Top Brand Extensions

Brand extension is a marketing strategy in which a firm that markets a product with a well-developed image uses the same brand name but in a different product category. Brands use this as a strategy to increase and leverage equity.

Product extensions, on the other hand, are versions of the same parent product that serve a segment of the target market and increase the variety of an offering. An example of a product extension is Coke vs. Diet Coke

A successful brand helps a company enter new product categories more easily.
Continue reading

Five Management Traits For Global Brands

Via Brandchannel & Interbrand, an interesting list of five management traits that are employed by leading global brands.

Seek out insights:

Outstanding brands identify customer insights. When these insights are shared across cultures they assist in a brand’s adoption globally.

Integrate local intelligence:

Brand guidelines are tremendous tools for ensuring consistency. However, they have been known to impede innovation and diminish relevance. Brands are dynamic, never static, so the management of them must integrate new thought. In the case of global brands, to assume that one message can appeal uniformly to all audiences with equal relevance is unrealistic. Well-managed global brands cull local markets for intelligence related to the ‘next big thing’ to ensure local relevance and to counter competitor’s moves.
Continue reading

Dollar Value of Brand Equity

Brand equity is that incremental value that accrues to a product when it is branded. Simple brand awareness is one source of brand equity. If you can get your name to pop up in people’s minds when they think of the product category, you’ve won a big part of the battle.

[There are] two other sources of brand equity: a consumer’s perception that a brand is better than it really is (“attribute-based” equity), and nonattribute-based equity, for instance, a consumer’s preference for a brand based on the cachet of owning it. If you’re successful in these three aspects, an added benefit is that stores will feel a customer pull to carry your product, and so your availability and hence sales will increase.

Simple awareness ”getting the brand’s name to pop up in consumers’ minds”generates the largest return, followed by consumers’ responding to the cachet of owning the brand (nonattribute-based equity). Attribute-based equity trails in third place. This means that a brand’s image provides a stronger incentive for buying even than the perception that it is a better product. But greater awareness of your brand is the major component driving brand equity.

These are some extracts out of an interesting study with the title Calculating the Dollar Value of Brand Equity made by V.Seenu Srinivasan Professor of Management at Stanford Graduate School of Business along with Chan Su Park of Korea University Business School and Dae Ryun Chang Yonsei Business School. Read more about the study here.

New Global Brand Valuation Study

Despite its dominance, Interbrand/BusinessWeek global brand league table has inherent weaknesses. This is not news to anyone who works in branding: most marketers accept that the Top 100 is an imprecise but important approximation of global brand equity.

But all this is about to change. Next month global agency group WPP will launch an alternative brand valuation league table that will directly challenge Interbrand’s calculations. The system has been masterminded by chief research officer Andy Farr and his marketing quant jocks at Millward Brown Optimor (MBO).

Here are some insights into this soon to be revealed WPP study:

  • WPP’s annual Brandz survey questions more than 650,000 consumers and professionals in 31 countries.
  • The results are analysed to create a combined diagnostic and predictive tool that evaluates the strength and growth potential of brands.
  • Respondents are asked to compare more than 21,000 brands in 300 categories from sectors including long purchase-cycle brands, FMCG, retail and e-commerce and services.
  • Each respondent is asked to evaluate brands in a competitive context from a category they shop in.
  • Their responses generate scores for levels of bonding with a brand, its advantage over rival brands, brand performance and relevance to consumer needs.
  • Consumer loyalty and claimed purchasing data are used to generate a ‘brand voltage’ score, indicating the brand’s potential.

More here

Corporate Branding vs. 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.

On the other side corporate branding refers to the practice of using a company’s name as a product brand name. It is an attempt to leverage corporate brand equity to create product brand recognition. It is a type of family branding or umbrella brand.

Martin Roll, author of Asian Brand Strategy : How Asia Builds Strong Brands has an interesting view on 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 stakeholder relations (shareholders, media, competitors, governments and many others) can help the 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.

Among the advantages of a corporate branding strategy we can count:

  1. the corporate brand is the face of the business strategy, portraying what the corporation aims at doing and what it wants to be known for in the market place, is the overall umbrella for the corporations’ activities and encapsulates its vision, values, personality, positioning and image among many other dimensions.
  2. corporate branding strategy creates simplicity; it stands on top of the brand portfolio as the ultimate identifier of the corporation.
  3. a coporate branding strategy can drive some cost efficiencies that can often be achieved as opposed to a large multi-brand architecture where the corporate brand plays a smaller or insignificant role.

