Explain building brands through promotional measures.
The promotional Strategy: Brand- building tools
Brand building tools are the means of marketing communication by which companies aim to inform, persuade and remind customers directly or indirectly about its product and brands. In a way, they dialog and build relationships with customers. The brand building tools are not fundamentally different in B2C and B2B areas. The communications program is made up of the same major modes of communication (Kotler and Pfoertsch, 2006). Promotion has been defined as the coordination of all seller initiated efforts to set up channel of information and persuasion in order to sell goods and service or promote an idea. While implicit communication occurs through the various elements of the marketing mix, most of an organization’s communication with the marketplace take place as part of a carefully planned and control promotional program (Belch & Belch, 2009).Traditionally the promotional mix has included four elements: advertising, sales promotion, publicity and personal selling. In the modern perspective, direct marketing and internet marketing is the major promotional mix elements. Each element has different forms and advantages. Organization uses a variety of tools and media (broadcast, print, outdoor, in store, digital and others) to engage their audiences and generate brand awareness. The six principles of promotional tools are discussed below. 2.2 Advertising: Advertising is defined as any paid form of non-personal communication about an organization, product, service or idea by an identified sponsor (Keller, 2008). Advertising is commonly defined as paid, one-way promotional communication in any mass media. Wells et el (1992), advertising is paid non-personal communication from an identified sponsor using mass media to persuade or influence an audience. The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines advertising as the placements of announcements and persuasive messages in time or space purchased in any of the mass media by business firms, nonprofit organization, government agencies and individuals who seek to inform and persuade members of a particular target market or audience about their products, services, organizations or ideas. According to Paul and Kelly, advertising is a 15 non-personal form of communication, where a clearly identifiable sponsor pays for a massage to be transmitted through media. Advertising is one of several tools used to communicate an organization’s marketing offer. One of the distinctive qualities that advertising brings to the mix is that it reaches large, often mass audience in an impersonal way. Advertising, together with the other tools of the communication mix, is a means of managing demand. At a general level, advertising can be used in one of two main ways. First, it can used to influence demand for products or service and second it can be used to manage perceptions and understanding about the organization as a whole. According to Jones (1991) advertising is capable of persuading people to buy a product that they have not previously purchased. Advertising can also generate brand awareness for increasing sales. The importance of advertisement ranges from awareness, image enhancement, generating sales leads, as well as identifying and attracting potential customers for the company. According to Lithenthal et al (2006), advertising can open doors for an industrial salesperson (personal selling) and at the same time generating awareness and favorable attitudes thereby supporting the sales rather than directly causing them. Advertising also have an effect on shareholder maximization (Amit, 2010). Another vital importance of advertisement (Hayes et al: 1996) is that, it introduces the firm to prospective customers. Mahin (1991), on his part advocates that, advertising opens prospect doors, build product/company image, increase brand awareness, differentiate a product from competition and generates sales leads. Last but not the least; advertising creates a generally more receptive climate prior to the sales visit (Brassington, 2006). The power of advertising to affect brand awareness by media shown below.
, Television is generally acknowledged as the most powerful advertising medium as it allows for sight, sound, and motion and reaches a broad spectrum of consumers. The wide reach of TV advertising translates to low cost per exposure. From a brand equity perspective, TV advertising has two particularly important strengths. First, TV advertising can be effective means of vividly demonstrating product attributes and persuasively explaining their corresponding consumer benefits. Second, TV advertising can be compelling means for dramatically portraying non-product-related user and usage imagery, brand personality, and so on. Television is a common medium of information and is very effective in delivering a message or in a wide sense, for effective marketing communication. Kotler & Fox (1985) stated that television has advantages and disadvantages related to its effectiveness as a medium to broadcast advertising messages. The advantages are that the information can be easily viewed, listened to, and pictured. Belch & Belch (2004) stated that television is considered the ideal medium to advertise as advertisement exposure can showcase the most attractive side of the products. The disadvantage of TV advertising is the higher cost, that fact that it can be highly confusing medium that the audience is selective. In emerging market like Bangladesh, television is the most popular medium for information and entertainment. 16 2.2.2 Radio Advertising: Radio advertising is available on national networks and on local markets. Radio stations are designated either AM or FM. An AM or amplitude modulation, station varies the height of its electromagnetic signal so that during the daytime it produce waves, called ground wave, that follow the contour of the earth (Wells, 2000). An FM or frequency modulation, stations differs from AM in that the wavelength (frequency) is adjusted rather than the height (amplitude), which remains constant. Because the signal put out by an FM station follows the line sight, the distance of the signal depends on the height of the antenna. Bangladesh Radio has expanded its FM broadcasting and community radio.
