The marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products An effective brand strategy gives you a major edge in increasingly competitive markets. But what exactly does "branding" mean? Simply put, your brand is your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from that of your competitors. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be. The foundation of your brand is your logo. Your website, packaging and Promotional material--all of which should integrate your logo--communicate your brand. Your brand strategy is how, what, where, when and to whom you plan on communicating and delivering on your brand messages. Where you advertise is part of your brand strategy. Your distribution channels are also part of your brand strategy. And what you communicate visually and verbally is part of your brand strategy, too. Defining your brand is like a journey of business self-discovery. It can be difficult, timeconsuming and uncomfortable. It requires, at the very least, that you answer the questions below: 

What is your company's mission?  What are the benefits and features of your products or services?


What do your customers and prospects already think of your company?  What qualities do you want them to associate with your company? Do your research. Learn the needs, habits and desires of your current and prospective customers. And don't rely on what you think they think. Know what they think. Once you've defined your brand, how do you get the word out? Here are a few simple, time-tested tips:

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Get a great logo. Place it everywhere. Write down your brand messaging. What are the key messages you want to communicate about your brand? Every employee should be aware of your brand attributes.


Integrate your brand. Branding extends to every aspect of your business--how you answer your phones, what you or your salespeople wear on sales calls, your e-mail signature, everything.


Create a "voice" for your company that reflects your brand. This voice should be applied to all written communication and incorporated in the visual imagery of all materials, online and off. Is your brand friendly? Be conversational. Is it ritzy? Be more formal. You get the gist.


Develop a tagline. Write a memorable, meaningful and concise statement that captures the essence of your brand.


Design templates and create brand standards for your marketing materials. Use the same color scheme, logo placement, look and feel throughout. You don't need to be fancy, just consistent.

y Be consistent. A strong brand strategy can increase the awareness of a company and its offerings in such a way that establishes strong feelings and reactions and a favorable view towards the company as a whole. from senior executives to customer service. it takes skillful Brand Strategy know-how. The proposition must also be consistently reinforced throughout all phases of an organization. then. This tip involves all the above and is the most important tip on this list. 1. attractive and unique among competitive offerings.3 y Be true to your brand. The number of offers and sales pitches one receives on a daily basis is simply staggering and increasingly ineffective. your attempts at establishing a brand will fail. Successfully out-branding your competitors is a continuous battle for the hearts and minds of your customers. If you can't do this. . It¶s no wonder. Brand Strategy: Standing out amid a massive chorus of competitors is a challenge for any company in today¶s business climate. research and development. To create this sort of ³brand awareness´ in your market. TV show or surf the Internet. Customers won't return to you--or refer you to someone else--if you don't deliver on your brand promise. Want evidence? Look at any magazine. business development and even your business partners. why businesses are seeking new and more effective ways of increasing the influence of their brand strategy in the marketplace. The proposition your brand strategy makes must be very compelling.

whether it be with your products and services or the people in your company. 1. namely product development. In order to craft this ³brand experience´ in a calculated way that is beneficial for your company. Yet. you already have a brand. and different advertising strategies should be adopted at different stages to suit the marketing targets and market environment in order to achieve the best marketing results. The life cycle of each and every brand or product is different. Brand Strategy²what¶s the big deal? Brand Strategy is nothing new. plus it varies from industry to industry. every brand or product has its life cycle which spans from the time it is launched to the time it exits from the market. growth.4 What entails a comprehensive and effective ³Brand Strategy process?´ That¶s a much longer answer than what we have space for here. This cycle covers five stages. you must have a strong understanding about what exactly a brand is. . the expectations consumers have for a product or service they buy is stronger than it¶s ever been. targeted brand experience possible. and your customers are having a ³brand experience´ when they interact with you. but here are some very basic guidelines about what makes a good Brand Strategy. Whether you know it or not. introduction.1 Brand Life Cycle and Strategy: Generally speaking. maturity and decline. This is why companies interested in longterm success must create the most promising.

During this stage. However. The company will also improve its products in the light of market response and gradually build up its brand. production and research carried out by a company to ensure that its products can meet consumer needs through sufficient market survey.Brands or products in the maturity stage have a considerable market share .5 Product Development -.This is the stage of design. Growth -. features.The branded product begins to build up its following among consumers during this stage. Introduction -. the product is introduced into the market and publicity campaigns are launched to promote its functions. quality and usage and attract customers to try out or buy the product. the company must further step up its advertising efforts. Maturity -. and the advertising must highlight the characteristics and value of the product. The cumulative effect of marketing begins to show and the market share expands.

