitors, etc.
When a company lands up into a significant controversy or negative publicity, it considers rebranding to rebuild the trust of consumers and stakeholders. It cuts up all the ties with the issues in picture and moves on with the new form of brand.
Relaunching a brand is reintroducing a brand into the market. Relaunching implies that a company was marketing the brand but stopped doing so for some reasons. Relaunching is an opportunity to set new objectives for the brand.
Relaunching a brand can demand the changes ranging from the aspects as minor as logo prints on stationery and cutlery, staff uniforms, to as major as website of the company, changes in premises, etc.
When a company relaunches a brand, it hopes to avoid the mistakes from past experience and wants to set a strong foot in the market. A brand manager needs to consider the following do’s and don’ts while relaunching a brand −
Analyzing the marketplace and target market segment.
Knowing about the competitor brands.
Conducting SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis.
Positioning the brand in an appropriate new form.
Avoiding too many changes in too short time. This type of strategy can lead to the risk of not retaining consumer’s attention and interest for a long time. In future, it can make the company and its products unrecognizable to its existing customers. Let the consumer know about the new form the brand has taken.
Communicating clearly about the brand relaunch. Creating awareness among people about new objectives and distinctive offers. Making the changes gradually and noticeably.
Let us see an example of NIVEA FOR MEN relaunch. In 1980, NIVEA introduced an alcohol-free, non-itching aftershave balm for men. It went popular with consumers, and then by 1993, NIVEA FOR MEN included a range of skincare products for men.
By 2008, more and more men were investing in skincare and grooming products. NIVEA FOR MEN brand understood this as an opportunity to claim more market share in the growing category. To achieve this, NIVEA employed a strategic marketing to relaunch and reorganize.
NIVEA assessed the marketplace, evaluated its own business, brands, and products. It also assessed the brand’s position and the state of the market. It conducted SWOT analysis and revealed some interesting facts such as women are an important target market for the brand NIVEA FOR MEN as they are instrumental in buying male grooming products for their partners as well as helping them to choose new ones.
Well-informed with SWOT analysis data, NIVEA FOR MEN brand management set objectives for relaunch. Using research data to forecast trends, the marketing force set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic) objectives. This helped in increasing sales, growing market share, and improving its brand image.
NIVEA FOR MEN adopted a range of key performance indicators to assess the success of the NIVEA FOR MEN relaunch in the UK. It revealed that −
NIVEA FOR MEN is the market leader in many countries and is consistently gaining additional market share.
Internationally, NIVEA FOR MEN skincare products sale increased by almost 20 percent.
The NIVEA FOR MEN brand image improved in the minds of consumers.
NIVEA FOR MEN entertained its customers’ feedback and added products to its line and reformed the existing products.
Co-branding is now no more a new strategy used by companies for generating higher level of interest and excitement about the products and services. As every single strategy of branding comes with benefits and risks, co-branding is not an exception. Let us see all about co-branding in detail.
When a company uses multiple brands together to introduce a single product or service, the practice is called Co-branding. It is also called Brand Partnership, piggyback franchising, or combination franchising. There can be two or more than two brands in alliance to achieve an appeal to the consumers that an individual brand could achieve.
Co-branding provides a way for companies to integrate the marketing forces from each of the brands such that they work cooperatively to associate any of the logos, color schemes, or other brand identifiers to a specific product. The objective of co-branding is to combine strengths of multiple brands for business growth.
There are various types of co-branding as follows −
Ingredient Co-branding − Multiple brands provide distinctive ingredient or component to the carrier brand. For example, Intel chip inside all computers.
Product-Service Co-branding − It is a co-branding between a product and a service. For example, Best Western International, Inc. owns and operates a chain of hotels with state-of-the-art amenities and services to its customers. It runs an exclusive rewards program for Harley Davidson owners. The participating riders get lavish privileged treatment at the hotel.
Alliance Co-branding − Multiple brand serve the same target audience. For example, Etihad Airways Partners, is a new brand which brings like-minded airlines together to offer customers more choice in flight schedules and enhanced frequent flyer benefits.
Supplier-Retailer Co-branding − Starbucks Wi-Fi started from AT&T in the most number of metropolitan cities in USA since 2008.