Print media are media that deliver messages one topic at a time and one thought at a time. Print media offers a stark contrast to broadcast media (wells, 2000) Most importantly, because of its self-paced nature, magazines and newspapers can provide much detailed product information (Keller, 2008). In general, the two main print media-magazines and newspaper- have many advantages. Newspaper advertisement is very effective tool to spread the information quickly to a large number of audience (Altstiel & Grow, 2006). Newspaper includes broad market coverage consumer’s ability to comparison shop, positive consumer attitudes, flexibility and interaction between national advertisers and local retailers. Magazine advertisements deliver highly qualified targets and are effective in increasing brand sales and market share. The benefits of magazine advertising include the ability to reach specialized audiences, audience receptivity, a long life span, visual quality, and the distribution of sales promotion devices. Effective print materials are the most tangible means of placing company’s message firmly in the hands and mind the customers.
Outdoor advertising (Billboard): Outdoor advertising includes all forms of advertising that provide out-of-doors exposure. These forms may be pictured, written or spoken (Agnew, 1985; Nelson & Sykes, 1953; Wilson, 1952). Prevalent forms of outdoor advertising include billboards, street furniture, transit and alternative forms. Billboards are the predominant form of outdoor advertising and are further classified into bulletins, 8 sheet posters (smaller size), 30 sheet posters (larger size), wrapped 30 sheet posters, squared wrapped posters, spectaculars and wall murals based on size, shape, and placement. Technology has provided outdoor advertisers with myriad options. Most recently, the liberal use of electronics has created ‘‘spectacular’’ billboards that look like giant screen televisions, some even with sound. The term 'billboard advertising' relates to the usage of signs along the roadways and waysides for the purpose of advertising and promoting a range of products and services.
Mobile Advertisement: Mobile advertising targets users of handle wireless devices like mobile phones and personal digital assistants (PDAs). The main advantage of mobile advertising is that it can reach target customers anywhere any time. To promote the selling of products or services, all the activities required to communicate with the consumers and transferred to mobile devices. Combining customers’ user profile and context, advertising companies provide the target customers with exactly the advertisement information they desire, not just spam them with 17 advertisements (Tripathy & Siddique, 2008). Andersson and Nilsson (2000) evaluated location sensitive SMS campaign effectiveness based on traditional communication effect measures and showed SMS campaigns were effective and have a positive impact on brand awareness.
Direct Marketing: According to Direct marketing Association (DMA), defined direct marketing as” any direct communication to a consumer or business recipient that is designed to generate a response in the form of an order (direct order), a request for further information (lead generation), and a visit to a store or other place of business for purchase of a specific products or services (traffic generation). According to Belch & Belch (2009) direct marketing is a system of marketing by which organizations communicate directly with target customers to generate a response or transaction. This response may take the form of an inquiry, a purchase, or even a vote. Direct marketing techniques are used to reduce distance between buyer and seller through squeeze intermediary (Jobber, 2007). Immediate response is very important for service provider firms and who are providing service to mass consumers. Direct marketing is one of the most effective promotional tools to get immediate response (Belch & Belch, 2009). Peter Bennett defines direct marketing as the total of activities by which the seller, in effecting the exchange of goods and services with the buyer, directs efforts to a target audience using one or more media (direct selling, direct mail, telemarketing, direct action advertising, catalogue selling, cable TV selling etc.) for the purpose of soliciting a response by phone, mail, or personal visit from a prospect or customer. One of the fastest-growing sectors of the U.S economy is direct marketing, in which organizations communicate directly with target customer to generate a response and transaction. Direct marketing is much more than direct mail and mail order catalogs. It involves a variety of activities, including database management, direct selling, telemarketing and direct response ads through direct mail, the internet, and various broadcast and print media. One of the major tools of direct marketing is direct-response advertising, whereby a product is promoted through an ad that encourages the consumer to purchase directly from the manufacturer. Direct Marketing is the distribution of products, information and promotional benefits to target consumers through interactive communication in a way that allows response to be measured (Jobber, 2007).
Direct marketing tools include the use of direct mail, telemarketing, fax, e-mail, newsletter, catalog, internet, and others to communicate directly with specific customers and prospects. Direct marketing tools provide companies with several attractive ways of conveying customized massages to individuals. The usually contain up-to-date information because preparation time can be neglected. While being instantly applicable, they need to be integrated into the long term corporate brand massage. Direct marketing is a tool which allows marketers to reduce wasteful communication to non-target customers or customers groups. For direct marketing tools it is also very important to achieve consistency of the brand appearance. Brand building through direct marketing is only achieved if customer’s expectations are met by the brand performance. Therefore, listening and responding to customer feedback regarding positive and negative experiences is important.
