More and more brands are competing for public attention, around the globe and across market

categories.

Coke piyo Cricket geo -------- Milk Pack khalis he sub kuch hai --------- Pepsi, yeh dil mangay more --------Haleeb, garha jo hai -------- Red Bull gives you wings --------

What do all these lines have in common? They are the marketing punch lines for all the big corporate names local and international. I apologise to those who are working in some other companies, but I did not put their names here ;)

All year round, day-in and day-out, we are being exposed to a zillion brands trying to impress us (consumers) with their marketing lines, advertizing copies, attractive ads on TV, Radio, Billboards, Newspapers, Magazines and what not. You name it, and there they will be....ready to grab whatever attention they can from you to hammer their brands into your minds.

So what exactly is this Brand War and why does it invoke marketing to such an extent that we have almost become a victim to it?

Brand War By nature, human being is adventurous. Its in our blood and it all started with Adam, who couldn't help himself eating the Forbidden Fruit. So the fact is that we as consumers like to try new things and do experiments with an inquisitive mind to just try HOW IT FEELS. And this has always been the start of every new experience that we gain.

This human quality of experiencing and trying something new gives companies the confidence to offer us new things, knowing that WE WILL TRY. It¶s only after once we try a product that we make up our mind for a repeat consumption of a product or service. BUT THE PUNCH LINE FOR THE TRIAL IS, KNOWLEDGE OF THAT PRODUCT. Unless we know that a new product is available in the market, our adventurous nerve does not get excited to try it. "So clearly, the start of any marketing is the urge to get noticed by the consumers."

Another given is, when a product is launched and it gets clicked and establishes its consumer-base in the market, other companies also notice it and jump on the bandwagon to share the profits. SO the natural process is, unfulfilled consumer needs that become the basis for new product launch. If a product is successful, it brings more brands that generate competition resulting in Brand War.

"Unfulfilled consumers needs => new product launch => product success => competition => brand war."

Whay are consumers becoming victim to brand war ? As competition increases with numerous brands entering the market, the market becomes saturated. Think of it like this.

There are 100 consumers, a company introduced a product that got clicked. All the 100 consumers become its customers. Other companies also notice the potential and jump into the market and start offering the same product with a different brand name. Now the situation is that there still are 100 consumers and they are divided between 2 companies and with more companies following, the consumer base keeps on getting divided, shrinking the revenue share of each brand.

Another process that follows this increased competition and takes place at the consumer level is that the consumers starts perceiving it as a generic commodity without any specialty.

Take an example of Water. AVA started marketing branded water in Pakistan. They developed the market of Treated Water for safe drinking. As the market for this product (treated water) matured and they started generating good revenues, more

And what's interesting to note is that even in the advertising of these various brands. Pepsi (Aquafina) & Coke (Kinley) also joined the show. Sufi. treated drinking water has lost its specialty. Once a market reaches this level. we are flooded with advertisements day-in and day-out. on the internet as well. a local brand is being viewed almost as Nestle Pure Life or Aquafina. All the brands." . we see cut-throat marketing competition as the more exposure brands get. With all these multinational and local brands marketing safe dinking water under their brand names.companies jumped in. in the car. nothing more-nothing less. "Naturally then. local and international are selling and consumers now view them all as a generic product and don't attach much value to the name of the brand. But what they have started not to notice now is the brand behind it. Even multinational companies like Nestle (Nestle Pure Life). They are all just marketing branded water. we do not see any KEY SELLING POINT being marketed by these companies. on the roads and recently. more chances of it are there to stick on to the consumers mind at the time of purchse. Consumers have become aware of the treated water (safe for drinking) and do want it. in our homes.

and turned with unerring instinct to the careers that would define the decade . a belief that was spectacularly questioned in April this year ± Friday 2nd actually.when the markets wiped $13.4 billion off Philip Morris' stock market value on news that the company had cut the price of its popular smokes by 40c a pack. huge consumer goods giants bought up other consumer goods giants. In fact. Wall Street thought so too. said the boss of food giant Sara Lee. thereby tacitly admitting that it was losing sales to so-called 'generic' cigarettes ± unadvertised cheapos sold in chain stores on their low price alone. Larry Light From the moment a generation of Smart Young Things began to graduate at the beginning of the 80s with the fashionable texts of Roland Barthes and Jean Baudrillard still fresh in their minds. In a flurry of brand-driven mega-deals.Global Brand War: Real or Phony? I like it What's in a name? Until the 1980s. . it was firmly within the bailiwick of accountants and expensive lawyers.advertising and banking . or 'Marlboro Friday' as it has been dubbed .the collision was inevitable. The key message of semiotics ± that symbols (including trademarks and logos) have a rich and powerful web of meanings and emotional associations attached to them meant that. the brands themselves were worth money. the question was the province of poets. 1988 was.9 billion ± four times its book value and Nestlé paid $4. but by the end of the decade.5 billion for Roundtree ± five times over the going rate.double its book value. and by 1988. purely on the recently-conceived value of the companies' brands: kkr paid $25 billion for rjr Nabisco . with: Sara Lee. The companies were gambling that brand value was somehow fixed and eternal. They were the years in which economic and post modern literary theory collided to produce the Decade of the Brand. in theory. by extrapolation. paying way over-the-odds. Philip Morris gobbled up Kraft for $12. philosophers and linguists. companies should be able to understand and leverage that power ± or at least pay someone to do it for them (a fact first intuitively appreciated by Coco Chanel in the twenties). The Year of the Brand.

