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Self Branding Strategy

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					                                                                   Branding Strategy
I.   Branding Basics
     A.     Quick recap. In the Web Notes on products, you were introduced to the concept
            of a brand and some of its components such as the brand name (part that can be
            spoken) and the brand mark (symbols and graphics that cannot be spoken). In
            those Web Notes, you were also briefly introduced to the concept of branding.
            Branding is a process that develops the image and meanings that are represented
            by the words and symbols in a brand.
     B.     These Web Notes expand on the concept of branding, which has become
            extremely important in marketing. That’s because marketers recognize the value
            of brands as efficient means to quickly and succinctly communicate information
            about products to customers. Thus, successful branding helps customers and
            businesses alike.
            1.      What branding does for business. In short, what businesses get out of
                    successful branding is marketplace power.
                    a.      Research has shown consistently that leading brands in product
                            categories are more profitable. Because established and well-
                            understood brands create such effective communication tools for
                            businesses, they can frequently charge more for their products and
                            spend less marketing them.
                    b.      The marketplace power created by brand leadership tends to last
                            awhile. One study found that leading brands hold onto their
                            leadership over time. One study found that almost 80% of the
                            consumer brands that were number one in their product category
                            fifty years ago remained so at the time of the study.
            2.      What branding does for customers. Successful brands produce lasting
                    profitability because customers rely on them so heavily. A good brand
                    makes a promise to customers about what they can expect when they buy.
                    In a crowded marketplace, the reliable promises made by brands create
                    value for customers that they’re willing to pay for. Specifically, branding
                    helps customers in at least two critically important ways.
                    a.      identification. Brands identify products and their attributes, which
                            makes shopping easier and less risky. Because brands help
                            customers know with some degree of confidence what they’re
                            getting when they buy, the likelihood of an unsuccessful purchase
                            decision is greatly diminished.
                    b.      differentiation. Brands also help customers distinguish between
                            competitive market offerings. Brands not only communicate
                            characteristics of a particular product, they also help provide a
                            means by which customers can quickly compare market offerings
                            to each other. This increases the efficiency with which customers
                            can shop and the likelihood of satisfactory purchases.

II.   Outcomes of Effective Branding
      A.    Brand Position.
            1.     definition of brand position. Most authors define brand position as the
                   “perception that a target market has of a brand relative to its competitors.”
                   This definition raises two points.
                   a.      Positioning is perceptual. In other words, positioning is not
                           factual; instead it pertains to influencing customer perceptions of
                           your product.
                   b.      Companies cannot position brands in isolation; they must be
                           positioned relative to one or more competitors. By nature, human
                           beings learn by making comparisons. When we learn new
                           information, one way we remember and use that information is by
                           mentally comparing it to existing information. Therefore, it’s only
                           natural for people to develop perceptions of one brand that are
                           relative to other brands. When we say what our brand is, whether
                           we like it or not, we also imply what our competitor is not. When
                           we say what our brand is not, we imply what our competitor is.
            2.     how brand positioning works in memory. Brand positioning works
                   because people organize their memories into groups of related concepts
                   that psychologists call “memory schema.” Memory schema help people
                   group and therefore compare different concepts, including brands.
                   a.      Marketers can influence the structure of memory schema by
                           suggesting to people how they organize the parts of their memories
                           related to a particular brand. By suggesting qualities and
                           characteristics of their brands, marketers ask people to make
                           inferences about competitive brands.
                   b.      Here are some examples:
                           (1)     When Coca Cola says, “Always Coca Cola,” they insinuate
                                   the sort of timeless and iconic nature of the Coke brand
                                   while also suggesting that Coke is always the refreshing
                                   soft drink choice. By implication, the word they hope we
                                   associate with Pepsi (and other competitive brands) is
                                   “never” or at least only “sometimes.” These brands lack
                                   Coke’s timeless quality and are actual “Johnny come
                           (2)     When the Marines say they’re “The few, the proud,” they
                                   position themselves as an elite and selective branch of the
                                   armed forces. The implication is that other services are not
                                   as selective, that other services are not as elite.”
            3.     Not all brands are successfully positioned. In fact, many lack clear
                   marketplace positions that distinguish them easily and quickly from rival
                   brands. Many of these brands are quite profitable and enjoy strong
                   followings. However, the clear image that successfully positioned brands
           enjoy earns them greater and more sustained profitability than poorly
           positioned brands.
B.   Brand Equity
     1.    brand equity defined. Brand equity refers to the extra value that brands on
           products provide to consumers beyond the benefits that the product
           normally provide. For example, an individual may purchase a watch in
           order to have the time of day readily available, and perhaps to have
           something stylish on his or her wrist. Brand equity could come when the
           person selected a watch brand. How much more the person was willing to
           pay for a particular brand of watch over an otherwise similar competitive
           brand represents the value or equity of the purchased brand.
     2.     Marketers hoping to establish equity in their brands should look to five
           components or factors that contribute to it.
           a.      performance. Some brands are perceived to simply perform better
                   than others (often for the obvious reason that they do).
                   (1)     Often, the performance differences between brands are
                           merely perceptual. For example, one brand of wall paint
                           may be perceived as being more aesthetically pleasing than
                           another, which is strictly a subjective evaluation of
                   (2)     For other brands, performance differences may be
                           objectively assessed. Many high priced brands of
                           automobiles last longer, require fewer repairs, handle
                           better, are more comfortable, and protect their occupants
                           better than lower priced brands. The equity in the high
                           priced brand is not strictly perceptual.
           b.      trustworthiness. Brands make promises. Brands that keep these
                   promises over time become trusted and therefore valued. Even
                   when performance differences between brands are perceptual or
                   difficult to quantify, consumers that find performance consistency
                   with their selected brands develop trust in them, which they
                   become willing to pay for.
           c.      social image. For an individual consumer, brands that are well
                   regarded by other consumers gain value. This component of brand
                   equity is particularly true of highly visible products. When social
                   groups accept the value of a given brand and hold that brand in
                   high regard, the brand gains in value. Frequently adding to the
                   value of brands with strong social image are highly visible labels
                   or logos, or extremely distinctive designs. These distinguishing
                   factors amplify the social image value of the brand merely by
                   making it easy for the purchaser to let others know he or she has
                   purchased well.
           d.      identification. In the context of brand equity, identification refers
                   to the degree to which a brand’s image is consistent with the self
                   image of its buyer.
                             (1)     In many product categories, identification does little for
                                     brand equity because people may not associate brands with
                                     self. For example, commodity products such as gasoline,
                                     salt, even canned vegetables probably connect little with
                                     consumer self image.
                             (2)     Marketers frequently attempt to build such connections
                                     even with products that one would not normally associate
                                     with self-image. Consider the “Choosy moms choose Jif”
                                     slogan for Jif peanut butter. Even for a product category as
                                     mundane and inexpensive as peanut butter, marketers try to
                                     position the product in such a way as to capitalize on the
                                     self image many mothers have as being exceptionally picky
                                     and protective of their children.
                    e.       substitutability. A brand whose attributes are perceived as unique
                             is more valuable. To the extent that the brand is easily replaced by
                             a competitor diminishes its value. For example, a parent who
                             perceives that Peter Pan and Jif peanut betters are basically
                             interchangeable will seek the lowest priced brand. Neither has
                             equity relative to the other. However, a parent who would pay
                             more for either brand over a store brand confers equity on both
       C.     Brand Loyalty.
              1.     definition of brand loyalty. When asked, most people would define brand
                    loyalty as the purchase of the same brand on repeated occasions. This is a
                    somewhat limited view. Think of what the term “loyalty” means. To be
                    loyal means more than to associate with; it means to feel a commitment to
                    something. The same is true for brands. Therefore, we define being brand
                    loyal as making a “cognitive commitment” to buying the same brand on
                    repeated occasions.
              2.     The value of brand loyalty lies in its ability to hold off competitors. Truly
                    loyal customers don’t want to switch brands; they may even view
                    competitive brands with suspicion or disdain. Marketers should treat
                    brand loyal customers like gold. That’s what they are. Truly loyal
                    customers represent a reasonably reliable income stream over time.
                    Marketers should make great efforts to assure loyal customers that their
                    loyalty is recognized and appreciated and to find ways of thanking them
                    for their loyalty.