Interactive/ Internet marketing: Internet marketing, also known as digital marketing, web marketing, online marketing, search marketing or e-marketing, is the marketing (generally promotion) of products or services over the Internet. Internet actually a multifaceted promotional tools. Advertising on the web, marketers offer sales promotion incentives such as coupons, contests and sweepstakes online and they use the internet to conduct direct marketing, personal selling, and public relation activities more effectively and efficiently (Belch & Belch, 2009). The internet is a global network of interlinked computers operating on a standard protocol that allows information exchange. It is composed of computer networks and individual computers throughout the world connected by phone lines, satellites and other telecommunication systems (Ellsworth & Ellsworth, 1996). Internet marketing can be simply defined as: Achieving marketing objectives through applying digital technologies (Chaffey, 2009). These digital technologies include internet media such as website and e-mail as well as other digital media such as wireless or mobile and media for delivering digital television such as cable and satellite. Brand building on the internet include web site, online advertising and sponsored, email, web PR, social media networks, intranet and customer extranet.
Web site: Website- accessible on the World Wide Web that is created by a particular organization or individual. The location and identity of a website is indicated by its web address (URL) or domain name. It may be stored on a single server in a single location or a cluster of servers (Chaffey, 2009). Web site dedicated to the brand is potentially the most powerful brand building tool, in par part because it can be tailored to the needs of the brand and the customer/brand relationship. Moreover, it can marshal all the power of the web to create and reinforce associations (Aaker, 2000; p.237). Web or home pages are pages of information placed within web sites on the internet. They can contain color, graphics, text, audio, video, and animation.
Online Advertising & Sponsored content: Online advertising- using a range of formats including banners, skyscrapers and graphical or rich media such overlays (Chaffey, 2009). Internet advertising is effective in building brand equity. Banner ads and other paid web placement of creative visuals, messages, and experiences can provide visibility and associations and also stimulate people to click through to particular websites. A brand can also sponsor content (such as category information, games, or other activities) on a third party site. Ryan & Whiteman (2000) define online sponsorship as: the linking of a brand with related content or context for the purpose of creating brand awareness and strengthening brand appeal in a form that is clearly distinguishable from a banner, button or other standardized ad unit. Sponsorship provides the ultimate ability to leverage the association of another brand and to gain ownership of a portion of the internet (Aaker, 2000).
E-mail Marketing: E-mail marketing most commonly used for mailing to existing customers on a house-list, but can also be used for mailing prospects on a rented or co-branded list. E-mail can be inbound and outbound. Outbound e-mail marketing- emails are sending to customers and prospects from an organization to encourage purchase or branding goals. Inbound e-mail 19 marketing- management of e-mails from customers by an organization (Chaffey, 2009). An increasingly popular channel for customer service, marketing, and other communications, email is powerful tool for brand builders. An e-mail reminder about company’s all marketing activities. These types of email contacts serve to create a connection and, at the same time, remained the customer about the brand and its relationship with its customers (Aaker, 2000).
Web Public Relation: Web PR involves web communication not controlled by the brand, such as personal home pages, news-or gossip-oriented sites, discussion groups, and chat rooms. Specialized discussion groups and chat rooms organized around brands or brand applications have proven their ability to dramatically influence sales, both positively and negatively (Aaker, 2000). The web has become a very important element of public relations (PR). ”Both online and off, the process is much the same when using PR to increase brand awareness, differentiate yourself from the crowd and improve perception. Many offline PR companies now employ staff with specialist online skills. The web itself offers a plethora of news sites and services. And, of course, there are thousands of newsletters and zones covering just about every topic under the sun. Never before has there been a better opportunity to get your message to the broadest geographic and multidemographic audience. But you need to understand the pitfalls on both sides to be able to avoid (Grehan, 2004). The UK institute of PR (IPR, 2003) defines PR as: the management of reputationthe planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organization and its publics. IPR (2003) notes that public relation involves activities such as: media relations, corporate communications, community relations, corporate social responsibility issues and crisis management, investor relations, public affairs and internal communications. The public relationships consultant association (PRCA, 2005) defines PR as: the managed process of communication between one group and another is the method of defining messages and communicating them to target audiences in order to influence a desired response.
Intranet: A network within a single company that enables access to company information using the familiar tools of the internet such as web browsers and email. Only staff within a company can access the intranet, which will be password-protected (Chaffey, 2009).Intranet is an important brand role is to communicate the identity within the organization (and to brand building partners) so that everyone knows and cares about what the brand is to stand for. An intranet (Generally a system of private websites connecting people within an organization, as well as its partners) can provide a key role in communicating the brand and its brand identity internally (Aaker, 2000). An intranet can also more directly communicate the brand identity, brand strategies, and best practices efforts to enhance that identity, as well as visual presentation rules and guidelines.
Customer Extranet: Extranet formed by extending an intranet beyond a company to customers, suppliers, collaborators or even competitors (Chaffey, 2009). It usually to allow the customer to access information, process orders, and receive backup support, just as if the customer were a part of the organization. A customer extranet site builds branding several ways. The Dell 20 premier page not only deliveries enhanced service but also vividly reinforces the core identity associations of efficiency and responsiveness. An extranet provides considerable brand building opportunity (Aaker, 2000). In particular, the look and feel as well as the content can be designed to reflect the brand. Many of the effectiveness guidelines for building brand on websites can also apply to extranets. This should not be surprising, since an extranet site functionally acts like a web site (and in fact often uses some or all of the brand’s web site).