they are evolving. says Meijer. When you buy Heinz Ketchup. At the same time. These effects were compounded by the rise of the own-label brands of chains such as Sainsburys in the uk and Albert Heyn in Holland: across Europe. creative director of Amsterdam ad agency Imagine. Perceived Product Parity was one explanation. Faced with a blizzard of names. concluded bankers Goldman Sachs. or as us marketing guru Larry Light put it: Bargained. the world's business magazines lurched for explanations. Brands are flags to be recognised.800 new trademarks launched last year in the usa. Down but not Out Brands are not going away. Indeed. there were 16.There were fears that a global price war would break out as the markets laid into manufacturers' products from of diapers and cars to condoms and newspapers. or the widespread belief by consumers that there were no relevant or discernible differences between rival brands. The fear was widely expressed that we were witnessing the death of the brand and maybe even The End of Advertising. new varieties of Mars bar. counters Ron Meijer. a signature of trust. consumers were turning increasingly to independent thirdparties for their purchasing information and choosing to skip the ads. what had happened? The marketing world had suspected for some time what was going on and even had academicsounding titles for their conclusions. bartered and battered. etcetera. Brands . created in their turn by limited-channel broadcasting ± would cease-to-be as new media technologies made 500-channel 'narrowcasting' possible. believes Meijer. forcing larger chunks of advertising budget into promotions. many supermarket labels have been turned into brands in their own right. you are buying a belief ± that it will be of high quality.the most powerful of which were created by advertising to the masses. researchers noted. There was. In the aftermath. Not only would mass media no longer be there for the branding process. retailers auctioned-off shelf space and forced discounts. slashing the market values of the parent companies on the grounds of vulnerable branded products. a misunderstanding as to what brands are and how high a hoop they can be made to jump through. belittled.Take Heinz Ketchup:// It began as a man with a great recipe. says . The trend continued in the frugal 90s with the rise of 'no-name chic' companies such as Muji and The Gap. What happened in the 80s is that brands were stretched and over-used as companies leveraged their power and associations to bootstrap new products into the market place: clothing ranges named after cigarettes. but he made into a belief: he branded it.// Brands were also abused. There is a semantic difference between image and reputation. 20% of supermarket sales are now accounted for by such products. putting 'mg' on practically every British-built Japanese car. Long term shifts in profits from manufacturing to retailing are now continuing down to the consumer. selling a full spectrum of products from fresh sandwiches to clothes and holidays.

It will take more to make a valuable brand in the future. They were worried about dilution of the brand's 'quality' image. We have to positively attract. Skittish investors remain to be convinced. . food giant Unilever faced a storm of protest from retailers when it cut the price of its premium brand Magnum choc-ice by 12%. It used to be that you designed a product. but it was overdone. It's time to re-load the brand. says Meijer. and in the us the price of Unilever's Ragu range of pasta sauces has not fallen in response to pressure from cheapo imitations. It has so-far failed to respond to arch-rivals Proctor & Gamble's 10-15% price cuts in their competing range of detergents. And they are asking questions about the ideas behind the product. (Coca Cola remains second at $33. The rise of the so-called generics happened because everyone was reading the same marketing information. Look at Benetton or The Body Shop: where does the company end and its products begin? Brand Evolution In Holland. ''he elaborates. but brands must be maintained in periods of economic downturn.Meijer. or an appeal to their 'European-ness'. It's a huge effort. People are not fooled any more. said the Unilever chairman.to $39. listen to what their interests and concerns are. he believes. Hype is easy and getting easier with new techniques and tools. But consumers are no-longer surprised by small ideas any more.a communal space where people go to chat ± and something to talk about that they have all seen. The boundary between product and company is eroding. not just the product. a process which advertising is only partly responsible for.5 billion. The old attitude was I have the audience and the money to reach them. Then it became so that everyone was looking at the marketing statistics before they made anything. to Amsterdammers or some other level of communality.4 billion). now I'll decide what to say to them'. And yet. The Observer newspaper found that fears that ad spending would suffer in a brand war were unfounded as marketing budgets rerouted resources back from promotions to brand building. advertisers must find the consumer. then add something to the conversation. then did some marketing to check you were not doing anything stupid. decided who to sell it to and how. ''Today. September's Financial World Magazine found in its annual table of the world's most valuable brands that Marlboro is still top ± although its value has dropped 6% . They are more image-literate: a product must live up to its 'story'. The art of advertising is to find these village greens: it might be cnn (because we all like to feel part of the global village sometimes). Every community needs a 'village green' . It's okay to make extra money out of brands. Marketing lost its way during the 80s. chasing the same niches. Indeed. Meijer believes we are seeing a redefining of how advertising reaches its target for the 90s.

Advertisers will simply have to work harder in future to (re) create the values and commitments they undersign with their brand. Brands are in essence signatures under these added values.Products or services are a result of human actions added to raw materials or thoughts. .