Promotional Co-branding − It is an alliance of a brand with persons or events.
There are various situations when companies go for co-branding. They are −
When introducing one company's product or services to the loyal consumers of another company. For example, the “Intel Inside” campaign. Within a year of the campaign, Intel started co-branding with around 300 computer manufacturer companies.
When a company wants to leverage the effect of one established and affectionate brand for marketing another brand.
When companies want to save costs on branding and other resources in this age of economic competition. For example, the businesses such as fast-food restaurants share the same place of working, counter, menu pamphlets, or sometimes the staff.
When one brand is providing complementing products or services that other brand requires.
Co-branding comes with inevitable risks. Before the brand managers of brand A go for co-branding with brand B, they must consider the following points −
If brand A is well established and generating excellent revenue, brand B would get the benefit of A’s positive perception and experience. In such case, brand A’s perception gets diluted.
There is a risk of any of the brands A or B underperforming or failing. In such case, the underperforming brand negatively impacts the over-performing brand and destroys its reputation for none of its mistake.
If brand B is to some extent depending upon brand A’s equity, then brand B may be taken as weak or secondary.
Brand A and B should be fit or compatible from the perspective of attributes and benefits. For example, co-branding of ice cream parlor and dry-fruit shop is natural so is co-branding of clothes brand with footwear brand.
Brand A and B both should have common core values and corporate philosophies. This is beneficial for both brands and reduces the risk of negative reputation if one of them fails.
Here are basic rough guidelines for co-branding −
Know your partner in co-branding. Go for co-branding only with the companies that share complementary values.
Co-brand only if the company has same ethics, core values, and common vision.
Choose co-branding only with brands whose products are best-in-class status.
Co-brand if the partner and company’s brand share the same target audience.
Co-brand only if the company can retain full review and approval rights on all elements of communications.
These guidelines bring down the opportunities of growth of the company but the good news is, it reduces the risks associated with co-branding.
Apart from creating additional appeal to the consumers, the objective of co-branding is increasing revenue. The ultimate goal of co-branding is one plus one = more than two. If the co-branding is done using innovative ideas and effective strategies with the right partner, it can prove to be very beneficial for business growth.
Co-branding helps to −
Make the product or service under the brands resistant to imitation by local or private brands.
Combine various perceptions about multiple brands.
Increase the credibility of the product or service in the market.
Increase revenue of both businesses, if done effectively
Save costs of the company for launching a new brand, advertising, and promoting the brand through shared resources.
Bring benefits from all brands and helps all brands participating in co-branding to prosper.
For example, Coca Cola, the soft drinks giant has paired itself with McDonalds and made it sure it is associated with the brand that is consumed by millions of consumers around the world. Just by being together, both giants in restaurants and beverage industry respectively are earning billions of dollars revenue every year.
The consumers follow their favorite celebrity and they wish to look, appear, and conduct the way the celebrity does. The companies grip this nerve of consumer behavior to brand their products with celebrity endorsement. The companies use the success and status of the celebrity to brand its products.
The product alone cannot achieve consumers’ awareness and recognition as far and wide as a celebrity can help it to achieve.
In India, Artist Booking India is a celebrity management and celebrity brand endorsement agency powered by B-Town Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. It has a strong network of TV serials, movies, writers, directors, and musicians in Bollywood. It provides solution right from selecting a right celebrity for the brand, applying strategies for optimizing the celebrity’s association with the brand to logistics.
The contemporary celebrity endorsers can be overused by endorsing too many varied products.
There must be a reasonable fit or match between the product and the celebrity endorser to appeal the consumers.
Celebrity endorsers can get into controversies, which can affect the brand adversely.
Celebrity can distract the consumer’s focus from the brand by overshadowing the brand.
A number of consumers do not connect with the brand because they think that the endorsing celebrity is doing it just for money and do not necessarily believe in the brand they are endorsing.
Since the idea of branding came into existence and settled in practice, some brands such as Nike, Coca Cola, Nivea, Amazon, etc., have been ruling the marketplace as successful ones. They were novice and had started as ordinary names with some innovative products or services at some point of time. With the efforts required for growing in the contemporary market, these brands became leading, exemplary, and powerful.
In this chapter, we see what makes a brand successful over a long frame of time and how to asses brand performance.
