Brand building process:
Having understood the basis of the brand equity, let us now turn to the brand building process. As we saw earlier, brands are built over a period of time. It requires strategic perspective to create strong brands. It also, requires visionary leadership and marketing efforts: the brand building process involves:
1. Analysis of the brand environment
2. Setting the brand vision
3. Determining the brand values
4. Defining the brand objectives
5. Crafting the appropriate brand strategy
6. Developing an effective implementation plan
Brand environment: one has to start by analyzing the environment of the brand. This environment is both external and internal to the brands. The internal environment of the brand involves understanding the degree of the commitment and confidence employers have in the brand. This analysis also involves the study of inter functional communication, coordination and conflict resolution processes in the organization. It is vital to appreciate coordination and that a brand can be built if departments are at logger heads. In fact, if the brand has strong property characteristics, it will lose out in the market place only on this account. Among the external environment forces, the most significant is the customer's life style preferences, product use situation and processes, importance of the brand in his or her life (example does brands use lead to enhancing his or her self esteem), price sensitivity and the key values that he or she looks for at the shopping stage, consumption and post consumption stages. A firm that is able to understand the customer will be successful in creating a strong brand.
Brand vision: the brand's environment analysis helps to identify opportunities and threats. Bases on such identification, brand strategies need to decide where they see the brand over a period of time, say 10 years. Vision is dreaming of a position over this time period. While defining this vision, one has to keep in mind that a dream alone is not enough. It has to be backed by an action plan. To achieve this vision, all employers within the organization must become a part of the vision experience.
Brand values: these are tangible and intangible beliefs that markets wishes to create about the brand. For example, if a tangible value is technology leadership in the product category, then the brand has to continuously leap frog and be the first to introduce the least technology features in the product. But if the tangible value is value for the money, then the brand needs to incorporate and improve upon all the features and offer it at the lowest price in the market. Intangible values relate to connivance, comfort, service, self esteem, and so forth. In determining which values to incorporate and to communicate, the marketer's needs to understand the customer's value hierarchy and also the competitor offer. It is important that brand's value conform to the customer's value system, through the Indian market is large and diverse, where customer's values differ according to their culture, according to their geographic location, increasingly we find that electronic media is facilitating of consumption values.
Brand objectives: the vision statement also helps the strategies to define short, medium and long term brand objectives. While the long term objective of any brand should be to emerge as the most sought after and credible brand in the market place, the short and medium term will relate to brand awareness, market penetration and even communicating property or the unique characteristics to the market. Creation of the distribution equity is also a medium to long term objective. The market penetration here refers to both the coverage and the number of outlets stocking and selling the brand across the country, as also the sales from these outlets.
Brand strategy: the above stages lead us to define the brand strategy. Strategy is a set of actions deliberately chosen, after a careful evaluation of alternatives, to help the market actualize his vision and to achieve the brand's long term objectives. Strategy is required because there are multiple alternatives to achieving brand vision. The brand strategy could be a leader strategy, a follower or a niche strategy. A brand leader aims to develop the market for the product category, customize the product to different use situations through multiple variants; ensure continuous availability in all outlets in. The country, thus offering connivance to the customer, and to create innovative ways of the marketing the brand. Niche could be in price, technology, service, features, or even in the premium market. A brand strategy could be to emerge as a niche leader. Most premium brands like Monte Blanc pans. Nina Ricci perfumes, Shahnaz HUssain range of herbal cosmetics are examples of the niche brand technology.
Implementation plan: the implementation plan refers to the development of an integrated set of cues, which reinforce the brand's image in the target market. Often the best of the brand strategies may be fail if the implementation plan is ineffective. Conflicting cues can lead to a brand's failure. Hence the marketer has to develop an integrated cue set. This includes the following:
Packing: packaging communicates the brand's personality and values. Besides providing convenience, package can be an important educational and utility tool in a market.
Vehicles: transport vehicles also helps reinforce brand image. Soft drink companies mineral water producers and other consumers product companies like GE use vehicles to communicate brand image and values.
Point of purchase (POP) material: appropriate use of the POP material is also required to communicate like GE use vehicles to communicate brand value to the consumer. Visual display also helps reinforcing the brand image.
Retail outlet: the most common place where the customer comes in the contact with the brand is retail outlet. Be if the road side or street corner shop or a large retailer. The fact is that the attractive presence, at eye level, holds the key to the brand's success.
Marketing communicates: increasingly brand builders have realized that brand image is not built only through smart advertising, but also through effective integration of all tools of communication like public relations, publicity, sales promotion, direct marketing, sales messages and so forth. Even the branch or the office ambience plays a role in communicating the brand image.