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Brand Management

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Brand Management (MKT624)
Lesson 41
Leveraging your brand through successive phases of brand management dictates that you have
an organization capable of doing so. Without compatible capabilities, an organization cannot
reap the benefits of brand management concepts in the form of fulfillment of its goals. This
lecture discusses all important aspects from that point of view. It follows the guidelines as
given by Scot Davis.
A brand-based organization
A brand-based organization is customer-centric, and all the decisions it makes are based on
involvement of all in the organization.
The basic premise toward developing such an organization is that branding decisions, though
belonging to the marketing domain, should be based on cross-functional interaction and
involvement of all the relevant departments. In order to do so, there has to be a mechanism to
ensure that cross-functional involvement becomes a structured activity within the organization.
Managers from different departments should make many decisions after consulting each other.
With the thrust on creating a mechanism of joint working and decision making, in essence, it
lays emphasis on understanding everyone's perspective and appreciating their convictions. A
complete and uniform understanding on part of all develops and nurtures uniform convictions
for the good of the organization and its brands. In other words, just meeting and making
decisions is not sufficient. Managers from across the lines should be convinced that whatever
decisions are taken have been the best ones in the interest of the brand.
Clarity of role: All employees are clearer about how they fit into the overall scheme of things,
their role, role's importance, significance of relationships and interactions. This improves their
performance and performance measurement becomes easy and straightforward.
Commitment to brand growth: It confirms that customer, company staff, and the brand are all
inseparably related and need focus of all. Toward that, it seeks commitment of top management
to the branding process. The process of living such an organization is continuous in which there
is perpetual communication, development of ideas, thoughts, and actions. This can be
witnessed in any organization with a strong brand. You must have noticed the pride that
employees take in being a part of such organizations. The pride comes through a sense of
ownership not only of the brand, but also of all thoughts, plans, and actions relating that brand.
A collective responsibility: Such a culture binds all in the organization around the position of
the brand, which no longer remains a creative philosophy of the marketing department.
Delivering on the promise becomes a collective responsibility and the whole focus gets onto the
point that while customers think of satisfying their need they must think of your brand. Your
brand must be the first one to come to their mind. This is where positioning comes to life ­ an
excellent example of everyone's input toward that achievement!
Such a culture is a reflection of high level of motivation that runs across the organization and
makes implementation of brand-based strategies a guaranteed success, according to Davis.
No extra human resource
The brand-based approach does not call for extra personnel. It derives the desired outcome
through the same people that make up the organization through restructured working groups
Brand Management (MKT624)
and committees. How do these groups and committees organize themselves around the brand is
what we must learn?
Not just marketing but whole culture
One thing is clear that it is not just about marketing; it is about creating a culture that must
support brand's positioning and brand's promise ­ two vital strategic dimensions. To be able to
deliver the promise, all processes, functions, and resources have to be integrated and
reinforced. This has to be done at the top most level and is done through formation of different
Management has to believe in the power of the brand and that brand has to be managed across
many functions is the chief principle of this philosophy. In organizations that have been
successful in this kind of effort, the committee responsible for managing brand from the
standpoint of increasing its value is headed by the head of marketing. The committee is
represented by people from operations, R&D, and other senior managers who head other
functional areas. A lot of investment is done into developing new entrants into management to
impart brand knowledge and commitments. The result is total "executive support" toward
delivering the brand promise.
Possible new entities and internal structuring
With the view that brand management strategy is good for long term health of the brand and the
company, the organizational support to such strategies is to be given at the top. Following are a
few examples of the new internal structures to carry out winning BM strategies2:
Chief Branding Officer ­ CBO: Either the head of marketing department or a major
brand, this person is responsible for the brand strategy and its implementation, meaning
for complete performance of the brand.
BM Steering Committee: This relates strategy and it has to be headed by the CEO. If
there is a CBO, then he or she may head this committee. This committee is responsible
for developing all linkages between all functional strategies and BM strategy.
Since all strategies flow out of brand vision and must work in harmony for the same
goals, there has to be someone making sure that right linkages are developed to get
results and add value to the brand. The head therefore has to be a very senior person,
preferably CEO or at least CBO.
BM director's committee: This comprises of managers from middle to senior level with
CBO being its head. The basic function of this committee is to ensure that BM is
executed the way it was planned. From the standpoint of execution, this committee also
is multi-functional in its constitution. Whereas steering committee is all about strategy,
this one is all about actions.