Social Media Networks: Safko & Brake (2009) state that ‘social media refers to activities, practices and behaviors among communities of people who gather online to share information, knowledge, and opinions using conversational media. According to Carlsson (2010), social media are web related services where people can talk, share information, and forge new relationships. Examples of social media include blogs, micro blogs, podcasts, wikis, communities and video sites. The essential feature is that social media builds on user generated content. Social media offers endless opportunities for customer service and support. It is an excellent tool to get close with your customers and fans; however, it is by no means intended to be used on its own. Social media works best for brands in marketing if it is used as a complement to other activities. (Carlsson, 2010). Social media is very important to most every company today. This is because the world has become a very technologically driven place that thrives on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. A strong brand ought to be based on the dialogue you have your customers and prospects- the stronger the dialogue- the stronger the brand. The social web allows companies to have these kinds of dialogues more efficiently and less expensively than in the past (Weber, 2009).
Sales promotion: The American Marketing Association (AMA) defined, sales promotion is media non media marketing pressure applied for a predetermined, limited period of time in order to stimulate trial, increase consumer demand or improve product quality. According to Keller (2008) Sales promotion can be defined as short term incentives to encourage trial or usage of a product or service. Sales promotion are used extensively in consumer markets, especially when launching new brands, and in markets that are mature, where market growth is limited and where price and sales promotion work are the only ways of inducing brand switching behavior and improving performances. Sales promotions are concerned with offering customers additional value, in order to induce an immediate sale (Belch, 2009) Sales promotion is defined as those marketing activities that provide extra value or incentives to the sales force, the distributors or the ultimate consumers and can stimulate immediate sales (Belch, 2009). Sales promotion is generally broken into two major categories: consumer-oriented and trade oriented activities. Consumer-oriented sales promotion is targeted to the ultimate user of a product or service and includes couponing, sampling, premiums, rebates, contests, sweepstakes and various points of purchase materials. Trade oriented sales promotion is targeted toward marketing intermediaries such as wholesalers, distributors and retailers. 21 According to Kotler (2006) sales promotions are incentives of various kinds that are used to increase the value of a market offering over a specified period of time. Its usual purpose is to encourage trial or increased usage of a product or service. As consumers we are surrounded by a myriad of products that try to seduce us with little gifts and other add-ons to have us make the purchase. In B2B this concept usually does not work since buyers of industrial companies only purchase what the company really needs. In contrast to consumer promotion, trade promotions are targeted at retailers, distributors and other members of the trade channel. They often come in the form of financial incentives or discounts with the purpose of securing shelf space and distribution for a new brand. Business and sales force promotion at tradeshows, for instance, can be made up by special contests for sales representatives or similar actions (Kotler, 2006)
Publicity/ public relations: According to Belch (2009), publicity refers to non-personal communication regarding an organization, product service or idea not directly paid for or run under identified sponsorship. According to Keller (2008) Public relations and publicity relates to a variety of programs and is designed to promote and protect a company’s image or its individual product. Publicity is non-personal communications such as press releases, media interviews, press conferences, features articles, newsletters, photographs, films and tapes. Public relations may also include annual reports, fund rising, and membership drives, lobbying, special event management and public affairs (Keller, 2008). Public relations have been defined as” the management function that evaluates public attitudes, identifies the policies and procedures of an individual or organization with the public interest, and executes a program to earn public understanding and acceptance (Schultz & Barnes, 1999). Public relations (PR) are about generating coverage in the media that reaches various stakeholder groups. It involves a variety of programs designed to promote or protect the image of your brand. Well-thought out programs coordinated with the other communications elements can be extremely effective. Their appeal lies mainly in the higher credibility of news stories and features, especially compared to advertising. Because of their authenticity they are more credible to readers. PR can moreover reach potential customers that tend to avoid salespeople and advertisements. Effective public relations have to be managed carefully by continuously monitoring the attitudes of customers and all other groups that have an actual or potential interest in your company. The reason PR is so effective in brand building is because it delivers credibility. With limited resources, PR delivers the most bangs for the buck while also delivering the highest level of credibility. PR builds brands by building positive, pervasive word of mouth. PR is one of the most effective ways to get people talking about your brand and it gets them moreover believing. PR therefore is most effective at building and sustaining your business. According to Kotler (2006) Proactive publicity can be one of the most powerful and cost effective brand building tools, especially for smaller organizations that can’t afford significant advertising. Publicity is free, 22 almost six times as many people read articles as read ads and the articles are more credible as they are perceived to be third party endorsements versus self-promotion. And, the average salary of an in-house copywriter is very low compared to the average ad agency fee to create a comparable amount of advertising (Derrick Daye, 2007).
