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Brand building

Brands are clusters of functional and emotional values which promise stakeholders unique and welcome experiences. The functional values are less sustainable than the emotional values. Good product or service functionality is now a taken for granted expectation amongst stakeholders. Emotional values, delivered through sources such as staff interactions, represent a source of sustainable competitive advantage. Many organizations recognize that good externally focused communications raises stakeholders expectations about brand promises, yet in many instances staff represent the brand. A well co-ordinated, committed group of employees enables an organization to deliver a welcomed difference based on what the consumer receives (functional values) and how they receive it (emotional values). Brands are intangible assets and because of their etheral nature, interpretations of a firms brand can vary between members of the management team. Without surfacing diverse interpretations, a management team may have about their brand, it is likely that different parts of the organization will be pulling in different directions, due to diverse views. This chapter therefore opens with a review of the different meanings of the brand concept. Historically brand management primarily focused on consumers. This was based on the assumption that efficient production processes could be managed to guarantee the brands functional values and that creative use of promotions resources, such as advertising and packaging,

could promise emotional values. In todays competitive environment, where the services sector is far more dominant, there is a realization that attention needs to focus on consumers and staff. Advertising performs a useful role promoting a brand promise and enrobing a product or service with emotional values, but it is staff who deliver the promise. Without sufficient understanding and commitment, staff may not be delivering the brand promise. To encourage a more co-ordinated, pancompany approach to delivering the brand, there has been a move towards teams of senior managers planning and co-ordinating brand building activity. As a consequence of these issues, this chapter will also look at the importance of internal branding and culture. It will explain a strategic brand building procedure that facilitates a more integrated, pan-company approach which should engender a greater likelihood of brand coherence. The chapter opens by reviewing the spectrum of brand interpretations. A sequential iterative process for building and sustaining brands is overviewed. Each block of this process is then explained, showing how a more integrated approach to branding can be enacted.

Spectrum of brand interpretations

Brands are conceived in brand plans but ultimately they reside in consumers minds. They exist by virtue of a continuous process whereby the co-ordinated activities across an organization concerned with delivering a cluster of values are integrated and internalized by consumers in such