. However. Some brands or products may experience exponential growth in their life cycle. it has only started venturing into the mainland in recent years and is now at the stage of introduction or growth there. mainlanders who came into contact with the new technologies and new products of foreign countries for the first time found them amazing. weakening competitiveness and emergence of new products. Sa Sa adopts different strategies to achieve its targets at different stages. Sa Cosmetics is a case in point.Brand awareness is high but sales are on the decline. with growth beginning to slow down. Other characteristics of this stage include falling prices. The company is a household name in Hong Kong which has already reached the stage of maturity. its target is to increase its market share.6 and have reached their sales peak. In Hong Kong. it aims to draw the attention of consumers and increase its reputation. The same product or the same company may experience different life cycles in different markets. Decline -. When China began its reform and opening up in the early 1980s. On the mainland. Brand influence at this stage is at its height and the kinds of marketing strategies to be adopted are many. These products saw rapid growth and penetrated the mainland market within a short time. experiencing only the introduction and maturity stages in their life cycle.

.7 The following four branding strategies can serve as useful reference. There are several strengths and weaknesses of Brand strategies are given in this table.

They will expect every product with the same brand name to have the same level of quality that they are familiar with. If the public likes one product from this company. then the manufacturer is able to charge more for their product. . The company can increase sales by comparing one of their more popular products with a similar product by another company. The company can advertise several of its products under a single brand name in a practice referred to as family branding or umbrella branding. The product and the company name become the brand name. Corporate Branding: Corporate branding refers to a company applying its name to a product. then they may seek out the brand name when buying other products. a company can familiarize consumers with its products and may create brand loyalty. One of the disadvantages of corporate branding is that the company can become identified with only one type of product. Corporate branding is usually only successful if the company is well known and sells reputable products with a positive image. corporate branding represents a level of quality that they have come to expect from the company. To consumers.8 2. If profits are high. By using corporate branding with a successfully marketed product. showing sales figures to back up their promise. The value of the brand is determined by the profits the products have made.

That is why it is vitally important for any serious corporation that wishes its product offerings to be successful to create and protect a strong corporate brand. label branding. . companies need to follow a few guidelines. Powerful corporate branding can equip most any new product or service with instant credibility and value that simply can¶t be reproduced with any sort of product-focused marketing campaign. this is called store branding. this is called brand licensing. When a company sells the right to use their brand name to another company for use in another location or for non-competitive purposes. When large retailers buy goods in bulk and then put their own brand name on them. Today. The one sure-fire way of doing this is by having a corporate branding strategy.9 When applying corporate branding to a product or products. Co-branding is when two or more manufactures combine to sell their products. This has made for a difficult landscape to get a marketing message noticed. or all the products may be given different brand names in a practice called individual branding. There are a few extensions to corporate branding. it has become even more important to cut through this clutter. One brand name may be used for a number of products in family branding. And with the rising costs of getting a new product or service ready for the market. many markets are overpopulated with both large and small companies and overexposed with marketing messages. A corporate brand should be easy to recognize and attract attention. or private branding. It should also be legally protectable and suggest the company or product image.

Disney.10 How do you do that? Well. Successful corporate branding is all about establishing a long-term vision for a company and crafting the company¶s operations to meet that objective. But it¶s not as difficult as it sounds. but builds on its purported focus on individual people . Today. it involves that. first throw away the notion that branding only involves marketing. Samsung and Mercedes-Benz. It¶s also a public statement of the company¶s culture and values. For instance. CNN. and there's a lot of brand research and tracking to maintain. don¶t confuse corporate branding with corporate identity²two completely different things. Singapore Airlines. The kind of brand strength these companies enjoy takes a long time and a lot of work to establish. government and others.e. i. but a huge part of it also entails relations with investors. a company of virtually any size can use the same sophisticated branding research tools the big boys use. putting an image out there. one of the world¶s largest banks. It is merely a component of an overall brand strategy. Yes. has the tagline ³The World¶s Local Bank. these kind of ³high-level´ considerations require the equally ³high-level´ attention of such company officials as the CEO and senior management. Some companies that do this well include Microsoft. Intel. Corporate identity involves a company¶s logo and design strategy only. By the way. HSBC bank. Not surprisingly. media.´ which both represents the size of the bank. Why is it important to worry about these kinds of things? Because a strong corporate brand adds depth and value to a company¶s product offerings. competitors.