Exhibitions & Trade Shows: Trade exhibitions-often called business or technical events-are typically aimed at either everyone within a particular trade or industry or to a specific group or groups across a range of different industries (Iain Maitland, 1997). An exhibition is a direct, face to face medium. You can meet past, present, and perspective customers and talk, discuss products and services, ask and answer questions, negotiate, judge reactions, and establish real, human relationship with them. Trade shows and exhibitions are major importance in the brand building tools. They represent a great opportunity of businesses to build brand awareness, knowledge and interest at one place at a time. They also provide customers with access to many potential suppliers and customers in a short period time at relatively low cost compared to regular information gathering methods. Customer can easily compare competitive offerings at one place (Kotler & Proertsch, 2006).
Event Marketing & Sponsorship: Event marketing refers to public sponsorship of events or activities related to sports, art, entertainment or social causes. Developing successful event sponsorship involves choosing the appropriate events, designing the optimal sponsorship program, and measuring the effects of sponsorship of brand equity (Keller, 2000). The term sponsorship describes a variety of arrangements between companies providing some kind of resources (like money, people and equipment) and events and organizations which are beneficiaries of these resources (Lee, Sandler & Shani, 1997).Sponsorship is a business method for communication and marketing which, in the short and long term, has the aim of contributing to the sponsor’s brand awareness and image, as well as increasing the sponsor’s sales (Mikael & Magnus, 1999). Sponsorship implies that the sponsor provides funds, goods, services and know-how. The sponsee will help the sponsor with communication objectives such as building brand awareness or reinforcing brand or corporate image. Sports, arts, media, education, science and social projects and institution and television program can be sponsored. Events are often linked to sponsorship. A company can sponsor an event or organize its own events, for instance for its sales team, its clients and prospect, its personnel, its distribution network (Patrick, Maggie & Joeri, 2004). Corporate goal for sponsorship can be: increase revenue, create a platform for developing relationships and provide an opportunity to entertain customers in a unique environment as well as to generate benefits for employees (Kotler, 2006).
Personal Selling: According to Belch (2009) The final element of an organization’s promotional mix is personal selling, a form of person-to-person communication in which a seller attempts to assist and persuade prospective buyers to purchase the company’s product or service or act on an idea. Personal selling involves direct contact between buyer and seller, either face-to-face or through some form of telecommunications such as telephone sales. 23 Personal selling involves face to face interaction with one or more prospective purchasers for the purpose of making sales. Personal selling represents a communication option with pros and cons almost exactly the opposite of advertising (Keller, 2008). Specifically, the main advantages to personal selling are that a detailed, customized message can be sent to customers where feedback can be gathered to help close the sale. Prospective customers can be identified and qualified and tailored solutions can be offered. Products often can be demonstrated with customer involvement as part of the sales pitch for the brand. According to Kotler (2006) Face to face interaction with one or more prospective customers for the main purpose of obtaining orders is generally called personal selling. Personal selling is an important brand building tool because everything involved in it actually affects how the brand is perceived by customers. The appearance and manner of the salesperson is just as important as their factual knowledge about the products and services. Every brand contact communicates something to customers and thereby delivers a certain impression about the brand and the company that can be either positive or negative.
Branding strategy: Building strong brand Branding is an entire process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product (goods and services) in the customers’ mind, through promotional campaigns with consistent theme. Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers. Brands are viewed as the major enduring assets of a company, outlasting the company’s specific products and facilities. John Stewart, co-founder of Quaker oats, once said, if this business was split up, I would give u the land and bricks and mortar, and I would keep the brands and trademarks and I would fare better than you. A former CEO of McDonald’s agrees. Consider a situation where every asset the company owns, every building and every piece of equipment were destroyed in a terrible natural disaster. McDonald’s CEO argues that he would be able to borrow all the money to replace these assets very quickly because of the value of the brand. The brand is more valuable than the totality of all these assets. Thus, brand is powerful assets that must be carefully developed and managed. 2.8.1 Branding: The literature on branding has increased greatly through the 1990 and the beginning of the 21st century. The definitions of a brand are as diverse as the extensive amount of literature. In the classical definition, the brand is linked to the identification of a product and the differentiation from its competitors, through the use of a certain name, logo, design or other visual sign and symbols. The original meaning of the word ’brand’ seems to derive from an old Norse word brand, which meant ’to burn’ (Inter brand Group, 1992). Yet in the etymology of the word, this idea of branding as a ’permanent mark deliberately made with hot iron” now takes second place to ”goods of particular name or trademark ( Oxford English dictionary, 1990). The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines a brand as: A name, term, design, sign, symbol or any other 24 feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers. The legal term for brand is trademark. A brand may identify one item, a family of items, or all items of that seller- if used for the firm as a whole; the preferred term is trade name. From this definition all products are brands, since they are different from other products in terms of packaging, logo and so forth. However, in line with many other strategies and marketers (Keller, 2000), brand involves lot more elements to be strong brand. A brand is more than its name and logo, because a brand stands out in consumers’ minds as delivering