Monday, September 13, 2010
The word "brand" is derived from the Old Norse brandr, meaning "to burn." It refers to the practice of producers burning their mark (or brand) onto their products.
A brand is the personality that identifies a product, service or company (name, term, sign, symbol, or design, or combination of them) and how it relates to key constituencies: Customers, Staff, Partners, Investors etc.
Some people distinguish the psychological aspect, brand associations like thoughts, feelings, perceptions, images, experiences, beliefs, attitudes, and so on that become linked to the brand, of a brand from the experiential aspect.
The experiential aspect consists of the sum of all points of contact with the brand and is known as the brand experience. The psychological aspect, sometimes referred to as the brand image, is a symbolic construct created within the minds of people and consists of all the information and expectations associated with a product or service.
People engaged in branding seek to develop or align the expectations behind the brand experience, creating the impression that a brand associated with a product or service has certain qualities or characteristics that make it special or unique. A brand is therefore one of the most valuable elements in an advertising theme, as it demonstrates what the brand owner is able to offer in the marketplace. The art of creating and maintaining a brand is called brand management. Orientation of the whole organization towards its brand is called brand orientation.
Careful brand management seeks to make the product or services relevant to the target audience. Brands should be seen as more than the difference between the actual cost of a product and its selling price - they represent the sum of all valuable qualities of a product to the consumer. There are many intangibles involved in business, intangibles left wholly from the income statement and balance sheet which determine how a business is perceived. The learned skill of a knowledge worker, the type of mental working, the type of stitch: all may be without an 'accounting cost' but for those who truly know the product, for it is these people the company should wish to find and keep, the difference is incomparable.
A brand which is widely known in the marketplace acquires brand recognition. When brand recognition builds up to a point where a brand enjoys a critical mass of positive sentiment in the marketplace, it is said to have achieved brand franchise. One goal in brand recognition is the identification of a brand without the name of the company present. For example, Disney has been successful at branding with their particular script font (originally created for Walt Disney's "signature" logo), which it used in the logo for go.com.
Consumers may look on branding as an important value added aspect of products or services, as it often serves to denote a certain attractive quality or characteristic (see also brand promise). From the perspective of brand owners, branded products or services also command higher prices. Where two products resemble each other, but one of the products has no associated branding (such as a generic, store-branded product), people may often select the more expensive branded product on the basis of the quality of the brand or the reputation of the brand owner.
Brand awareness refers to customers' ability to recall and recognize the brand under different conditions and link to the brand name, logo, jingles and so on to certain associations in memory. It helps the customers to understand to which product or service category the particular brand belongs to and what products and services are sold under the brand name. It also ensures that customers know which of their needs are satisfied by the brand through its products.(Keller) 'Brand love', or love of a brand, is an emerging term encompassing the perceived value of the brand image. Brand love levels are measured through social media posts about a brand, or tweets of a brand on sites such as Twitter. Becoming a Facebook fan of a particular brand is also a measurement of the level of 'brand love'.
A global brand is one which is perceived to reflect the same set of values around the world. Global brands transcend their origins and creates strong, enduring relationships with consumers across countries and cultures.
Global brands are brands sold to international markets. Examples of global brands include Coca-Cola, McDonald's, Marlboro, Levi's, Shell etc.. These brands are used to sell the same product across multiple markets, and could be considered successful to the extent that the associated products are easily recognizable by the diverse set of consumers.
Benefits of Global Branding
In addition to taking advantage of the outstanding growth opportunities, the following drives the increasing interest in taking brands global:
Economies of scale (production and distribution)
Lower marketing costs
Laying the groundwork for future extensions worldwide
Maintaining consistent brand imagery
Quicker identification and integration of innovations (discovered worldwide)
Preempting international competitors from entering domestic markets or locking you out of other geographic markets
Increasing international media reach (especially with the explosion of the Internet) is an enabler
Increases in international business and tourism are also enablers
Global Brand Variables
The following elements may differ from country to country:
Products and services
Marketing mixes (including pricing, distribution, media and advertising execution)
These differences will depend upon:
Different styles of communication
Other cultural differences
Differences in category and brand development
Different consumption patterns
Different competitive sets and marketplace conditions
Different legal and regulatory environments
Different national approaches to marketing (media, pricing, distribution, etc.)
A brand that is sold and marketed (distributed and promoted) in a relatively small and restricted geographical area. A local brand is a brand that can be found in only one country or region. It may be called a regional brand if the area encompasses more than one metropolitan market. It may also be a brand that is developed for a specific national market, however an interesting thing about local brand is that the local branding is mostly done by consumers then by the producers. Examples of Local Brands in Sweden are Stomatol, Mijerierna etc...