On the other side among main disadvantages of this strategy is that products may not be treated individually, which reduces the focus on the products’ unique characteristics or that the corporate name can become synonymous with a product category

Three different strategies can be approached for corporate branding:

Branded identity is when a company uses different brands for their products that function independent from each other and the company’s brand. The strength of this strategy is the flexibility. The company can build different brands in different marked segments and for different products. If a brand is involved in a scandal it will only damage that brand, and will not hurt the other brands of the company.

Endorsed brand identity is when an organisation has a group of products or companies that it endorses with a group name and a common identity. The strength of this approach lies in the relationship of the products/companies, they can benefit from the goodwill given to others with the same common identity.

Monolithic brand identity is when a company uses only one name and one visual style for all it products. The strength is the simplicity and the potential for growth. The weakness is that one happening; one scandal can cause severe damage even to big strong brands.

When CEOs Are Part of the Brand

Branson, Gates, Jobs and the examples of CEOs that are part of their corporate brand equity can go on and on. Business Times has an insight on this:

A study by global communications company Burson Marsteller showed that the CEO’s reputation is responsible for approximately 50 per cent of a company’s reputation, which translates into achieving key business objectives and increasing sales.Like it or not, CEOs are part of a company’s brand equity. In other words, the leaders inevitably reflect on the company.

Today, consumers expect a consistency between a company’s brand message and the behaviour and image of its key executives. Brand validity can only be fully achieved if the CEO embodies the brand and its values to meet the new challenges of an increasingly critical and demanding marketplace.

The CEO is often said to be the brand leader or guardian of the company’s brand. Consequently, all CEOs need to clearly understand the value and importance of the powerful, clearly defined corporate and personal brands. They need to ensure that there should be a clear brand strategy in place and that all stakeholders in the organisation understand and embrace it to deliver the brand promise.

5 Branding Misconceptions

The mass-market, advertising-agency model still influential in brand management, is fast becoming obsolete. Brands are changing in many ways and the traditional role of brand as a proxy for quality has diminished. Branding remains crucially important, yet it increasingly finds its power through a tighter integration with business design. Overcoming five widespread misconceptions and myths about branding can help organisation to win in the brand-building game.

1. Brands are built mainly through advertising.

In today’s increasingly service-oriented economy,something has replaced advertising as the key to brand building: the customer experience. This represents the sum of a customer’s numerous interactions with a company, each of which is a moment of truth that can, to varying degrees, enhance or erode the brand. And a positive customer experience, so crucial to the health of brands in service industries, also plays an increasingly important role in product businesses. The purchase of a product, which used to be the final interaction between company and customer, now is often only the beginning of an ongoing relationship that includes after-market service or the creation of customer “solutions” that incorporate but overshadow the physical product.

2. Brands are used primarily to influence customers.

Although most brand strategies are developed, quite naturally, with the customer front and center, they will fail to generate sustained growth in profitability and shareholder value unless they target not only customers but also investors and current and prospective employees.

Besides the three primary stakeholders—customers,investors,and talent – there is a fourth constituency that,although it plays no direct role in driving profitability or value growth, is crucial to a company’s health. This is the group of regulators, media, and public interest organizations that can affect a company’s real or de facto license to operate.A company that ignores this audience in positioning its brand risks a hostile response when it seeks their support.

3. The key to successful brand management involves understanding the effectiveness of the brand in today’s marketplace

While achieving such an understanding is a worthwhile aim, on its own it risks creating a dangerously complacent view of a brand’s health. More important is being able to anticipate a brand’s relevance to the most valuable customers of tomorrow. One way to look over the horizon and glimpse future brand pitfalls and opportunities is through the discipline of pattern recognition. Analyzing a library of brand patterns that have played out in the past can suggest how and when a brand should evolve.

4. Brands are symbolic and emotive and therefore are managed primarily through creativity rather than analysis.

While brands appeal to the heart as well as to the head, they can be quantified and analyzed with much the same economic rigor as other business assets. One means of doing this involves a detailed assessment of something we call brand equity.

5. Brands are the responsibility of the marketing department

Because brands derive their power from the value that they symbolically represent, there must be real value in the branded products or services.Otherwise,a brand will simply create false promises — a surefire way to erode its strength. It has long been true that a product must deliver on the brand promise. But in an increasingly service-intensive economy, employees, not just the product, determine a company’s success in delivering on the brand promise. Giving employees the tools and leeway to satisfy the customer across the entire customer experience can tremendously protect or enhance a brand’s strength. Delivering on the brand’s promises requires the involvement of virtually every employee in all areas of the organization, even those who have no direct customer