Brand management refers to the activity of overseeing or supervising the promotional activities that are carried out for a branded product or service. It involves detailed planning and analysis and has an important role to play regarding the manner in which a brand is thought of and viewed as in the market. Some tangible brand management elements are the product itself, packaging, the price and the look. This article analyzes various aspects associated with the brand management process such as the way brand are built and managed over time, the manner in which brands are organized in portfolios and how brand hierarchies are built and managed. It also assesses how brands are leveraged internationally and domestically and the different techniques that are used for measuring and managing brand value over time.
Understanding How Brands are Built and Managed Over Time
The brand refers to a symbol, term, design, or any other feature, which clearly helps in distinguishing one organization from another or one product in the market from another, as far as the customer is concerned. Name brands in particular tend to be distinguished from store brands or generic brands. Brands are made use of in the domain of advertising, marketing and business.
In order to develop a brand, a company or a business enterprise first decides what it is that it is going to brand, that is, whether it is going to be branding a service, a product or even an individual. Market research is then carried out and the service or product to be branded is positioned in the market. The brand definition is written thereafter, with logo, tagline and name, after which it is launched and then managed, leveraged and protected.
Advantages of Branding for Consumers, Intermediaries and Organizations
There are five major benefits associated with branding for intermediaries, organizations and customers. The first is customer recognition. A strong and substantial network of brands can go a long way in building customer recognition. The second advantage is associated with branding is that it gives the organization or consumer a competitive edge in the market. Thirdly, branding helps in introducing new products in the market rather easily. Fourthly, branding builds customer loyalty along with shared values. Fifthly, branding results in enhanced credibility for a product or service as well as ease of purchase. If a product or a service is branded, there will be a greater chance on the part of customers to go ahead and buy it. If an organization or business enterprise sells products, which do not have brand value, there is every chance of the sale figure not being such a high one for these products.
Understanding Brand Equity
Brand equity is a well-known term that is used in the marketing sector. It refers to the value that is associated with well-known brand names. Brand equity is based on the notion that owners of renowned or popular brands in the market can end up generating greater revenue than usual very simply because of brand recognition. Products that have a brand name are those that tend to do far better in the market than the products in the market, which do not have a good brand name. Consumers are therefore more than likely to end up buying a branded good or service rather than a good or service that does not have good brand value. Thus, what brand equity essentially refers to is the value that is associated with a particular brand.
Understanding how Organizations Grow and Develop Brand Equity
There are a number of steps that are taken by organizations for the purpose of growing and developing brand equity. The first important step is the building of brand awareness. Customers are made to be aware of brands and perceive them in the exact same way that the organization wants them to perceive these. The second step involves communicating about the brand. This takes place through target marketing and word of mouth advertising. The third important step that is taken by organizations in order to grow and to develop a brand is to reshape the understanding that customers have about that brand. Customers tend to respond to any brand through feelings and through judgment. Judgments are related to a number of important things like credibility and quality, the relevance of the product to customer requirements and needs and the level of superiority of the brand in comparison to those of its rivals. Finally, it is important to note that brand equity is something that is grown as well as developed by organizations through cultivating a deep and meaningful relationship with customers.
Role of Marketing in Establishing Brand Equity, and Brand Positioning and Techniques
Marketing is a process that extracts the value from the brand and sells this value to the customers so that they end up buying the branded product or service. What marketing essentially ends up doing is driving the sales for branded products. It builds all the familiarity and the awareness that is needed in order to build a particular brand in the market and defines all the tactics that need to be undertaken in order to make the branded product known to customers so that they purchase the branded commodity at some point or the other. It can be said that marketing plays quite a crucial role in establishing the value of a brand as well as brand positioning. This is because customers tend to be convinced about the value of a product or service only after it has been extensively advertised and the worth of the product or service is something that has been aggressively promoted over a considerable period of time.
Managing a Brand
Strengthening a Brand
A necessary step that needs to be taken for the purpose of strengthening brand equity or brand value is to make sure that the quality of the product or service never suffers. Products will always be of high value for customers if their quality is something that is up to the mark. A second essential step that needs to be undertaken in order to make sure that brand value is retained, is to create a loyal base of customers for the brand. If the branded product or service has an extensive loyal clientele that it can fall back on, its value is going to increase in the market by leaps and bounds compared to the value of rival products and services. Consistency is also something that needs to be ensured in order to create a good brand image. The brand message should be consistent in terms of content and appeal and should be promoted in the exact same manner using different channels of communication.