Brand launching is not the same as product or service launching. Products change but a brand is to stay. Brand launch is a long-term project unlike product launch.
When a brand launches a product say P, and advertises for it, the competitors copy it after some time. Since all products go obsolete after some time, the brand chooses to replace the product P with some new product NewP, advocating its benefits and upgrading its quality to the consumer. This NewP often gets the benefit of the previous known product P. This is how a brand comes into life.
From this point onwards, the products under the brand are sold by brand itself and not by mere advertising. Here, the product name (common noun) becomes a brand name (Proper noun). Over a time, brand gets more unique, builds its way of communication, and develops a rich meaning. Thus, a brand starts with a product and continues growing with multiple products.
This was all about how a new product is converted to a brand. But launching a new brand is different.
A successful brand launching needs treating a brand as a large entity than as a product. Right from the start, a new brand is considered as a complete entity in itself endowed with functional and non-functional values and presenting as if it is well-established.
Take the following steps while launching a new brand in the market −
Step 1 − Draft the brand program. Try to get the answers for the following questions −
Existence − Why is the brand necessary? What will the consumers miss if the brand does not exist?
Vision − What is brand’s vision in some X product category?
Ambition − What does the brand want to change in its consumer’s life?
Values − What will the brand never compromise on?
Know-How − What are brand’s capabilities?
Territory − Where is the brand providing its lawful benefits? What are its product categories?
Style, Tone, and Language − How a brand is going to communicate?
Reflection − What image the brand wants its consumers to render about itself?
Step 2 − Define brand identity prism.
Step 3 − Create brand positioning.
Identify potential added values for the brand based on its image, identity, and heritage.
Explore four major scenarios: Why? Against whom? For whom? When?
Test the above scenarios, redefine or eliminate them if required. Conduct consumer studies, ideas and formulations.
Conduct strategic evaluation of potential sales and profits in the marketspace.
Step 4 − Determine flagship product of the brand. Carefully choose which product or service you think you should introduce as a first campaign. This star product is going to form the brand’s identity subsequently.
Step 5 − Choose a strong brand name. Choose it by estimating the future changes the brand can undergo. Look for meaningful, short, and easy to pronounce names. Do not choose a deceptive or descriptive name.
Step 6 − Create brand slogan and jingle that is easy, meaningful, and memorable by consumers.
Step 7 − Reach out to opinion leaders (people who are influencers) and conduct brand advertisements in various media to create awareness among the consumers.
Many brands have been with us for a long time and many are still struggling for survival. Why do some brands sustain by escaping the effects of time and why do some brands vanish?
There are many reasons why brands start performing low and eventually lead to vanishing −
A brand not being able to withstand market changes and competitors.
New cheaper entrants in the market, which destabilize added value of the established brand.
A brand not able to suffice consumer’s needs, or customized requirements.
A brand not able to attract upcoming generation of consumers all over again when current consumers grow old.
A brand marketing and management team lacking foresightedness.
These are few most common facts why brands start to decline. To last for a long term, the following vital points a brand must adhere to −
Keep on innovating on the fronts of product quality, design, and consumer’s convenience.
Always keep its reputation good.
Always remain contemporary with the changes in the consumer’s culture, preferences, economic and technological changes, and new market openings in the world.
Always keep itself noticeable to the target market.
Work on not to lose its market share for cheap copies of the products.
Work on acquiring superior image and then keeping it.
Price its products appropriately depending upon the target market’s income.
Present itself in the quality environment which is as high as its product offers.
Control the relationship with the opinion leaders and distribution of products.
Defend its intellectual properties against theft or sneaking intrusion.
A brand cannot survive if it does not change according to the market changes. Brand management needs to cater to different branding policies to introduce the product in different countries around the world.
The market is not the same worldwide. First, the growth takes place in developing countries, then in underdeveloped countries, and finally in developed countries.
In developing countries such as India, the economic growth rate is fast and there are favorable business conditions. It is also revealed that the customer in developing countries is more brand cautious than that of in the developed countries.
In developed countries of USA and Europe, the market is matured. There is not much significant growth and innovation taking place. In such matured markets, brand needs to stimulate the new desires and new experiences of the consumer.