something more than merely the product. What characterizes a brand, according to Knowles, is that it addresses both functional and emotional consumer needs. The relationship with consumers is thus no longer merely transactional. There are often psychological, social, and non-physical elements involved as well (Hougaard & Bjerre, 2002). Hougaard & Bjerre have termed this symbolic exchange which can be described as adding the perception of what a product or service means to an individual, and not just focusing on what the product or service can do (Hougaard & Bjerre, 2002). This also explains the development of literature on strategic relationship marketing. There has been a shift from focusing on producing goods as cheap as possible to considering the consumer the focal point. And now another shift to focus on creating relationships and interact with the consumer to create a win win situation ( Webster, 1992), the goal now is to create a long term relationship with the customers, because it has proven to be the most profitable strategy. Products have been marketed almost entirely on functional benefits (Knowles, 2001), for instance, technological superior performance. But now that companies have the same access to information and technology products tend to have the same functional benefits. This makes it hard to differentiate the brand on this parameter alone in the mind of the consumers. Commodity products have often not been differentiated at either of the two parameters. The strongest position, and the position which characterizes brand, is on that is both functionally and emotionally differentiated according to Knowles. This suggests that homogeneous products like milk and potatoes cannot be branded, since they seem to be unable to be functionally differentiated. However, as have been in the example of Heinz and Evian, it is possible to brand commodity products. It can thus be established that brand also derives its value from its ability to meet subjective emotional needs. Some marketers and strategies primarily focus on the emotional aspect of branding however it should not be forgotten that if the brand does not deliver the functional benefits expected by consumers, it will fail (Knowles, 2001).
Branding Value: The value buyers perceive the brand to be worth. According to Sawyer and Dickson (1984) value is a ratio of attributes weighted by their evaluations divided by price weighted by its evaluation. Perceived value is the consumer’s overall assessment of the utility of a product based on a perception of what is received and what is given (Zeithaml, 1988). Branding provide value to customers and companies.
Types of Branding Corporate Branding: Corporate branding employs the same methodology and toolbox used in product branding, but it also elevates the approach a step further into the board room, where additional issues around stakeholders relations ( Shareholders, media, competitors, governments and many others) can help corporation benefit from a strong and well-managed corporate branding strategy. Not surprisingly, a strong and comprehensive corporate branding strategy requires a high level of personal attention and commitment from the CEO and the senior management to become fully effective and meet the objectives. The corporate brand is the overall umbrella for the corporations’ activities and encapsulates its brand dimensions such as corporate vision, values, personality, positioning, and image among many other dimensions (Kotler & Pfoertsch, 2006).Corporate or master brands usually embrace all products or services of a business. The brand hereby represents the total offerings of the company. Corporate branding is one of those things that everyone believes is important, yet there is very little consensus as to what it means. Words such as ’values’, ’identity’, ’image’ and ’communication’ swirl around (Nicholas Ind , 1997). A strong corporate branding strategy can add significant value to any corporation since it facilitates the implementation of the long term vision and provides a unique position in the market place. It helps a company to further leverage on its tangible and non-tangible assets leading to branding excellence throughout the corporation. Therefore, strong corporate brand characterized by the precise, distinctive and self-contained image they hold in the minds of stakeholders (Kotler, 2006). Strong corporate brand increase employee and customer loyalty, supports the company’s competitive differentiation, motivates shareholders, ensures engagement among employees, and enhances the company’s communication, just to mention a few of the advantages ( Aaker, 1996).
Product Branding: Product branding is a well-known phenomenon in marketing. A brand is a promise to the customer that goes beyond the generic product, the technical and physical attributes. When selling a branded product the company promises that the consumer will achieve special qualities by using the product, different qualities than when using a similar non branded or different branded product. A typical message from the company is “when using this product you will be more attracted, become better looking and signal a higher social class“. By using the branded product the consumer can communicate his/her lifestyle or wanted lifestyle. A brand is a collection of images and ideas representing an economic producer; more specifically, it refers to the descriptive verbal attributes and concrete symbols such as a name, logo, slogan, and design scheme that convey the essence of a company, product or service. Brands are more than just names and symbols. Brands represent consumers’ perceptions and feelings about a product and its 26 performance. Brands exist in the minds of consumers. Therefore, the real value of a strong brand is its power to capture consumer preference and loyalty. A strong brand is a valuable asset to the business who owns the brand. Service Branding: A service brand is essentially a promise about the nature of a future experience with an organization or individual service provider. Brand presentation directly impacts brand awareness, which is a customer’s ability to recognize and recall a brand. Advertising can play important roles in service branding. Branding plays a special role in service companies because strong brands increase customers’ trust of the invisible purchase. Strong brands enable customers to better visualize and understand intangible products. They reduce customers’ perceived monetary, social, or safety in buying services, which are difficult to evaluate prior to purchase. Strong brands are the surrogates when the company offers no fabric to touch, no trousers to try on, no water melons or apples to scrutinize, no automobiles to test drive (Berry, 2000). In the end, great service brands are built on excellent customer experiences.