Restoring and Recovering a Brand
One of the best ways to restore and recover a brand which has lost its value in the market is to avoid dwelling on past mistakes. If a brand has suffered a terrible setback then there is no point in dwelling on the mistake. Every effort must be made on the part of the business enterprise to take the brand in forward direction instead of focusing on the past. It is important to own up to what has happened and to avoid losing any momentum. Brand owners need to strive in order to rebuild the brand by networking both inside as well as outside the organization, and by taking on new projects that are likely to restore the faith and the confidence of customers. It is also necessary to compensate for any mistakes that have happened, and to monitor the media very closely, letting customers know that efforts have been put in place to make up for the loss of brand value.
Using Converging Technologies for Engaging with Customers
Technology is something that can be very easily put to use for brand management, especially when it comes to successfully engaging with customers. There are many different social media apps and platforms that can be put to use by organizations and companies in order to procure quick and genuine customer feedback upon the launch of a particular branded product or service. Brand equity or value is something that can definitely be determined by using the latest technologies to communicate with customers. Customers can simply rate the brand on their mobile app and the ratings will reveal how popular and how much in demand that product or service is, which in turn will help in the determination of its brand value.
Analysis of Portfolio and Hierarchy Management of Brands
Brand Portfolio Strategies
Marketing theory states that there are two very distinct types of brand portfolio strategies in place. These are the house of brands and the branded property models. House of brands is essentially a brand model where all the brands are given different names and across different categories. Many consumer goods companies are known to make use of this model. A significant advantage that is associated with the House of Brands model is that all the brands are different so if one fails, this is likely to have any negative impact on the other brands. Branded property model on the other hand is one where one particular brand is used across different categories. A good example of the branded property model is that of Virgin. This is a company where the media, airline as well as train companies are all very similarly identified.
Understanding Brand Hierarchy
Brand hierarchy refers to the manner by which a brand strategy is summarized through the display of numbers as well as the nature of distinctive and common brand elements right across the products of the firm, thus revealing the very explicit ordering of different brand elements. Corporate branding in particular refers to the practice of making use of the name of a company as a product brand. It aims at using corporate brand equity for the purpose of creating brand recognition.
Umbrella branding, referred to also as family branding, is known as the marketing practice that involves using single brand names for the purpose of selling two or more than two products that are related to one another. It is used primarily by companies that are characterized by positive brand equity.
Individual branding is a well known branding strategy whereby all the products are provided with different brand names which have been newly created and which are also not connected to the names of any existing brands that are made available by the company.
The endorsed sub brand is a brand that is affiliated to the parent brand. However, it has its very own brand name and is often referred to by terms such as subsidiary brand, line extension and brand extension.
Hierarchy and Brand Equity Building
Hierarchy and brand equity building are intricately linked to one another. Brand equity building is something that involves four major steps namely building awareness, communicating the needs of the brand, reshaping how customers think and feel about the brand and cultivating a deep relationship with customers. When brand equity building is carried out for the purpose of corporate branding then there is a greater focus on building awareness and communicating brand needs and requirement to customers. When it come to family branding on the other hand, efforts are made to understand and react to customer needs and in developing long term meaningful relationships with them so as to create and sustain an extensive client base.
Understanding how the Customer Brand Equity Model can be used for Developing and Managing Brands
The customer brand equity model was developed by Kevin Keller and the concept behind it is one that is quite simple. As per this model, if a strong brand is to be built and promoted, it is first imperative to shape how exactly the customers think as well as feel about this particular branded product. It is necessary to build the right types of experiences round the brand in order to enable customers to have positive and specific thoughts, opinions, perceptions and beliefs about this brand. When the brand equity is strong, there is a greater chance of the customers buying that branded product, than usual. The customer brand equity model is therefore one that should be extensively used in order to create a positive feeling among customers about a branded product. Once the customers are able to feel positively about the product, they will be more than likely to go ahead and buy it without having to be recommended to do so. A positive notion can be created in the minds of the customer about the branded product using this model, thus increasing the likelihood of its imminent sale.
Using Market Research as a Tool for Brand Management
Branding decisions must always be based on very solid research. This is because without any data, the best that a business owner can do is make educated guesses about what customers really think and feel about a branded product. Market research is an important tool for brand management and it needs to be conducted on a regular basis in order to make sure that a branded product or service is being well understood from the perspective of the customer. Market research is always quantitative in nature and involves the use of statistical data like diagrams and business models to understand how customers respond to different products and services that are launched in the market. By doing market research often, customer perceptions about branded products and services can be easily obtained.