having a strong brand is more than half the battle. While offering many different products. visions and values throughout every level of the company¶s products and culture. But even that estimate is probably understated. With product development costs becoming ever higher and product life cycles shorter. This model isn¶t right for everyone. they should do it. a strong corporate brand can do the work of many expensive productmarketing campaigns. but if a company determines through research that this kind of consolidated brand strategy would work for them. In short.1 A Strong Corporate Brand: A strong corporate brand can also set the tone for further development of a company. P&G markets many different brands²a fact that P&G has built its corporate brand on by promoting a sincere commitment to and respect for individual purposes.11 2. Apple does this very well. Good corporate branding can also enhance budgetary efficiency. With creativity. . all of them are laden with cutting-edge design and innovation²hallmarks of Apple¶s overall branding strategy. Strength of a brand is a good indicator of the strength of a company and its financial value²many actually list their brands on their balance sheets. in this over-populated. Under it¶s corporate name. there¶s no good reason to try. If not. over-marketed business climate. such is the case with Proctor & Gamble (P&G). it¶s important for companies to recoup costs however they can without sacrificing quality or service.

Brand equity refers to the marketing effects or outcomes that accrue to a product with its brand name compared with those that would accrue if the same product did not have the brand name. The term Brand equity is used to describe both the value of the brand and the brand's component values. at the root of these marketing effects is consumers' knowledge.12 3. Elements that can be included in the valuation of brand equity include (but not limited to): changing market share. In other words. Brand equity is one of the factors which can increase the financial value of a brand to the brand owner. The study of brand equity is increasingly popular as some marketing researchers have concluded that brands are one of the most valuable assets that a company has. Good examples of companies with strong brand equity are corporations such as Nike and Coca-Cola. Brand Equity. although not the only one. Its value may be a monetary value (which may be discounted to a net present value). whose corporate logos are recognized worldwide. brand language associations made by consumers. Brand equity is created through aggressive mass marketing campaigns. an increase in a rate of return or any number of softer market research measures such as awareness or consideration. consumers' knowledge about a brand makes manufacturers/advertisers respond differently or adopt appropriately adept measures for the marketing of the brand. . consumer recognition of logos and other visual elements. profit margins. And. consumers' perceptions of quality and other relevant brand values. Brand equity and brand value.

Product/service durability Guarantees and warrantees Cutting edge technology changes to any aspect of the brand must reflect the changing market demands IDENTITY COMMUNICATION y y y y y y y y Strong & visible Memorable names Logos & colors Sponsorships Packaging etc. Shelf position & display Vehicle displays and branding Corporate uniforms y y PR & Advertising strategies Quality materials.13 3. sponsored press articles etc. letterheads & writing y y Internet presence News Releases. y Other verbal and non-verbal means used in communicating . y y y y y Tastes & levels of service Ingredients & raw materials used etc. Brand evolution over the years.1 Brand Building Matrix: EXPERIENCE QUALITY y y y y Customer perceptions Customer service Actions of sales & delivery people etc.

Even fewer link their Brand Equity to marketplace and financial performance indicators. plan and develop Brand Equity is the true path to building strong brands and a sustainable competitive advantage. both within the current business category and in new categories and businesses. Brand equity also shown in this figure as below. The vision reveals the opportunities for the brand. .14 Brand Equity Building creates competitive advantage y y y Few brands manage their equity consistently and at every consumer touch point. Developing a process to consistently measure. Brand Equity management creates business growth opportunities The process of defining a Brand Vision (the second phase of the Brand Equity Process) requires an in-depth consumer understanding. Brand Equity is a facet of the brand that is often misunderstood and under-used.