BM teams: These teams are also cross-functional and work at a level below that of
director's committee. The function here is to ensure action at lower level. It is headed
by someone from the marketing department, most probably brand manager.
There is no one established recipe for developing internal structures. It all depends on the
overall structure and human resource of the company that lays the foundation for a brand-based
organization. The most important aspect of the effort is to develop working relationships that
have authenticity and legitimacy.
Brand Management (MKT624)
Cross-functional approach
Such relationships are possible only through developing a cross-functional (CF) approach that
lends BM real strength and power. All good companies depend on cross-functional team
representation. That drives brand management strategies with full vigor and thrust.
The CF teams work as a good link with their original functional areas and therefore offer good
opportunities for educating people there. Some of the benefits of having these CF teams are that
they provide good input for any brand project from their functional standpoint. Example:
people from information technology side may point out something that has the potential to
positively change marketing tactics in terms of order processing. People from finance may
point out something that has a meaningful impact on pricing strategy and hence margins!
CF teams lead the education and training effort in the most practical way on strategic matters
that have a direct bearing on BM strategies.
Internal communication and education
The matter does not end at formation of committees. Once the strategy is in place and
committees formed for execution, it becomes imperative to start communicating for the
purpose of educating employees at different levels and functions of the organization. Without
communication, education is difficult, and without education results remain improbable. The
ultimate objective of the brand-based education is to create a culture in which brand vision is
understood, brand picture upheld, and brand positioning fully owned.
There could be a variety of approaches toward education regarding brand promise and
positioning. Some of the approaches adopted by good companies are the following3:
·  Internal groups focusing on education through lectures
·  Company publications
·  Speaker series by outside experts about their experiences
·  Interactive training modules in which knowledge is imparted on segmentation,
differentiation, promise, and positioning etc.
The idea of all the training and education programs is to learn the concepts and then
immediately apply those to real life situations within their areas. Some companies also measure
internally the brand perception of their own staff members and then compare that with the
brand perception of customers in the market place. The gaps highlight areas to be stressed in
terms of training and education. The interaction with staff under such conditions really help the
company make their staff understand brand positioning, which is the key to successful BM.
Tools to effective communication
1. Let the employees know the research
It may not be a bad idea to let the employees know how the company arrived at the
brand vision, brand picture, brand positioning, and the overall brand-based customer
model. Letting them know how competition stacks up against your brand and what are
the customer expectations from your brand (as per research findings) will buy them in
to the strategic thinking of the company.
Letting them also know the overall objectives the company is expecting to achieve will
win over their confidence in the company and the project for the good of BM strategies.
Lack of confidence and cooperation from other functional areas always is caused by the
thinking on their part that marketing and branding people are attempting to do creative
things in isolation. No one likes that.
Brand Management (MKT624)
2. Make sure the employees understand the results company is seeking
As a continuation of the attempt to let them know overall objectives, you must make
them understand the results that are expected. Gain their support for those parts of the
objectives that fall into their respective areas. To achieve that, break objectives into
different levels and involve the CF teams to fix those for people in their respective
areas. Let them have a sense of ownership.
3. Let the employees know game and action plan
Employees also have to be guided about what actions they are to take in light of the
strategies. Tell them specifically any changes that are desired in their daily routines and
activities. Educate them on any new activities that are required on their part to deliver
the promise and uphold the contract. Give them targets and measure their performance
against those targets.
There are two important concluding dimensions of the brand-based culture:
·  Commitment of top management to take charge and lead.
·  Total involvement of employees all across the organization toward common goals.
Unless management educates the employees about the importance of brand-based culture and
the results it produces in leveraging your brand, participation by employees will not be
Once employees are bought into management's ideas and concepts and take ownership of them,
you will start harnessing the real potential of your brand in terms of revenue generation and
profit making.
To be a successful brand manager, you must appreciate the inputs you will be required to make
and inputs made by others from all levels of the organization.