Brands equity: Brands are more than just names and symbols. They are key elements in the company’s relationships with consumers. Brands represent consumers’ perceptions and feelings about a product and its performance- everything that the product or service means to consumers. According to Aaker (1991), brand equity is a multidimensional concept. It consists of brand loyalty, brand awareness, perceived quality, brand associations and other proprietary brand assets. These assets in turn provide benefits and value to firm. In the final analysis, brands exist in the mind of consumers. Ambler & Barwise (1998) define brand equity as ’ the marketing asset that exists in consumers’ minds and is of continuing value to the brand owner because it influences future purchases by the buyer and buyer’s social network through word of mouth. Keller(2002), defined customer based brand equity as the differential effect that customer knowledge about a brand has in the customer’s response to marketing activities and programs for the brand. Fundamentally, the goal for any brand manager is to endow products and services with brand equity (Park & Srinivasan 1994; Farquhar 1989). Brand equity defines the value of the brand and can refer to two understandings of brand value, namely a strategic, subjective understanding or brand equity as a financial, objective expression of the value of the brand. In the financial understanding of brand equity, the concept is a way to account for how much value a brand holds. Brand equity is one of the intangible entries on the balance sheet (like goodwill and know-how). The subjective understanding of brand equity refers to the consumers’ perception of the brand and is strategically valuable for brand management. A consumer perceives a brand’s equity as the value added to the functional product or services by associating it with the brand name (Aaker & Biel, 1993; p 2). According to Keller (2003), a set of brand assets and liabilities linked to brands, its name and symbol that add to or subtract from the value provided by a product or service to a firm and to that firm’s customers.
Dimensions of Brand Equity: According to Aaker (1996; p8) Brand equity has four dimensions. These are- Brand awareness, brand loyalty, perceived quality, brand associations. Brand awareness refers to the strength of a brand’s presence in the consumer’s mind
Brand awareness covers two concepts; brand recognition and brand recall. Brand recognition refers to whether the consumers remember a past exposure to the brand . Recall refers to whether the consumer can recall the brand with or without aid . Recall with aid includes brand recognition. Brand loyalty is a deeply held commitment to re-buy preferred product or service constantly in the future. Brand loyalty is included because a loyal consumer base is expected to generate a very predictable sale and profit stream
. Further, treating loyalty as an asset encourages loyalty-building programs which can improve brand equity. Perceived quality has been defined as the consumer’s subjective judgment about a product’s overall excellence or superiority. Perceived quality is the consumer’s perception of quality given the price. When perceived quality improves, other elements of the consumer’s perception of the brand are likely to improve too . Brand association refers to the associations the consumer has towards the brand , be it superior product performance, emotional benefits, selfexpressive benefits and organizational benefits. The objectives of the branding process therefore becomes to create high awareness, recognition and perceived quality, and further to create strong positive associations towards the brand that is being branded.
Building a strong brand: Customer-Based Brand Equity Model. Brand building starts with understanding the key attributes of your products and services as well understanding and anticipating the needs of your customers (Kotler, 2006).The model was developed by Kevin Keller, based on his ‘Customer Based Brand Equity Model’ (CBBE). According to the model, building a strong brand involves four steps: (1) establishing the proper brand identity, that is, establishing breadth and depth of brand awareness, (2) creating the appropriate brand meaning through strong, favorable, and unique brand associations, (3) eliciting positive, accessible brand responses, and (4) forging brand relationships with customers that are characterized by intense, active loyalty. Achieving these four steps, in turn, involves establishing six brand-building blocks—brand salience, brand performance, brand imagery, brand judgments, brand feelings, and brand resonance. The most valuable brand-building block, brand resonance, occurs when all the other brand-building blocks are established. With true brand resonance, customers express a high degree of loyalty to the brand such that they actively seek means to interact with the brand and share their experiences with others. Firms that are able to achieve brand resonance should reap a host of benefits, for example, greater price premiums and more efficient and effective marketing programs.