Category-specific Equities: y y A specific set of performance or expectations that contribute to the category¶s success. the benefit of say ³oral centered self confidence´ is also an important emotional benefit that the brand will need to deliver. emotional consumer benefit that the brand stands for (or intends to stand for) in the minds of consumers. These are essential functional benefits that a winning oral care brand will need to deliver. It is derived from the Hierarchy of Needs developed for each Consumer Domain. y Category specific equities are required qualifications that must be earned and maintained before the brand can own its Brand Promise. For example. In addition. in the oral care category. The brand seeks to stand for this Brand Promise to µown¶ this Equity.15 3. these could include cavity prevention and tooth whitening benefits. General Equities: Differentiation . differentiating.2 How do you develop Brand Equity? Brand Equity is based on three components: Brand Promise: Category-specific Equities General Equities Brand Promise The highest level.

leadership. Brand Evaluation: Companies. Because of this. Marketing strategists use these labels to their advantage by successfully aiding consumers to come up with characteristics or qualities associated to the product or service that they are promoting. need to perform brand evaluation from time to time in order to assess the effectiveness. designs. Given the importance of brand names in virtually all marketing campaigns.16 Relevance Appreciation (likeability. names or words that are easy to remember. Foremost. Brands are names. In addition. it should be possible to provide legal protection to a particular brand name so as to prevent competitors from capitalizing on them. easy to . trust. it is important for companies to handle the process of choosing and evaluating brand names carefully. These allow consumers to distinguish a product or service from all the others. especially those that largely depend on brand recognition and customer loyalty. brand names become the central element for all advertising efforts. terms or symbols that are considered as ownership labels. It should likewise be easy to associate products or services to brand names so company image will be reinforced through these labels. innovation) Knowledge Value Quality (product satisfaction 4.

Brand equity is commonly defined as an asset that is dependent on the mind associations of consumers. brand financial value and brand performance. Some of the more common metrics used in measuring a brand are brand perception. these performance measures are mainly sensitive to consumer perception and consumer attitude. With efficient brand management. this will help marketers decide what their future marketing strategy would be. The concept of brand management hinges on the use of marketing techniques that would optimize brand recognition. Brand equity can be measured financially by determining how much a customer is willing to pay for a particular product or service. strong brand equity leads to a more stable income stream and increased cash flow.17 pronounce and popular would make good brand names. A brand selection process typically involves numerous brand suggestions before a final brand name is decided. an increase in branch equity and branch franchise can be expected. Lastly. Metrics used for evaluation may differ from company to company but generally. It may also be measured through brand extension or the use of the same brand name for a product or service that can be classified in another category. These include activities designed to increase the perceived value of brand names to target customers. In turn. Brand evaluation is crucial in effective brand management. This process enables marketers to obtain a more accurate idea about how powerful a brand name is. . through brand extension and consumer-based attitudes. It can be measured through financial data. brand equity can be assessed based on the general attitude of consumers toward a particular brand name. As can be vouched by many companies.

This represents the strength and stability of the brand in relation to the market leaders. Some of the measuring factors include the price premium value a brand commands over its . Some of the most valuable brands like Coca Cola. Brand Perception: Branding starts with customer awareness followed by their association with the brand. on actual customer choice. Brand Performance: This gives a measure of how influential the brand is. A strong brand is a clear indicator of future profits and a driver in making brand extension decisions. a brand is a collection of perceptions in the mind of the consumer. McDonald and GM have withstood the tests of time. According to Hong Kong based brand strategist.1 Brand Evaluation Metrics: Some of the most common branding metrics include brand perception. brand performance and brand financial value. and have still retained their premier positions in the respective industries.18 4. Factors that connect customers to a particular brand include customer perception of the brand. celebrity endorsements influencing brand equity etc. Colin Bates. product attributes. Credibility of the brand also increases with durability. Brand management decisions should be made to develop these associations and thereby increase brand credibility and loyalty. change of ownership and competition.

This in turn. market share and the rate at which a brand sustains growth. Hence a number of branding models which involve accepted accounting practices are used to compute the true financial value of a brand Thus. Regular . This determines how satisfied and loyal customers are towards the brand. Once a brand's performance is known. in a world of ever changing and numerous brands to choose from. All these information can be obtained through surveys and other marketing campaigns. A highly performing brand retains its existing customers while trying to attract new customers. It also entails the return on investment in brand marketing. customer attitude towards the brand etc.19 competitor's brand. it is easier to determine various brand optimization techniques to improve the power of the brand. thus increasing its life time value. appropriate brand evaluation should be made before taking and brand marketing decisions. Brands are the most valuable intangible assets of many companies as they represent a sizeable portion of the company's market value. This includes the impact of the brand on sales and other revenue generation techniques. Brand Financial Value The third and most important metric from a company's point of view is the monetary value of its brand. enables marketers to calculate the return on investment and life time value of the brand-which in itself is another key performance indicator.

