Brand Management

Are you a brand person? Do you like brands or promote them via social media or word of mouth? Everything around us, from pin to piano or pen to pencil, is a brand! Ever wondered what makes them special or so powerful? Let’s dig into some facts and factors and see why some brands are just brands while others have carved a niche of success. Towards the end, you shall be well versed with the knowledge about creating a powerful brand loved by classes and the masses too!

Introduction

Ever wondered what makes Coke, Apple, Google or even Rolls-Royce a powerful brand? Or Indian Conglomerates Reliance, Adani or Tata? Apart from being in existence for decades and having a strong presence in the market, marketing gurus apply their knowledge of their overseas MBA degrees. All brands have something common in their offering: commitment, dedication, transparency, meeting & succeeding expectations and ultimate customer satisfaction for their brands. Let’s walk you through some steps to creating your brand, not only a powerful company but also loved by people.

1. Market research: – Any company’s existence depends on knowing about its customer’s needs, trends, competitors and target audience. A strong market analysis is key to determining all this information for any brand to commence its operations. Market research can be an individual task or given to a group of professionals serving a marketing research firm. Market penetration and finding an edge to stay competitive with other brands and consistency is essential to gain popularity and flourish an empire. The global coffee brand Starbucks does immense market research before commencing its operations in any country to not only know the place of operation well and consumer demands but also likes to cater to the likes of the local community.

2. Determination of brand personality, values & voice: – Brands, like humans, have a personality trait that, when assigned, gives a brand a strong identity, voice, behaviour and experiences. Lacking these, a company is likely to dive into a downward spiral which was the case in the mid-’90s. Apple is termed “innovative”, seen from the wide range of their products, from their Mac computers to Macbooks to the more indigenous iPhones and iPads. Consumers get attracted by all these factors and prefer to buy an Apple as compared with other competitors and have a monopoly which no one else can duplicate, the iOs or MacOS the OS or operating system for running these systems.

3. Crafting a positioning statement: – A positioning statement lets the consumers know about their physical and virtual presence in the market. Some elements that describe and define this better are – What is your market? What are your offerings and differentiators? What notions come to people’s minds on learning about your brand? What are the brand’s USP and competitors of the brand? Hence, crafting a position statement is like carving an intricate piece of art which companies do so that it remains etched in the minds of their customers. To cite, the global software giant, Microsoft, since its first inception in the early ’70s till the present, has undergone seven changes, with every change more or less the same with some inspiring and capturing taglines. Still, the existing four-colour tile logo in red, green, yellow and blue clockwise denotes “Empowering us all”.

4. Establishing brand identity, portfolio, architecture and trademarks:- Visual aspects of any brand are its identity. Logos, taglines and even the brand name are cues that reinforce a particular image in the mind of the consumer, which needs to be consistent. It should be consistent across social and marketing materials. It helps to empower a strong brand image and presence and maintains deeper and more meaningful relationships with clients. For example, the 3-star logo of the German automobile maker Mercedes-Benz has remained the same since 1907, with minor changes. The logo represents the company’s drive for universal motorization; three stars depict the universal elements of land, sea & air, which they think would dominate the Mercedes-Benz engines someday.

Certain firms may have more than one brand, and the role of individual brands must be defined distinctively in how it provides value to the whole portfolio.

Then comes brand architecture, how brands are organized and offering that would cater to consumers. This can be branded house of house brands approach, also known as the monolithic and freestanding approach. Each approach has pros and cons, depending upon the industry and context. To understand this concept, Alphabet is the parent holding company under which Google falls, an example of a “house of brands”. Conversely, companies such as HP, Intel & GE are branded houses. Their various product lines and business are all extensions of the master brand.

Lastly trademarks, it’s the legal protection that the brand needs so that others do not infringe or duplicate.

5. Implementing design standards:- Elements related to design are immensely crucial in branding. The logo, colour, fonts and even the tagline are very important when selecting and setting a design standard. A good tool should have a style and content guide. Style guides ensure that the quality standards are consistent and uniform across all various materials. On the other hand, the content guide ensures that the written content has similar standards, from terminology to the tone of the content. For instance, the Starbucks logo has changed four times since its inception in 1971. The present logo since 2011, which is a crowned mermaid lady called “Siren”, is majorly in 2 colour schemes, green and white in a circle with the word “Starbucks Coffee” mentioned in both upper and lower arcs, which comprises the style guide. The tagline, It’s not just coffee. It’s Starbucks. This is an example of the content guide.

6. Delivering brand promise:- This is how the company connects with its people emotionally, outlining the benefits and the sole reason for its existence and delivering upon the expectations. Apple’s brand promise is “think different”, which incorporates the core approach of all its products and services.

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