An Ambient Brand is a movement, where the brand is organized around values and social needs instead of promoting a specific product. It is a virtual space, defined by values and occupied by a community of like minded people. Whereas a traditional brand is entirely independent of products and their parent corporations, an ambient brand is an independent social movement that companies can participate in. They are not selling products, they are allowing their company to participate in a social movement and allow their brand to be identified with this. It exists as a shared values space where consumers gather, converse and ultimately transact with organizations that are in alignment with the values associated with that community. Corporations do not create ambient brands. They must qualify for inclusion within them by demonstrating that they share the values and will service the interests of their associated communities. The brands develop organically as a result of emerging social and cultural codes and are materialized through peoples ability to organize around them through the use of mainly virtual communities on the web.
The brand name is quite often used interchangeably within "brand", although it is more correctly used to specifically denote written or spoken linguistic elements of any product. In this context a "brand name" constitutes a type of trademark, if the brand name exclusively identifies the brand owner as the commercial source of products or services. A brand owner may seek to protect proprietary rights in relation to a brand name through trademark registration. Advertising spokespersons have also become part of some brands, for example: Mr. Whipple of Charmin toilet tissue and Tony the Tiger of Kellogg's. Local Branding is usually done by the consumers rather than the producers.
Types of brand names
Brand names come in many styles. A few include:
Acronym: A name made of initials such as UPS or IBM
Descriptive: Names that describe a product benefit or function like Whole Foods or Airbus
Alliteration and rhyme: Names that are fun to say and stick in the mind like Reese's Pieces or Dunkin' Donuts
Evocative: Names that evoke a relevant vivid image like Amazon or Crest
Neologisms: Completely made-up words like Wii or Kodak
Foreign word: Adoption of a word from another language like Volvo or Samsung
Founders' names: Using the names of real people like Hewlett-Packard or Disney
Geography: Many brands are named for regions and landmarks like Cisco and Fuji Film
Personification: Many brands take their names from myth like Nike or from the minds of ad execs like Betty Crocker
The act of associating a product or service with a brand has become part of pop culture. Most products have some kind of brand identity, from common table salt to designer jeans. A brandnomer is a brand name that has colloquially become a generic term for a product or service, such as Band-Aid or Kleenex, which are often used to describe any kind of adhesive bandage or any kind of facial tissue respectively.
A product identity, or brand image are typically the attributes one associates with a brand, how the brand owner wants the consumer to perceive the brand - and by extension the branded company, organization, product or service. The brand owner will seek to bridge the gap between the brand image and the brand identity. Effective brand names build a connection between the brand personality as it is perceived by the target audience and the actual product/service. The brand name should be conceptually on target with the product/service (what the company stands for). Furthermore, the brand name should be on target with the brand demographic.Typically, sustainable brand names are easy to remember, transcend trends and have positive connotations. Brand identity is fundamental to consumer recognition and symbolizes the brand's differentiation from competitors.
Brand identity is what the owner wants to communicate to its potential consumers. However, over time, a product's brand identity may acquire (evolve), gaining new attributes from consumer perspective but not necessarily from the marketing communications an owner percolates to targeted consumers. Therefore, brand associations become handy to check the consumer's perception of the brand.
Brand identity needs to focus on authentic qualities - real characteristics of the value and brand promise being provided and sustained by organisational and/or production characteristics.
Alternatively, in a market that is fragmented amongst a number of brands a supplier can choose deliberately to launch totally new brands in apparent competition with its own existing strong brand (and often with identical product characteristics); simply to soak up some of the share of the market which will in any case go to minor brands. The rationale is that having 3 out of 12 brands in such a market will give a greater overall share than having 1 out of 10 (even if much of the share of these new brands is taken from the existing one). In its most extreme manifestation, a supplier pioneering a new market which it believes will be particularly attractive may choose immediately to launch a second brand in competition with its first, in order to pre-empt others entering the market.
Individual brand names naturally allow greater flexibility by permitting a variety of different products, of differing quality, to be sold without confusing the consumer's perception of what business the company is in or diluting higher quality products.
Once again, Procter & Gamble is a leading exponent of this philosophy, running as many as ten detergent brands in the US market. This also increases the total number of "facings" it receives on supermarket shelves. Sara Lee, on the other hand, uses it to keep the very different parts of the business separate — from Sara Lee cakes through Kiwi polishes to L'Eggs pantyhose. In the hotel business, Marriott uses the name Fairfield Inns for its budget chain (and Ramada uses Rodeway for its own cheaper hotels).
Cannibalization is a particular problem of a "multibrand" approach, in which the new brand takes business away from an established one which the organization also owns. This may be acceptable (indeed to be expected) if there is a net gain overall. Alternatively, it may be the price the organization is willing to pay for shifting its position in the market; the new product being one stage in this process.