Brand identity: According to Aaker (1996) the brand identity is the overarching idea of the brand that guides its actions and activities. Fundamentally, it is the company’s view of what it wants to be, how it wants to be perceived. Brand Identity is a unique set of brand association that the brand strategists aspire to create or maintain. These associations represent what the brand stands for and imply a promise to the customers from the organization members (Aaker, 1996). Brand identity reflects the contribution of all brand elements to awareness and image (Keller, 1998). According to Keller, Brand awareness consist of brand recognition which can be defined as the” customer’s ability to confirm prior exposure to the brand when given a brand as a cue” and brand recall”customer’s ability to retrieve the brand from memory when given the product category, the needs fulfilled by the category, or a purchase or usage situation as cue. Formally, brand awareness refers to customers’ ability to recall and recognize a brand. Brand awareness is more than just the fact that customers know a brand name and the fact that they have previously seen it, perhaps even many times. Brand awareness also involves linking the brand-name, logo, symbol, and so forth-to certain association in memory. In particular, building brand awareness involves making sure that customers understand the product or service category in which the brand competes. There must be clear links to other products or service sold under the brand name (Keller, 2001)
Brand Meaning: Brand meaning is the concept or impression that immediately comes to the customer’s mind in reference to the brand. It is the organization’s reputation or image with that customer (Keller, 1993). Creating brand meaning involves establishing a brand image-what the brand characterized by and should stand for in the minds of customers. Although, a myriad of different types of brand association are possible, brand meaning can broadly be distinguished in terms of functional, performance-related considerations versus abstract, imagery-related considerations. Thus, brand meaning is made up of two major categories of brand association’s that exist in customer’s minds-related to performance and imagery-with a set of specific subcategories within each. These brand association can be formed directly-from a customer’s own experiences and contact with the brand-or indirectly-through the depiction of the brand in advertising or by Brand Resonance Consumer Judgments Consumer Feelings Brand Performance Brand Imagery Brand Salience Brand Identity Brand Meaning Brand Responses Brand Responsibility 29 some other source of information (Keller, 2001). Therefore, the brand image is created by marketing programs that link strong, favorable. And unique associations to the brand in the customer’s memory. These associations are not only controlled by the marketing program, but also through direct experience, brand information, word of mouth or with the brand’s identification with a certain company, country, distribution channel, person, place or event (Kotler, 2006)
Brand responses: Brand responses refer to how customer’s responded to the brand, its marketing activity, and other source of information, that is, what customers think or feel about the brand. Brand responses can be distinguished according to brand judgments and brand feelings, that is, in terms of whether they arise more from the ’head’ or from the ’heart’ (Keller, 2001).
Brand judgments focus upon customers’ personal opinions and evaluations with regard to the brand. Brand judgments involve how customers put together all the different performance and imagery associations for the brand to form different kinds of opinions. Brand feelings are customers’ emotional responses and reaction with respect to the brand. Brand judgment and feelings can favorably impact consumer behavior only if consumers internalize or think of positive responses in their encounters with the brand (Keller, 2001).
Brand relationship: The final step of the model, brand relationships, focuses upon the ultimate relationship and level of identification that the customers has with the brand. Attracting new customers requires more than building trust. Companies must create brand passion, and "business as usual" just won't do (William J. McEwen, 2004). Brand resonance refers to the nature of the relationship that customers have with the brand and the extent to which they feel that they are ’in synch” with the brand. Brand resonance is characterized in terms of intensity or the depth of the psychological bond that customers have with the brand as well as the level of activity prompted by this loyalty (Keller, 2001). Brand relationships can usually be characterized in terms of two dimensions-intensity and activity. Intensity refers to the strength of the attitudinal attachment and sense of community. Activity refers to how frequently the consumer buys and uses the brand, as well engages in other activities not related to purchase and consumption (Keller, 2001). Brand salience relates to the awareness of the brand. Brand performance refers to the satisfaction of customers’ functional needs. Brand imagery arises from the satisfaction of the customers’ psychological needs. Brand judgment focuses on customers’ opinion based on performance and imagery. Brand emotions are created by the customers’ emotional responses and reactions to a brand. Brand resonance, finally, is based on the relationship and level of identification of the customer with a brand (Kotler, 2006) 30 2.10 The strategic branding process: According to Kevin Lane Keller (2003,p.44) the strategic brand management process consist of four steps: Identify and establish brand positioning values, plan and implement brand marketing programs, measure and interpret brand performance, grow and sustain brand equity. We believe this process to hold true for any brand, regardless of the type of product. As was argued earlier, brands are meant to differentiate themselves from the competitors’ brands both functionally and emotionally, and the first step in the brand management process is naturally to identify sources for differentiation and determine how the brand should be positioned in the market. The next step of the process involves planning and implementing brand marketing programs (Keller, 2003). This involves choosing the brand elements which should facilitate the creation of strong favorable associations for the brand (Name, logo, symbols, packaging). It further involves decisions regarding marketing activities and weather secondary brand associations should be leveraged by linking the brand to another entity-e.g. a country (Keller, 2003). In order to understand the effects of the brand marketing programs which have been executed, it is important to measure and interpret brand performance. This is the next in the strategic brand management process (Keller, 2003). The last step in the process emphasizes the fact that strategic brand management is a continuous process. Changes in consumer preferences, cross-border activities, the development of new products requires that the company understand and adapt to them in order to take advantage of new opportunities and grow brand equity (Keller, 2003). In order to identify and establish brand positioning values it is necessary to carry out a strategic brand analysis as it has been termed by Aaker, 1996. Before turning to the strategic brand analysis i find it necessary to explain the relationship between image, identity and culture, which are central concepts in branding and corporate communication (Keller, 2003).