The Road AheadSmart branding [Archives:2003/649/Business & Economy]

July 10 2003

In recent years, companies have increasingly seen the benefits of branding and creating corporate brands and the value of a brand. However, the problem most managers face is how to objectively assess a brand's particular strength and weaknesses, in spite of being the most critical factor in branding.
For this, what I am proposing is a systematic study by managers on how to assess and think about their brands, and to learn more about the areas in which the brand may excel or need help, and the factors that should be put into consideration while assessing a brand.
Starting with the relationship between a brand and a customer; because customers usually desire the strongest brands, for instance you would want a Mercedes-Benz, rather than an Audi, because Mercedes might have a stronger impact on you resulting in a relationship that makes you desire it.
The next thing is marketing considerations; aspects such as the brand image, competition, pricing, etc. these considerations are vital while measuring the success level this brand has, compared to other substitute brands, in other words how much does a successful brand make use of and coordinate a full repertoire of marketing activates such as advertising campaigns and promotions?
Then the next most important in smart branding is understanding what the brand means to different customers: the company gives a brand proper support and sustains it for a period of time, after that the company should grade the brand according to reports about how well the brand was in reaching out to the target and its impact on the market.
By doing a study on a brand; a company can understand and learn how successful a brand is and how to create other more successful brands. Nevertheless, smart branding only starts here; after you have a full understanding of a brand's history. With the help of such a study, you can do something different than what is usually done in strengthening the brand, something smart.
Differentiate. The biggest problem with brand building in our country is that none of them has a strong image, for example you have a number of office equipment suppliers and electronics importers in our country with no big difference between each of them, and no company has a different corporate brand than the other that has market leadership. Perhaps company A wants to buy a number of fax machines, a fax from Panasonic won't be much different than that of Hitachi or canon or Minolta or any other, but there can be a difference in the branding.
Smart branding is that branding that allows a product to be superior to others image wise, and has the perception that it is what customers need even though there is no real difference between it and other products. This can be achieved only after systematically assessing and understanding where the product lies in the minds of customers.