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Brand Management

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Brand Management (MKT624)
Lesson 3
To manage your brand as an asset, full of value and power, you must understand a few
fundamentals that form the basis of brand asset management. Armed with that understanding,
you, as brand managers, will do your job right only if you understand brands correctly.
The following four fundamentals will allow you to develop with ease and consistency the
ability to build different strategic steps involved in creating a brand or refreshing an existing
·  Dimensions
·  Characteristics
·  Levels
·  Brand Owners' Commitment
Foreword to Brand Dimensions
For comprehension of a brand's dimensions, three models are fundamental to any discussion
about the subject. That is the first and the foremost thing you have to keep in your mind. Those
·  Brand identity
·  Brand image
·  Communication
Brand identity: Brand identity is what a company transmits about the brand to the market
place. Identity has many components ­ the name, the packaging, the colors, the typestyle,
the logo, and a host of other factors that comprise its personality. The personality of a brand
should be created for it to get expressed in terms of well-defined characteristics. For
example, reliable, friendly, durable, and serious etc.
What is most important here is that the company must be able to express the real essence of
the product to the target market. Any product, however high on the quality and reliability
grid, may not exploit its full potential if it is not expressed right by way of creation of the
right compatible personality.
If a brand is to be registered in the minds of consumers as "durable", then the whole
identity has to revolve around the aspects of durability. You must not develop a package
and related components that convey a sense of "fashionableness". That will be contrary to
the personality/identity of the brand.
Brand image: Brand image is a term used very loosely by people outside the sphere of
marketing. Changing the image is a favorite topic while discussing brands under distress.
But image is not something that can be changed or transformed with the speed we change a
color on the drawing board.
Brand image follows identity. It is a reflection of what we projected to send to the public.
Managers must be clear about what they want to send and how they want it received. Brand
image, then, is something that builds into the minds of the consumers.
To what extent that image is in line with the identity created by the company is the greatest
challenge for brand managers! The more the managers can have the market imagine their
brand's identity the way it is intended to be imagined, the more successful they are in their
effort. If there is a gap between the identity and the image, then there is a need for
corrective action.
Brand Management (MKT624)
Companies' efforts to build the right image span so many different means of
communication of which brand's own appearance is a part. Brand image, therefore, is the
totality of information, advertising, promotions, and other brand manifestations that the
consumer has seen and received about the brand over a period of time. It is, in other words,
his experience with the brand modified by certain perceptions, previous beliefs, biases,
social norms, and a level of forgetfulness1.
Due to a finite level of information retention in human mind coupled with the fact that other
variables mentioned above modify perceptions, the image on the consumer's side may not
be 100% identical with the identity. The reasons can be clarified with the help of the
following explanations:
·  Your inability to continuously advertise may become one factor putting your brand
out of the mind of the consumer.
·  Your bias about the origin (from a certain geographic area) of the product may
change the product's image in your mind.
·  Your beliefs about the way a product should or should not be used may affect
product's image.
Communication: The vehicle that transmits brand's identity to the target market for
creation of the right image is communication. To ensure that image remains as close to
identity as possible, companies get into communications of different kinds. This is where
brand communication takes an important stage. Correct communication goes a long way in
creating and building brand identity.
In the words of Philip Kotler, "communication is an interactive dialogue between the
company and its customers that takes place at the pre-selling, selling, consuming, and post-
consuming stages"2 This implies that communication is a recurring process that starts
before you buy (advertising, promotions, and other), remains in force while you buy (the
brand itself communicates), and does not end even after you have consumed the brand
(brand's ability to satisfy you keeps reminding you of being loyal to it). It goes on and on.
It further means that communication is not restricted to the traditional communication
platform, which is advertising, promotions, public relations, personal selling, and also some
technologically advanced ways of reaching the consumers through e-mail and internet-
based direct marketing. The working of three models can be graphically illustrated as
Figure 6
Source: Jean-Noel Kapferer: Strategic Brand Management; Kogan Page
Brand Management (MKT624)
All components of brand's personality discussed earlier also form brand contact points that
strengthen or weaken customers' view of the brand, and, hence, work as brand communicators.
We, as brand managers, have to assess which impressions can influence the customer's buying
process more so that we can direct our communication toward that point.
Brand Dimensions
Having understood the three models, namely, brand identity, brand image and communication,
we can go ahead with our discussion of the dimensions of brands, which is graphically
represented hereunder:
Figure 7
Brand Management (MKT624)
Functions: Every brand has a reason for being. If managers have correctly created a brand
that fulfills a particular "need" in a convincing way, then their understanding of the brand is
clear about what function the brand is going to fulfill.
Functions, therefore, stand for the central purpose of a brand. Why it exists? What need(s) it
fulfills? Whose need (target market) it fulfills? Starting point in the process of brand
development, the functions are carefully studied before making the decision for brand's
introduction. Management must be clear about the value the brand is going to offer its
customers and the value it will generate for the company.
Differentiation: In order to fulfill a certain need, a brand has to have a certain level of
differentiation, which refers to different and extra features. It is these extra features that
attract your target and offer them value.
In the age of fierce competition, the comparison is not between products that are perceived
as "passed products" and "failed products". The competition is among excellent products.
According to Kapferer, some brands (products) are "more excellent" than others.
Differentiation can take so many shapes and forms. Apart from extra physical attributes of a
brand, differentiation may also take place in terms of creative distribution channels and
The source: The source company is important in terms of its reputation. Consumers as well
as trade members who play an important role in promoting brands to consumers gauge
commitment of producers that they may have with their brands in light of their reputation,
history, and image in the market place.
Two brands of equally good quality by two different companies may not enjoy the same
level of following and loyalty. The one offered by a company with strong reputation in all
probability will have a better chance of gaining a wider customer base. Businesses must
carefully consider this source dimension to continually improve their reputation and
leverage their brand(s).
Personality/Image: Personality and image have been discussed in detail as part of identity
and image models and offer themselves as very important dimensions of any brand
management effort.
The reason for a separate discussion on identity and image models ahead of discussion on
dimensions stems from the fact that they are always at the center of any overall dimensional
model that may be described differently from the one above. Actually, different authors
have explained the dimensional model in different ways with terminologies different from
the four dimensions explained above. To understand any models, an understanding of
identity and image must take precedence over anything else.
What is of significance is that all the dimensions around the essence have to be consistent and
they must complement each other. The more consistent they are the stronger is the essence and
the brand identity.
Brand Management (MKT624)
Glossary of terms
Direct marketing: A direct marketing system is an interactive system without the help of any
intermediaries. The seller seeks direct orders from buyers who are influenced by one or more
advertising or promotional media.
Brand contact points: All those functional areas that interface with that of brand management,
namely finance, production, purchasing and supply chain, human resources, and information
systems and technology to name the major ones.
1. Geoffrey Randall: "Branding ­ A Practical Guide to Planning your Strategy"; Kogan Page
Other suggested readings
Jean-Noel Kapferer: "Strategic Brand Management"; Kogan Page (90-119)
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