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Brand Management

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Brand Management (MKT624)
Lesson 10
Brand picture is based on brand image, which has two following components:
·  Brand associations
·  Brand persona
Brand Associations
Associations refer to attributes the brand carries and benefits it offers to consumers. Persona is
description of the brand in human characteristics. The basics of this concept were discussed in
lecture 3 under brand identity and image. You must be able to express your brand in human
terms like sturdy, reliable, well-meaning and well-serving, stylish, modern, and caring etc.
A brand expressed as reliable must have those characteristics so that it can be perceived as that
by the target market. By the same token, a brand perceived as outdated by the market while the
company thinks of that as modern is at odds with the market perceptions.
The objective is to better understand brand's strengths and weaknesses and have realistic
strategic goals. A long exercise in brand vision as discussed in the preceding two chapters
enables us to understand company's strengths and weaknesses and their reflection on your
brand plans. A clear picture of the brand will emerge out of the understanding of strengths and
weaknesses toward leveraging your brand.
The two components of brand image are expressed graphically in the following figure.
Figure 17
According to Scot Davis, associations are
Brand Image
part of a laddering approach, whereby the
more you ladder up the perceived benefit in
your consumers' mind the stronger is the
Brand Persona
Brand Associations
He goes on to say that features and attributes
remain undifferentiated in the minds of
consumers  unless  they  translate  into
perceived benefits.
He also states that benefits are weak unless
they relate to the customers' central values
and beliefs2.
A chain of schools cannot create
perceptions of good quality education to
children unless its program of teaching
relates to the central values of children's
parents. The values could be a set of
Source: "Brand Asset Management" by Scot M. Davis
good worldly education, knowledge of
basic religious tenets, and high morals. Emphasis on physical training and extra-curricular
activities may also be among the beliefs of the parents.
The education system of the school has to create all the relevant attributes and then deliver
those as benefits for the target market (parents) to perceive that the delivered product is
very much in line with their perceptions. The higher the quality of delivery and substance of
education, the higher the school has laddered up the benefits. Add to that the extra-
curricular activities and the school has further laddered up the benefits.
Brand Management (MKT624)
The concept of laddering up the attributes and perceived benefits can be explained with the
help of the following set of three related examples:
Example 1
Think of a brand of clothing that you may not buy but do think is worth considering. The
reason you think it is worth the space on the market is that it does demonstrate certain
features and attributes that may have appeal for some, if not you. The brand is out in the
market fulfilling need of a certain segment that has to be addressed by some brand(s).
Example 2
Think of another brand of clothing that you desire just to fulfill certain basic needs with no
intention for self-fulfillment. You expect the brand to offer you basic benefits and feel
satisfied. You do not feel the need for projecting yourself. Your concern is all about the
functional benefit that the brand provides. Consider a basic sport shirt in the light of this
Example 3
Think of the best possible brand of clothing with which you associate yourself the most. If
it rings a chord with your emotional values and beliefs, then it is laddered up in your mind
to the highest. Your values dictate that you must look different by way of having expensive
and fashionable clothing and be able to project yourself as a modern, sophisticated person.
What happens is that you start feeling very important and confident thinking you are
projecting the image you deserve.
The laddering up of benefits can be explained wit the help of the following graphic illustration:
Figure 18
demonstrable features and
attributes that fulfill basic
In the second stage, features and attributes translate into benefits, while in the third stage
customer values are also fulfilled along with benefits. Refer to extra-curricular activities
offered by a school with a good education system.
The concept can be summarized in the following words:
·  Stage 1:
Demonstrable Features & Attributes.
·  Stage 2:
Features & Attributes + Benefits.
·  Stage 3:
Features & Attributes + Benefits + fulfillment of values.
We can conclude from the set of three examples that brand associations have different levels in
the mind of consumers. The higher the level the more powerful is the brand. When a brand
addresses your emotional values, it is at its pinnacle.
Getting to the pinnacle should be the objective of all good brands. But then not all brands can
do that. The following figure demonstrates the brand value build-up by way of a pyramid.
Brand Management (MKT624)
Figure 19
Brand Value Pyramid
The emotional,
spiritual, and
meaningful and
cultural values
most difficult
to imitate;
hardest to
Benefits that must
be provided to
Least difficult
Features & Attributes
Features that must
to imitate and
be demonstrated!
deliver; least
Source: "Brand Asset Management" by Scot M. Davis
Importance of being at pinnacle
Those brands that rule their respective categories and define them are the trend setters; others
follow them to maintain their existence in the market place. The trend setters establish certain
benchmarks not following which means getting your brands out of the playing field and
undermining consumer franchise for them. Not following therefore is risky. Following may
amount to having your brand known as "me-too", meaning a follower without creative
It is here that the point of differentiation acquires significance and calls for concerted efforts to
rightly identify the dimension of the need your brand is out to address, satisfy that need and get
to the pinnacle.
Leveraging from the pinnacle
The question is why do you have to be at the pinnacle? Companies do not invest phenomenal
amounts of money to be at the pinnacle for the sake of marketing fun! Investments into
branding are done to attain a position from where you can leverage your brand.
Needless to say that it is the brand loyalty that offers your brand the slot at the pinnacle. You
can go for price premiums and introduce new products through the brand power. Eventually,
you want your brand power to translate into profitability and bottom line growth, and increase
the asset value of the brand2. If you succeed in doing so, you define the category in which every
one else is a follower. You enjoy ultimate power.
Pinnacle testifies right image
Any brand at the pinnacle testifies the need it is fulfilling was rightly identified, the identity
was right, its image has been received in the right most way, and the communication was
Brand Management (MKT624)
From pinnacle to bottom
There are categories in which all players work hard to win over customers by offering points of
difference with quality. The offerings eventually get so close to each other that they lose the
charm of having had differentiation at one point, thereby reducing the whole category to basic
features and attributes. What once was a differentiated feature offering unique benefits and
values is now commonplace and hence calls for working all over again through the brand value
The renewed working may not mean changing the product all together. It could be done
through various ways of offering meaningful value to the customer, like improving service,
distribution, and management practices. Toyota Corolla is an excellent example under such
circumstances. Its direct competitors offer everything in tangible terms in their models, and yet
Toyota is right on top. The position owes to the unmatchable customer value the brand offers
through better availability of spares, service, and resale price of cars. The extra meaningful
value does not let Toyota lose its exceptional laddering and reduce the model to the first level
of brand pyramid.
Conversely, in many cases of consumer consumables, similarities let brands catch up with each
other and prevent them from offering any meaningful ways of retaining differentiated customer
value. The result is all brands lose their exceptional laddering and reduce the category to the
first level of brand pyramid. Price wars and massive promotions start. Result is shake-outs.
Category gets a new life with the advent of new technology or at least new innovation or a
substitute category of products.
The next lecture continues with the levels of association a good brand should evoke. How
features and benefits should be determined to have the desired associations evoked is the
starting point of the lecture.
1. Scot M. Davis: "Brand Asset Management ­ Driving Profitable Growth through Your
Brands"; Jossey-Bass, A Wiley Imprint (54)
2. Scot M. Davis: "Brand Asset Management ­ Driving Profitable Growth through Your
Brands"; Jossey-Bass, A Wiley Imprint (56)
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