That is more valuable than a brand name that is recognized but doesn't inspire the same loyalty in their clients. Brand Licensing: Brand licensing is becoming increasingly common as people realize that to make money. The benefits for the brand owner are still the royalty payment but for the license they get to test the market with their new product . For example. Some product names have more built in good will than others which mean that customers will automatically trust a new product that is launched under this name. How do you put a value on a brands worth? Some people will insist on using financial data while others will look at how other similar arrangements were valued but this is not an exact science. You can also use brand licensing to add a similar but different product to a recognized household name. they do not need to reinvent the wheel but can license a brand for someone else's product. All forms of licensing are still in early days and there are a couple of issues that have to be ironed out. The owner of the brand benefits too as he increases his market share not to mention his profits.20 monitoring and updating of these metrics is a sure-fire way of increasing the equity of the brand. 5. Some brands have very efficient marketing campaigns and they could almost launch coal dust yet their customer base would still buy it. One of the most contentious is the idea of valuation. you could add a car product to a brand name that everyone associates with automobiles.

you need to be sure that you are picking the right image.21 under the protection of a big brand name. When you enter into a brand licensing contract you are usually authorized to use that particular product name for a specific length of time and only in certain areas or countries. For example some character brands associated with TV would not suit some educational products. The best way to do this is to learn from an expert who has many years experience in this field. There is already a certain amount of loyalty and goodwill towards that product name and they can leverage this to make sales. Don't assume because a license has been awarded to you. Sesame Street has a different image to The Simpsons. . that you are free to market your product under this name anywhere in the world. The producers of Gone with the Wind used brand licensing to help raise money to cover the production cost of the film as they were very worried it was not going to make a profit. For this reason. These images still sell today and have made a lot of money for the company. His knowledge will help you avoid the mistakes most amateurs make which can cost you a lot of dollars thus reducing your potential profits. You need to understand the agreement and all the implied terms and conditions. it is important that you spend time educating yourself about the advantages and disadvantages of licensing. you need an attorney who specializes in this particular area of contract law and not someone who just dabbles on the occasional basis. Before you think about entering into any contract or negotiations with brand names. When you are looking for a brand to license with a view to marketing your product.

You can¶t have a product without a brand owner. Kmart¶s recent court request to pay its minimum guarantees on licensed product sales is a reflection of how highly Kmart rates its relationship with its brand partners. And you shouldn¶t negotiate a deal without the experienced guidance of a licensing agent and trademark attorney to ensure that the result is good for the long-term goals of the brand. and the name abbreviates to QED. again from the Latin. which is presently restructuring to avoid bankruptcy. Kmart. Kmart wanted to put the money toward shoring up its alliances with the licensed brands it sells. The four roads in this case are the four key stakeholders in a licensing program: the Licensor (the brand owner) the licensing agent. proven. Quadvia is Latin for a place where four roads meet. one needs to involve each party and obtain senior level commitment. quod erat demonstrandum ± that which is demonstrated or. You can¶t sell your product without a retailer. the licensees (the manufacturers) and the retailers.22 The new name reflects the foundation of our methodology and our approach to licensing as a form of equity development. Rather than ask for more money to pay for advertising or hold a major sale. A good example of the importance of licensing deals is to look at the American discount retailer. . You can¶t manufacturer a product without the licensee. put more simply. To successfully navigate the licensing process.

it¶s my job to advise my clients on how best to position a brand so that it holds the same level of importance at a retailer as those at Kmart. . I might recommend diversification into other products. toys. For instance. Depending on their brand strategy. candy. This would bring new opportunities to reach a larger audience. there would be some other related product to carry the brand.23 As a licensing agent. Licensing should be considered by a company when it wants to build or leverage its brand equity. enter new markets or businesses. generate or diversify revenue streams. Analysts have been declaring its stock is too high and will have to drop soon. sugary dough can¶t continue to rise forever. Indeed. So in this case. That¶s why the retailer is considered a key player in our methodology. or enhance shareholder confidence. let¶s look at a brand like Krispy Kreme. protect trademarks. Also if the bottom fell out of doughnuts. differentiate from the competition. Krispy Kreme could perhaps move into frozen or refrigerated foods.