Brand changes are related to the expertise of management, the firm’s strategic goals and market targeting activities, the branding activities of other firms, the sophistication of consumers, the level of involvement in the product category, the stage of the product life cycle and the development of branding in the relevant product category.
The Star online’s article comes up with 6 Stages of branding:
1. Unbranded goods
Producers make little effort to distinguish/brand their goods, with the result that the consumer’s perception of goods is utilitarian. Most resort to pricing strategy as a means of competitive advantage, which leads to thinner margins.
2. Brand as reference
Competitive pressures stimulate producers to differentiate their goods from other manufacturers. This is achieved primarily through changes in physical product attributes
3. Brand as a personality
As most manufacturers make the same claims, comparing the functional attributes of a certain product becomes very difficult. Therefore, marketers begin to give their brands personalities.
4. Brand as icon
In this stage, the brand is “owned by consumers”. They have extensive knowledge about the brand – frequently worldwide – and use it to create their self-identity.
5. Brand as a company
This stage marks the change to post-modern marketing. Here, the brand has a complex identity and there are many points of contact between the consumer and the brand.
6. Brand as policy
Few companies to date have entered this stage, which is distinguished by an alignment of the company with ethical, social and even political causes.