III.   Branding Policies
       The term “branding policy” refers to the basic approach a company takes to branding
       products or lines of products. The various branding policies described below are not
       either-or in nature. They can be used in combination with each other and modified to suit
       circumstance. However, they offer a starting point for marketers to consider how to best
       capitalize on the value and position of its brands.
       A.      Individual branding.
     1.     A policy of individual branding means that each product in a given
            product line gets its own distinct name. For example, P&G markets nine
            different brands of detergents, all with their own individual names.
     2.     Individual branding allows marketers to develop distinct positions among
            brands, especially when those brands are in the same category. This
            permits companies to develop expertise and gain experience in a given
            product category while creating a line of similar products that appeal to a
            broad range of customers.
     3.     Individual branding does not permit a company to fully capitalize on the
            equity or reputation gained by one of its brands. By giving individual
            names to all brands, the equity or reputation of one brand cannot be given
            to a different product by allowing it to use an existing brand name.
B.   Brand extensions.
     1.     A policy of creating brand extensions means that new varieties or
            enhancements of a product are marketed. Extensions of a brand occur in
            the same product category as the original. For example, Tylenol
            manufacturers many different products under the Tylenol name, all of
            which contain the pain reliever acetaminophen, which is the basic
            ingredient in original Tylenol.
     2.     Brand extensions can be combined with individual branding policies. For
            example, while P&G may market many different brands of detergents,
            some of those brands have been extended. Tide detergent comes in
            several varieties from the original.
     3.     Brand extensions allow marketers to spread the value of an established
            brand in a category to other similar products. This works well for
            products that have relatively broad appeal to a wide variety of target
            markets. Tightly defined brand positions to not generally work well for
            brand extensions.
C.   Family Branding.
     1.     Family branding is a policy in which the same brand name is placed on
            many products in different product categories. For example, General
            Electric puts its brand on washers and dryers, CT scanners, locomotives,
            room air conditioners, and jet aircraft engines. They also offer home and
            business loans through GE Finance. A less disparate example of family
            branding is the Arm & Hammer company, which makes baking soda, air
            freshener, toothpaste, and laundry detergent, all carrying the Arm &
            Hammer name. While all of these products contain baking soda, these
            products cover a very broad array of product categories and are correctly
            considered a family brand. In contrast, although all Tylenol products
            contain the same pain reliever, they’re also all medicines and therefore not
            really a family brand.
     2.     Family branding allows a company to put a strong brand into many
            categories, but runs the risk of diluting its brand to the point that it really
            mans nothing distinctive anymore. Also, failure of one product line can
            damage the reputation of the brand’s original product.
D.   Co-Branding.
1.   A co-branding policy allows one branded product to feature another brand
     as a component part or ingredient. Intel forces this policy on computer
     makers by requiring all computers using its chips to place the “Intel
     Inside” seal on them.
2.   Co-branding uses one brand to convey quality assurances onto another
     brand. If either brand in a co-branding arrangement encounters problems
     that damage the name or reputation of the brand, both brands will suffer.

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