Evaluating how Brands are Leveraged and Extended over time Domestically and Internationally
Brand Extension Approaches and Strategies
Brand extension approaches and strategies are marketing strategies and approaches where a firm that is involved in the marketing of a branded product or service makes use of the exact same brand name in different product categories. In fact, the new product that is developed in the process, is referred to as a spin off. A well-known example of brand extension strategy is that taken by Jello-Gelatin to create Jello pudding pops. Some of popular brand extension approaches and strategies that are made use of in today’s day and age are brand name selection, brand positioning, brand development and brand sponsorship. These are developed and executed only after taking into consideration the overall business strategy of a firm or an organization that is involved in brand building and brand management activities.
Fit and Leverage in Brand Extensions
A brand is known to have leverage when distinctive properties that are owned by the brand are used to lead customers into new categories for perceiving the brand extension as something that is superior to the existing competitive products. The boundaries issues are what are referred to as fit. When a brand is not able to fit well enough into a certain category it will not be very likely to perform well. Rather it will end up performing rather poorly and shall inevitably fail.
Determining the Different Ways by which Brands can be Revitalized and Reinforced
Brand revitalization and reinforcement essentially means maintaining brand equity. Brand owners and brand developers need to ensure that consumers have all knowledge structures necessary for brands to continue having their required brand equity sources. Brand revitalization and reinforcement can be carried out through marketing activities. Such activities will carry the brand meaning to customers persistently in the form of brand image and brand awareness. Some of the essential features of brand revitalization and reinforcement strategies include the maintaining of brand consistency, protecting all brand equity sources, leveraging and fortifying and carrying out a fine tuning and supporting marketing program. The implementation of the brand reinforcement strategies will ensure that brand equity is something that is maintained consistently over an extensive period of time, and that the market value of a branded product or service is not allowed to decline or get eroded too easily.
Brand Partnerships and Collaborations
Brand partnerships and collaborations are of great value as these help in bringing together the status of two different brands with the purpose of benefiting both their reputations. It is therefore essential for those who enter into brand partnerships and collaborations to be on the same page where brand values and target consumers are concerned.
Global Branding and Positioning
Global brand positioning is a process that needs to be multifaceted, largely because of its international character. It is something that needs to be carried out if a brand is to reach out to a global audience. Global brand positioning requires the development and execution of customized positioning statements. The brand’s unique selling position or USP needs to be named in addition to its strengths, the brand’s corporate values, and the specific preferences and needs of the audience. The positioning statement should not be too lengthy and should be meant for internal use only.
Evaluating Techniques for Managing and Measuring Brand Value over Time
Brand Measurement Techniques
There are a number of useful techniques and methods that can be put to use for the purpose of brand measurement. The first of these is surveys. By carrying out a customer survey it is quite easy to assess how well or how badly a branded product or service is doing in the market. Surveys constitute a quantitative method of research and the results that are generated by surveys can for the most part be relied upon. Looking at web page traffic and looking at the search volume data for a branded product or service can also go a long way in informing a person about how well a branded service is performing in the market. If the web page and search engine analytics are high for a branded product, then it is likely to be quite a popular product among customers. Using social media platforms can also turn out to be very useful for an activity like brand measurement. Social media platforms are those that are very widely used, and can reveal plenty of information about the appeal of a branded service or product.
Brand Tracking Techniques and Brand Equity Audit
Brand tracking is a well-known way by which the health of a brand is measured on a continuous basis. There are different types of brand tracking techniques that are put in place by business enterprises and organizations like product brand tracking and family brand tracking. Brand equity audits are also regularly carried out to assess the performance of a branded product or service in the market. In order to carry out a brand equity audit, the first thing that needs to take place is the creation of a framework like the determination of target customer base, drawing up a marketing plan to reach out to this customer base etc. The second step to be taken is to question the customers regarding their perceptions and feelings about the brand. The third step needed for a brand equity audit is review web analytics after which social media data must be reviewed and then sales data must be reviewed. Finally, the competitors in the scene need to be looked at, action must be undertaken to combat rivals and promote the brand in the best way possible in the market and then monitor the results of this brand equity audit.
Understanding the Relationship between Branding and Finance
When it comes to understanding the relationship between finance and branding, it is necessary to note that the changes in a brand’s attitude are contemporaneously associated led accounting and stock return. Brand equity is also something that is known to have quite a positive relationship with stock return. The response of a stock market participant to any brand extension announcement is something that depends interactively on brand familiarity and brand attitude. The stock market also responds quite favorably to high familiarity brands, and brand extensions that are characterized by high esteem. In this respect it is also important to note that the stock market does not tend to respond too favorably to brands which are highly popular but which have low customer regard.
Understanding the Concept and Different Approaches to Brand Value
Brand value or brand equity refers to the value that is associated with a renowned brand name. Brand valuation is an important aspect of successful brand management and it is carried out using three important methods. The first is the cost approach, the second is the market approach and the third method is the income approach.