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Building Your Brand

Building Your Brand

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Published by Rony Abilius

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Published by: Rony Abilius on Oct 16, 2010
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Building Your Brand
Overview
Branding is more than just a business buzzword. It has become the crux of selling in the new economy. If the old marketing
mantra was," Nothing happens until somebody sells something," the new philosophy could be" Nothing happens until
somebody brands something."
In its simplest form, a brand is a noun. It is the name attached to a product or service. However, upon close inspection, a
brand represents many more intangible aspects of a product or service: a collection of fee lings and perceptions about
quality, image, lifestyle and status. It creates in the mind of customers and prospects the perception that there is no produ ct
or service on the market that is quite like yours. In short, a brand offers the customer a guarantee and then delivers on it.
You might infer, then, that if you build a powerful brand, you will in turn be able to create a powerful marketing program.
However, if you can't convince customers that your product is worthy of purchasing, no amount of advertisi ng dollars, fancy
packaging or public relations will help you achieve your sales goals. Therefore, successful branding programs begin with
superior products and services, backed by excellent customer service that permeates an entire organization.
Outline:
I.
The Importance of Branding
II.
When Should You Brand?
III.
Types of Brands
IV .
What Goes Into a Brand?
V .
What's in a Name?
V I.
Brand Positioning
V II.
Building Brand Personality
V III.
Strengthening Your Core Brand
IX .
Creating an Online Identity
X .
Resources
I. The Importance of Branding
One of the truths of modern business is that there is a lmost nothing that your competitors can't duplicate in a matter of
weeks or months. If you have a great idea, you can be certain that somebody will copy it before long. And not only will they
follow your lead, but they may also be able to do a better job o r sell the product or service at a lower price. The question
then becomes, "What competitive edge do I have to offer that cannot be copied by anyone else?"
The answer? Your brand.
Creating a strong brand identity will build mind share ² one of the strongest competitive advantages imaginable. As a
result, customers will think of your business first when they think of your product category. For example, when you think of
tissues, more likely than not, you think of the Kleenex brand. And when you're looking for tape to wrap a present, Scotch is
the brand that springs to mind. Likewise, when your child wants a hamburger, he will often say he wants to go to
McDonald's. The reason behind these strong brand-product associations is that these companies have built rock solid brand
identities.
"A brand is the one thing that you can own that nobody can take away from you," says Howard Kosgrove, vice principal of
marketing at Lindsay, Stone and Briggs Advertising in Madison,Wis. "Everything else, they can steal. They can steal your
trade secrets. Eventually, your patents will expire. Your physical plant will wear out. Technology will change. But your brand
can go on and live. It creates a lasting value above and beyond all the other elements of your business."
That value is often called brand equity, or the worth of the brand. Brand equity, unlike other abstract marketing notions, can
be quantified. For instance, if you owned the Marlboro Company and wanted to sell it, you would begin to value the firm by
looking at the assets tied to the Marlboro brand. You would then identify the cost of the factories, patents, trucks, machines
and staff." They are worth a small fraction of what you can sell that brand for," says Kosgrove. "The value of that brand is
huge compared to those actual physical assets."
The importance and value of branding becomes apparent when an entrepreneur wants to sell his or her company or take it
toWall Street for a public offering or other infusion of capital. It is often the brand that a business ow ner has to sell in such
cases.
Back to Outline
II.When Should You Brand?
Because of the competitive nature of business today, nearly all industries can benefit from a branded product. All of the
traditionally brand-conscious industries, including fashion, restaurants and consumer goods, are being forced to continue to
brand heavily ² perhaps even more strategically than they ever have in the past. Financial services, which were one of the
last frontiers, are even beginning to see the importance of branding by tagging banking packages and even mutual funds
with catchy names. Even industrial markets, where cost is usually more of a loyalty building factor, h as seen brand names
creep in. For example, Tyvek, a DuPont fiber, improbably one of the best known industrial branded products.
Other industries in which branding is a must include:
y
Fast food
y
High-tech
y
Beverages
y
Packaged Goods
y
Petroleum
y
Entertainment
y
Retail
y
Auto
y
Pharmaceutical
Back to Outline
III. Types of Brands
A brand cannot be all things to all people. By definition, no one brand is going to appeal to all customers. On the contrary,
branding is based on the concept of singularity ² targeting individuals in a personal manner² and therefore precludes the
concept of universal appeal. This is why many brands broaden and widen their appeal by creating tertiary brands or line
extenders.
Although most industries and products or services can benefit from a brand, not every product needs its own stand -alone
brand. Brands can be separated into three categories: primary, secondary and tertiary.
y
Primary Brands - This is a company's core brand or umbrella brand. Primary brands typically garner a large
percentage of a company's revenue potential and therefore need to be given priority and have a sufficient amount
of advertising in order to root them firmly.
y
Secondary Brands - These are often line extenders, or "flankers," for a core brand. Secondary brands don't need
to have their own name; usually a modifier to the brand name will suffice and strengthen the core brand. Take, for
instance, a toothbrush called the Crest Deep Sweep. Crest is the core brand, and Deep Sweep is the secondary
brand. Line extenders are characterized by having a descriptive term that allows the base brand to be the true
selling proposition and the flanker to really designate to the audience what that particular product's key feature or
benefits are.
y
Tertiary brands - These brands typically have insignificant revenue potentials or expectations, but they contribute
to the company's overall image in some way. Therefore, they sometimes don't sport registered brand names, but
just descriptors. For example, a garbage bag manufacturer may make a generic -brand bag in addition to its
flagship brand. The generic line may bring in minimal revenue for the company, but it fills a need within a niche
market so the company continues to manufacture it under the unregistered name Household Trash Bags.
Therefore, the generic line is considered a tertiary brand for this company.
Back to Outline
IV.What Goes Into a Brand?
If your product or service is new or unique, thetas of branding is made easier. Since there are no pre -existing biases toward
the product or service, it will be easy to manipulate customer attitudes.
More often, your product or service will have been in existence for a while and have direct competition. And if it doesn't, i t
probably soon will. Therefore, products that may be roughly equivalent in terms of their features need to have a brand
identity that will impact consumer choice.
Brand identity is comprised of:
y
Pricing - a component of value; higher prices may signify to consumers higher quality, and lower prices may
suggest decreased value.
y
Distribution - availability; limited distribution of a product or service may imply exclusivity to discerning consumers.
y
Quality - which impacts satisfaction; obviously, higher quality will translate to more satisfied customers who come
back again and again to purchase your offerings.
y
Presence - prominence in the paid and unpaid media; products or services with a high-profile market presence will
lead to brand recognition and increased sales.
y
Awareness - top-of-mind awareness, residual awareness and recognition, which are directly related to presence;
the higher your offering's awareness, the better your sales results will be.
y
Reputation - enduring public opinion of brand character, which is built over time and difficult to change once
established.
y
Image - perceptions of brand traits or prototypical buyers; often represented by qualities the consumer relates to.
Like reputation, image is difficult to change once established.
y
Benefits - consumers may equate certain positive and negative consequences with use of your product or service;
these may be warranted or unwarranted.
y
Positioning salience - differentiation from the competition, which is established by a combination of all elements of
the brand.
y
Preference - a predisposition to buy displayed by consumers who are establishing brand loyalty.
y
Share of market - increased market share is a direct result of a successful branding campaign.
y
Customer commitment - loyalty is built through long-term branding and close consumer contact.
Back to Outline
V.What's in a Name?

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