Branding is regarded as a process of assigning a specific differential name to a product for the reason of differentiating the product from competitive products of similar characteristics (Meenakshisundaram 2006).
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Visual interpretation is an important element in branding. This means that design also plays an important role in branding. Thus, it is obvious that design is the visual articulator of the brand’s expression just as Davis & Baldwin (2005) suggest. In the electronics industry, there are a number of branding strategies used to increase a products sales volume in the market.
They include price reduction, discounting and increasing the number of loyal customers for the brand. An organization must consider the factors that affect branding in order to come up with the best brand. Some of the factors include role of the brand, internal conventions, brand legacy and birthright. Branding comes with its advantages as well as disadvantages to an organization.
Branding strategies used in the industry
Brand position is clearly a strategy for competitive advantage. Developing a brand statement should occur after an extensive research of the market has been done. This statement must be easily understood by the target audience. Its context must be properly presented to demonstrate its relevancy in the market.
Brand positioning must promise the customers that which it has to offer. If the existing customers get what the brand promises, they will help in marketing the brand. This will help to increase the market share and thus increase the volume of the product. Brand positioning should also have the ability to deliver the unexpected because an engaging and unique message to the customers always attracts them to the brand. Customers will expect the organization to offer good services or standard products.
This means that if an organization has to increase its market share, it must offer quality services or products that are above the standards of other similar products to enhance competitive advantage (Bloise, 2011). Brand positioning is therefore not about running more ads because this does not actually increase the number of customers of the brand. The most important thing that branding should be able to demonstrate is to differentiate itself from other competing products in the market (Sengupta 2007).
Brand name selection
Different brands have different effects on the customer’s image. For instance, some customers may recognize high quality brand names for their electronic devices. It is thus very important to display such names so that the purchasing decisions of customer are made easier.
Customers can also develop particular effects as they gain experience in operating certain electronic devices. For instance, the ‘halo effect’ suggests that if the operators have a positive experience with the company’s brand, they will purchase the brand when it is time to replace some derelict elements in the machine. Customers will also feel more positive about that manufacturer’s brand (Feinstein & Stefanelli 2008).
There are four options for brand sponsorship. The first option is when the product is launched as the brand of a particular manufacturer. Most of the brands that have dominated the retail market in the past have been using this option. The second option is in the private brands.
This means that the manufacturer sells the brand to a particular reseller who gives the product his own brand name. These kinds of brands can also be called store brands.
The third option is when the organization licenses names that have been created by another manufacturer. These could be the names of books or celebrities, and these brands are called license brands. The fourth and last option of brand sponsorship is called cobranding. Cobranding is done whereby a particular product has two names that belong to two different manufacturers.
This increases the market share because it broadens the consumer appeal. Cobranding also increases the brand equity and allows the company to expand its existing brand to a higher category (Zainbooks 2011). Brand sponsorship requires the company to make an additional investment beyond its donation to be considered for brand sponsorship. A brand sponsor may not have a product to sell. He may be offering a service or even promoting a website (Beck-Burridge & Walton 2001).
Successful brand development and branding requires a business organization to develop a brand proposition that will provide an attractive message to current and prospective customers.
The leadership of the organization must support the proposition. Brand development also needs the customers’ support as well as support from the marketing department. A strong sales team must also show their support so that a successful brand development can be realized. The core values of the brand must be determined before any process of brand development begins.
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The process can include a demonstration of the organization’s honesty, integrity, and excellent communication in order to attract clients. The strategies for brand development require the organization to do extensive research of the market so as to reach the target audience and subsequently increase the volume of the product in the market. This is because the target audience is the most important factor that determines whether or not the brand will be successful (Finskud 2009).
Also, creating a positive emotional attachment to the brand is important since the customers respond even without seeing the product (Bloise 2011). This means that the brand should also win the hearts and minds of the population. Thus, the brand is everything to any particular product. It exhibits all the success and failures of a product as a result of the strategies employed.
Factors affecting branding
Factors that affect branding must be considered before an organization launches its branding process. The factors enumerated here are just some of the ways in which any business organization can consider so as to come up with the best brand in the market. These factors include the role of the brand, internal brand legacy, milestone, birthright and internal conventions.
Role of the brand
The role of the brand is a factor that affects the internal legacy of the brand. This has to do with a corporate product, service product and also the perception of the brand in terms of its contribution to the organization. The brand architecture is an important phenomenon in this aspect. This shows how a brand relates to other of the organization’s brands or to partner brands in different organizations.
The levels of brands and their linkages are two very important issues here. Top level, corporate and banner brands usually connect up the organization (Gelder 2003). They also connect up strategy and leadership thereby working as a unique organizing purpose. On the other hand, low level sub-brands target messages that fall within products and service sectors that are also within a higher level organizational script.
The brand architecture works in a way that it ensures that global and local brand managers work towards similar goals for the brand. It also makes sure that the brand managers do not cannibalize other brands in the organization’s activities. Brand managers are therefore checked by the brand architecture in that they are prevented from going too far and dilute the brand, and from claiming too much of the organization’s resources that will overwhelm higher level brands.
How to measure the effectiveness of the branding strategy
Brand effectiveness can be carried out in several ways. Notable among them is the 4D’s of branding. “The four D’s represent differentiation, distinctiveness, defendable and digit-able”, (Modernmind 2011).
Therefore, a brand must be distinct in relation to the spoken and visual aspects. This will make the brand to be more unique and hence more desirable. The brand should be differentiable in a way that it separates itself from products of similar nature. The brand should also be succinct in its purpose and clearly speak out its intention.