Brand managers need to work by considering changes in the domains of politics, economics, evolution of society, technology, consumer behavior and fads, all of which play an important role while branding in different markets.
When it comes to brand name changes, some examples flash such as Anderson → Accenture, Datsun → Nissan, Pal → Pedigree, and Phillips → Whirlpool, Backrub → Google, to name a few.
Brand transfer is a lot more than brand’s name change. A brand’s established name has links with emotional associations, empathy, and preference in its consumers’ mind. The loyalty and trust of the customers cannot be transferred easily to just one entity: the brand name. The brand image is required to be transferred.
A brand’s name is changed in the following scenarios −
When the existing name sounds weak or is not able to establish its position in the market.
When a brand wants to present its upgraded product or service.
When a brand wants to introduce more clarity in its name.
When a brand needs to distant itself from negating effects of the existing name.
When a brand wants to get instant recognition in the market while expanding globally.
There are few estimations the brand managers need to work on −
Estimate and quantify the costs
It includes the costs required for changing −
Promotional properties such as banners, hoardings, website ads, business properties such as letterheads and business cards.
Company literatures such as white papers, data sheets, and presentations.
Electronic properties such as website, newsletter, blogs, etc.
Other in-house properties such as templates, folder names, network node names, etc.
Judge the benefits and losses
Try to find out answers for the following questions −
How long the existing name is in use? How much goodwill has the existing name built?
How would it affect the consumers?
How would it affect the market share of the brand?
Analyze target audience and market
Consider the target audience, culture, language, symbols, and preferences.
Consider the average purchasing frequency of the customer.
Identify the characteristics the customer associates with the brand.
To handle actual brand transfer, follow the given steps −
Chalk out a plan of brand transfer.
Let every department know, that it is going to be a combined effort of all departments in the company.
Warn the employees, retailers, opinion leaders and prescribers well in advance.
Communicate clearly to the customers about the brand change.
Invest time for all customers to know about the brand transfer.
Keep the transitional period of the brand transfer minimal.
The following three factors facilitate brand image transfer −
When consumers consider source brand’s product and target brand’s product or product category similar. For example, it is more likely for a pasteurized milk brand to boost a lowcalorie cheese brand than a soap brand.
Target Group Resemblance
If the target brand aims for the same target group as the source brand, there are high chances of target brand succeeding as the initial purchases of a target brand will mainly be made by consumers of the source brand. When the target brand tailors to another target group then initial sales will not be significantly high.
Family resemblance means that the look and feel of the source brand and the target brand have to be largely the same. The consumers are perceived by symbols and colors while assessing the brand hence a similar style can transfer their associations with the source brand to the target brand.
Image transfer may still become successful, provided the marketing communication is clear and aggressive, and advertising campaign is intensive.
Brand leveraging is the strategy to use the power of an existing brand name to support a company’s entry into a new but related product category by communicating valuable product information to the consumer.
For example, the manufacturer of tea maker uses its brand name strength to launch tea vending machine. Here, in spite of tea and tea-vending machine belonging to different product categories, there is a strong correlation between the two items that the brand name has a mighty impact on consumers of both categories.
Brand leveraging is an important form of new product introduction because −
Strong brand leveraging provides consumers with a sense of familiarity.
It carries positive brand characteristics and attitudes into a new product category.
Strong leveraging perceives instant recognition to the brand. Consumers are more likely to try leveraged product.
As the products belong to the different categories, they do not compete for market share.
More products mean greater shelf space for the brand and in turn more opportunities for sale.
The cost of introducing a brand-leveraged product is less than introducing an independent new product.
A full line permits coordination of product offerings, such as bagels and cream cheese, potato chips and ranch dip, peanut butter and jelly, etc.
A greater number of products increase efficiency of manufacturing facilities and raw materials.
The brand managers can create a strong brand leveraging, by maintaining the quality of all products in different categories under the brand.
The brand managers need to decide which products can be leveraged under a brand. It is very important for them to leverage a brand only into related or associated categories of the original product.
In order to make the best decision for the brand, they need to find answers for the following questions −
Is the new product related to the established product family?
Does the established brand has characteristics that can be effectively carried on into new categories?
What will be the appropriate leveraging strategy?
What will be the impact on original brand name? Will it be strengthened or diluted?