Suggested readings:
1. Scot M. Davis: "Brand Asset Management ­ Driving Profitable Growth through Your
Brand"; Jossey-Bass, a Wiley Imprint (229-251)
Table of Contents:
  1. UNDERSTANDING BRANDS – INTRODUCTION:Functions of Brand Management, Sales forecast, Brand plan
  2. INTRODUCTION:Brand Value and Power, Generate Profits and Build Brand Equity
  3. BRAND MANIFESTATIONS/ FUNDAMENTALS:Brand identity, Communication, Differentiation
  4. BRAND MANIFESTATIONS/ FUNDAMENTALS:Layers/levels of brands, Commitment of top management
  5. BRAND CHALLENGES:Consumer Revolt, Media Cost and Fragmentation, Vision
  6. STRATEGIC BRAND MANAGEMENT:Setting Objectives, Crafting a Strategy, The Brand Mission
  7. BRAND VISION:Consensus among management, Vision Statement of a Fast Food Company, Glossary of terms
  8. BUILDING BRAND VISION:Seek senior management’s input, Determine the financial contribution gap
  9. BUILDING BRAND VISION:Collect industry data and create a brand vision starter, BRAND PICTURE,
  10. BRAND PICTURE:Brand Value Pyramid, Importance of being at pinnacle, From pinnacle to bottom
  11. BRAND PERSONA:Need-based segmentation research, Personality traits through research
  12. BRAND CONTRACT:The need to stay contemporary, Summary
  13. BRAND CONTRACT:How to create a brand contract?, Brand contract principles, Understand customers’ perspective
  14. BRAND CONTRACT:Translate into standards, Fulfill Good Promises, Uncover Bad Promises
  15. BRAND BASED CUSTOMER MODEL:Identify your competitors, Compare your brand with competition
  16. BRAND BASED CUSTOMER MODEL:POSITIONING, Product era, Image Era, An important factor
  17. POSITIONING:Strong Positioning, Understanding of components through an example
  18. POSITIONING:Clarity about target market, Clarity about point of difference
  19. POSITIONING – GUIDING PRINCIPLES:Uniqueness, Credibility, Fit
  20. POSITIONING – GUIDING PRINCIPLES:Communicating the actual positioning, Evaluation criteria, Coining the message
  21. BRAND EXTENSION:Leveraging, Leveraging, Line Extension in detail, Positive side of line extension
  22. LINE EXTENSION:Reaction to negative side of extensions, Immediate actions for better managing line extensions
  23. BRAND EXTENSION/ DIVERSIFICATION:Why extend/diversify the brand,
  24. POSITIONING – THE BASE OF EXTENSION:Extending your target market, Consistency with brand vision
  25. DEVELOPING THE MODEL OF BRAND EXTENSION:Limitations, Multi-brand portfolio, The question of portfolio size
  26. BRAND PORTFOLIO:Segment variance, Constraints, Developing the model – multi-brand portfolio
  27. BRAND ARCHITECTURE:Branding strategies, Drawbacks of the product brand strategy, The umbrella brand strategy
  28. BRAND ARCHITECTURE:Source brand strategy, Endorsing brand strategy, What strategy to choose?
  29. CHANNELS OF DISTRIBUTION:Components of channel performance, Value thru product benefits
  30. CREATING VALUE:Value thru cost-efficiency, Members’ relationship with brand, Power defined
  31. CO BRANDING:Bundling, Forms of communications, Advertising and Promotions
  32. CUSTOMER RESPONSE HIERARCHY:Brand-based strategy, Methods of appropriations
  33. ADVERTISING:Developing advertising, Major responsibilities
  34. ADVERTISING:Message Frequency and Customer Awareness, Message Reinforcement
  35. SALES PROMOTIONS:Involvement of sales staff, Effects of promotions, Duration should be short
  36. OTHER COMMUNICATION TOOLS:Public relations, Event marketing, Foundations of one-to-one relationship
  37. PRICING:Strong umbrella lets you charge premium, Factors that drive loyalty
  38. PRICING:Market-based pricing, Cost-based pricing
  39. RETURN ON BRAND INVESTMENT – ROBI:Brand dynamics, On the relevance dimension
  40. BRAND DYNAMICS:On the dimension of knowledge, The importance of measures
  41. BRAND – BASED ORGANIZATION:Benefits, Not just marketing but whole culture, Tools to effective communication
  42. SERVICE BRANDS:The difference, Hard side of service selling, Solutions
  43. BRAND PLANNING:Corporate strategy and brands, Brand chartering, Brand planning process
  44. BRAND PLANNING PROCESS:Driver for change (continued), Brand analysis
  45. BRAND PLAN:Objectives, Need, Source of volume, Media strategy, Management strategy