In addition, the brand should be defendable in a way that it possesses some ownership strengths. This will keep other products of similar nature from mimicking the brand. The name and trademark of the brand should be distinct in order to clearly differentiate it from other products. Last but not least, the brand must be digit-able. This means that it must have the element of electronic communication. Thus, it must be leveraged well especially in its electronic format (Modernmind 2011).
Internal brand legacy
The internal legacy of a brand can leverage for the purpose of the company’s pride. This is quite advantageous to the company. On the other hand internal brand legacy can be a barrier to future development of a brand. Thus, a battle may ensue between provision of brand consistency and the brand vitality (Buckingham 2008).
There are several particular events specific to the brand that may be extremely important by the organization. For example, the introduction of a particular feature or change in design of a product can be a defining moment in a company’s operations (Schmitt & Rogers 2008). This is true because customers usually go for products whose quality has increased or whose design has changed for the purpose of getting the value for their money or just for fashion.
It is important to note that brands have a way in which they maintain a certain legacy within the organization, regardless of whether they are new or old. The legacy mostly goes back to the people who first developed the brand or to a single founder. Thus, it is not surprising to know that the company founder, whether alive or deceased, can have a large effect on the brand (Gelder 2003).
This is because successful brand creators usually have superior sales abilities, profound knowledge of their products and customers, dogged enthusiasm for their business and they are also found in the right place at the right time. The brand founder will always have influence regardless of whether the product bears his name or not.
Internal conventions of an organization can also affect branding. Conventions can seriously circumscribe the brand expression and limit it to what is internally acceptable. They can restrict a brand’s manifestation and the communication of the same brand. In addition, internal conventions can also affect a brand’s distribution and its character development (Schmitt, Rogers & Vrotsos 2004).
The stories told by members of the organization to each other, to outsiders, and to new recruits embed the present in its organizational history thereby highlighting important events and personalities (Plessis 2000). The symbols of the organization such as logos, offices, cars and titles and even the type of language used in the organization also affects the branding of a product.
Power structures affect branding in that the most powerful managerial groupings in the organization are likely to be the ones that will be most associated with core assumptions and beliefs on what is important (Morgan, Pritchard & Pride 2002). Formal organizational structures delineate important relationships and emphasize what is important in the organization. The control systems aid in focusing on what is important on organizational attention and activity.
Last but not least, the rituals and routines of organizational life such as training programs reinforce to the way the organization does things and signals what is valued (Gelder 2003). In my opinion, all of the above are correct because employees views regarding the company actually market the company to outsiders. Also training of employees increases their skills thereby making the company produce high quality brands that are competitive in the market.
Advantages (measure its effectiveness) and disadvantages of branding
Practically speaking, branding is a way in which the volume of a product can be increased in the market (Middleton et al.1988). It is the ways in which multiple sensory stimuli can help a customer recognize a particular product. This is because a brand can be recognized easily in the market by the way it is packaged, its logo and the shape of the product (Ferrell & Hartline 2008).
Another way in which a brand can be recognized other than visual is through sound. Customers can hear the sound of a brand through the mass media or through talking with someone who has the knowledge of the product (Branded consultants group 2010). The ways in which the above authors echo branding is quite synonymous with my opinions since the views are pretty obvious on an average situation.
Also, those customers who frequently purchase a particular brand are actually most likely to be loyal to the brand. Such customers are called “brand loyals”. The reward for successful marketers often comes by way of brand loyalty because loyal customers are quite unlikely to switch to another brand (Bowie & Buttle 2004). On the contrary, non-loyal customers can easily switch to another brand since they are not bound by anything to stick to a particular product.
If a brand is well developed, its positioning in the market becomes more effective (Tulsian & Tulsian 2002). This is because customers usually visualize some mental images after they have heard of a particular product because they begin to feel the benefits they can receive from the utility of that brand (Jain 2009). In addition, new products can be added under the same brand thereby causing the firm to establish a successful brand. Thus, other brand names can sell pretty well by riding on the advantages of the successful brand.
Last but not least, brand equity can emanate from a strong brand name especially when the brand itself becomes so valuable (Management Study Guide 2011). Licensing arrangements and out-right sale of the brand can cause the above to happen because. In this context, a company may sell their rights to another company if the first company wants to concentrate on another market. Hence, a company can achieve a large financial gain just by selling their brand name.
One of the disadvantages of branding is that it increases cost (Jones, P.). These costs emanate from production of the brand, marketing and the legal processes. Also, brand extension can lead to reduction of total brand value if any of the products are of lower quality (Ellwood 2000). A standardized brand ignores fundamental differences across consumers, countries and cultures (Bell 2008). These are some of the reasons why companies have to set a side huge amounts of money before engaging in the process of branding.
In branding, the organization may develop a trend of compromising on the standards over a long period of time. In many circumstances, a larger budget on branding may not guarantee success but can lead to the loss of money and time used in the branding process. This is because it becomes so difficult to sell a brand at a lower price especially if the cost involved in the manufacture was increased. This opinion is also shared with Horner & Swarbrooke (2005).
Branding is regarded as a process of assigning a specific differential name to a product for the reason of differentiating the product from the competitive product of similar characteristics. Organizations regard strategy as a way of beating the competition by becoming good at one or more established processes. The strategies for branding are brand positioning, brand name selection, brand sponsorship and brand development.
Some of the factors that affect branding include the role of the brand, internal conventions, brand legacy and birthright. The advantages of branding are: increase in awareness, increase in the number of loyal consumers and brand equity. However, branding is also accompanied by its own disadvantages which include higher costs, compromise of standards and loss of money if the process of branding does not positively affect the market.
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