Does the company have essential facilities to manufacture and distribute a new and differentiated product?
Will sales of the new product cover the cost of product development and marketing?
If leveraging fails, what are the policies to revert or to keep original brand’s reputation?
A brand leveraging strategy can be extremely successful and profitable if it is correctly implemented and provides new products with the right image.
Brand valuation is an interesting topic in brand management. The brand valuation is not just restricted to acquisitions and mergers but it is also important for the company management to make policies for future, to train the marketing team, to use it for information system, and provide as a reference for product or brand managers to plan their strategies.
In the entire process of brand development and management, it is essential for the brand managers to assess the progress of brand development. The companies are interested in brand audit as the owner of the organization.
Brand audit is an assessment of where the brand stands in the market at its present status. It is conducted by the company itself to judge the inclination of the brand. It reveals the loopholes in brand development or management process.
Brand audit is conducted −
When the companies are rebranding, acquiring business, or merging the businesses.
When the communication in management team and employees, or interpersonal relations among employees are unhealthy.
When brand, the strong foundation of the organization that inspires and empowers the employees is found weak.
The CEO of a company along with his marketing and brand management heads generally conducts brand audit. It can be an in-house team as said or an outside agency on hire.
There are two categories in which brand auditing is done −
There is little standardization and more opinions in the market about brand equity measurement. Brand equity is measured in both quantitative and qualitative brand research.
The brand equity performance can be measured by collecting data of brand performance. It includes −
There are three mainstay drivers or metrics of brand equity −
The company management is interested in financial aspect of brand equity to know how profitable the brand is performing in the market.
Under the financial metrics, the brand managers with marketing team should track the following −
These are some of the many financial metrics given. By keeping the track of the trends, a brand manager can ensure that the brand is building positive equity. Also, they can use this data to explain how important the brand asset is for the company to bear brand extensions or to determine marketing budgets.
The strength metrics include measurement of the following aspects −
It is very important for the brand managers to understand what consumers know, think, and feel about various brands. Under consumer metrics, the brand managers need to measure the following −
It is very difficult to find the right talent in the market. Organizations are always interested in attracting the talented employees thereby reducing the cost of grooming and training the new employees.
It is the practice of creating and establishing the reputation of an organization as a place to work by associating recruitment and external HR practices with the organization as a brand. It is a way of attracting and keeping employees by −
It forms a perception in the employee’s mind about what it would be like to work in the organization. It attracts not only potential employees, but also the specific ones who can fit well within the organization.
For example, the software products giant Microsoft has provided its Microsoft Careers website. Apart from featuring job opportunities, there is a blog that presents articles about how it would be to work at the company by profiling the experience of the present employees.
In addition, it provides a separate Facebook page as ‘Women at Microsoft,’ to give a unique insight into the women working at the company. The YouTube video on Microsoft Career features more than 100 videos where potential employees can get to know the aspects of working with Microsoft.
It is the practice of associating an employee’s behavior and opinions with the image, characteristics, and attributes that the organization wants to project to its external stakeholders. Here, the employee is a small version of a brand ambassador
It tries to influence the interactions among employees within the organization as well as among employees and external stakeholders. This way, an organization demonstrates its characteristics it desires to show through its employees.
Employee branding includes −
For example, Cisco Networking Academy, program under Cisco Corporate Social Responsibility, is an IT skills and career building program available to learning institutions and individuals worldwide.
A poplar CEO of a company can bring in more deal flow and generate more revenue. Brand CEO is the leader who creates a vision for the brand and leads his teams by speaking with actions more than words.
With high rank in management hierarchy and authority, a CEO can play an instrumental role in branding.
CEOs are expected to have profiles on LinkedIn, but if they have presence across every prominent social media platform, their focus on reaching consumers directly dilutes. A smart CEO finds out on which social media the target audience spends time and focuses the efforts there.
It establishes credibility of the brand and helps to bring up CEO’s reputation as an industry expert. It is an opportunity to connect to the audience in person when a CEO is physically in front of the target audience.
Being an author of the book grants the command on the subject. Writing a book and introducing it among large audience, signing events are excellent opportunities for CEO for brand campaigns.
When a CEO gets an award as an industry expert, the credibility and reliability elevates.
Some examples of popular CEO brands are as follows −