Dec 30, 2010

Upcoming Challenges in Branding, Marketing!

Change is everywhere and in everything. New categories in products and new types of services are emerging and diminishing at a rapid rate. Communication is increasingly fragmented and under the control of the target audience rather than the brands. The fast moving digital world adds new options and complexity. It is harder than ever for an offering or a marketing program to break out now-a-days.
Today’s top five challenging scenarios for a marketer or brand manager are as: 1) getting a seat at the table talk: Marketing team needs to get a firmer hold on a seat at the executive table where the real action is. It can and should be a primary driver of business strategy that specifying the value proposition, the selection of the product-markets in which to invest, and the development of assets and competences, especially those around branding that will protect a business from competition. Because marketing brings customer and market insight to the table, it is important to develop and refine the ability to create and evaluate those insights and turn them into actionable programs. Unless the strategy is right and clearly defined; tactical programs and investments are unlikely to be effective.
2) Globalization: it is a global world and new information sources, branding expertise, organizational forms are needed. But as far as their implementation is concerned it is clear that applying products and brands that work in the West is not a reliable recipe for success. It is also clear that having country brand specialists go it alone is not wise. There need to be ways to apply and adapt the brand experience and expertise of central marketing. The product and brand needs to be tailored to the country and region involved.
3) Brand energizing: brands more than ever needs energy to be competitive all the time. That brand equities are declining which have lack of brand energy. The two most beneficial ways to gain brand energy are as: one route to energy is what called “branded energizers”. When the offering itself is not exciting, or if it is between breakthrough innovations, it can find something with energy, such as branded social programs or proprietary sponsorships, that can be attached to the brand. Another approach is to deploy programs that involve the customer or potential customer.
4) Define a new product category/subcategory: the biggest opportunity is to create a point of differentiation that defines a new category or subcategories. It is hard to find a point of differentiation that is valued by the market and not quickly copied. It doesn’t only take customer insight and an organizational ability to execute on that insight, but an ability to build barriers around customer relationships and to generate ongoing innovation to prevent others from enjoying the benefits of the new offering.
5) To be a world’s social marketer: there is a role going forward for marketing to participate in some key issues. Should brands consider a link to programs that benefit society? What is the role of sustainability in marketing and brand building? Does marketing have any role in combating obesity and other unhealthy consumer trends? Can marketing aid organizations attempting to solve the problems of global warming, the use of alternative energy, hunger, water, disease and so on? How? Does marketing have any responsibility to address the perceptions and reality that business offerings and marketing programs sometimes encourage wasteful consumption? The fact is that customers are increasingly rewarding firms that visibly get involved in social issues, and which provide practical incentives to move on.

Dec 27, 2010

Brand Performance Management Through Positioning, Execution and Experience!

According to traditional thinking, brands are built through marketing investments such as communications and advertising. Although advertising is a tool of brand building but it is a loud kind of thing in its importance to delivering an exceptional brand. Exceptional brands are delivered through brand alignment of which advertising may be a component or in some cases may be not present altogether. The right example of exceptional brand is Google. It is one of the most recognized brands in the world. It is ranked at number seven on Inter-brand’s Best Global Brands 2009. Yet, do people ever recall it by seeing a Google advertisement on television, radio or print? Google’s CEO has stated that Google’s dominant market share is because of quality of searches and not advertising.
To deliver a strong brand experience for customers the organization needs to develop strong internal alignment with the brand among internal stakeholders and resources, and strong external alignment with external stakeholders, partners, customers and consumers. This alignment is known as “of brand visionaries, of brand providers and of brand believers”. Brand visionaries are managers who set the brand strategy in motion. They are concerned with making promises of value propositions to the customer. This focus demands customer intimacy to understand customer needs and self-reflection to understand company and partner capabilities. The role of brand visionaries is to help facilitate the promises about the brand providers ’ role in enabling and facilitating promises about Value Proposition to customers. 
Brand providers are in charge of how the brand is delivered. Frontline staff and delivery channels are responsible for the interactive co-creation of meaning and experience that embodies the value propositions of the brand. Operational excellence insures this interactive marketing consistently delivers on the brand promise. A strong brand provides a consistent way to polarize multiple micro decisions, so they reinforce each other in a way that is synergistic. Furthermore, the brand reward system needs to reflect the value of the brand to align goals and metrics. Front-line employees are brand ambassadors. They represent the brand and can bring it to life for the customer beyond what is possible with media communications, by making it personal. This concept of brand ambassador is essentially a role for management in aligning employees within the corporation. Managers need to build a vision of company strategy. They also need to bring that strategy to life by building a company culture that embodies the essence of that strategy. How Asia Builds Strong Brands
Consistency across the brand portfolio is a necessary element of strong brand strategy. Brand consistency is driven by a strong brand vision to guide what the brand providers are to deliver. By establishing consistency over the portfolio the new brands launched not only are supported by the legacy brands, but the legacy brands are revived and revitalized by the new brands. Strong brands align their external promises to their internal operations. 
Brands need to be aligned to markets and for developed world companies there is a tendency to over-invest in mature markets and under-invest in emerging markets. Delivery of strong brands does not take place in a vacuum. Brand partners need to be aligned to deliver on the brand promise. And brands need to be aligned with pulses in the market. Companies need to pay attention to aligning strategy and execution. There are different needs for structuring around radical versus incremental Innovation so companies need to pay attention to their structures to make things work.

Dec 24, 2010

Brand Governance: New Branding Concept

For many organizations, especially those in mature industries, brands are their most valuable assets whether at the corporate or product level. Awareness of the value of brands has grown in recent decades, particularly throughout the 1980s mergers and acquisitions whirl which prompted some consumer goods companies to become alert to the equity held in their brands. That’s why a strong brand creates superior value and competitive advantage that is sustainable e.g. Apple iPhone
In fact a successful brand is a long-term strategic asset for any organization. Some sectors such as public and non-profit may still are moving up the learning curve, others, particularly the fast-moving Consumer Goods industry, have long been conscious of the importance of brands as key assets. As such there is no existence of a considerable body yet of practitioner expertise and academic theory that can be brought to bear in creating, building and valuing brand equity.
However, concept is new and now growing at realization that the real equity of any business held in their brands. Awareness of the whole issue of Brand Governance has grown in the recent few years. Now-a-days marketers focus more on overarching reasons that present growing challenges and threats to brand equity for the future. According to them these are 6 major reason or challenges such as:
First, uncertain and fiercely competitive industry environment: Over the past few decades, many industries have been characterized by overcapacity, dramatically rising market uncertainty and Hypercompetition, a trend that continues. This is largely as a result of factors such as globalization and new technologies that have lowered barriers to entry, as well as the ongoing deregulation and privatization of some sectors such as airlines and telecommunications. In considering how they can compete in fiercely competitive and turbulent markets, some companies have begun to look to their brands as key to developing relationships with customers; as a result, there has been growing industry and academic attention paid to the quality of customer brand experience as a source of value like Sony
Second, empowered consumers: At the same time, consumers are becoming increasingly intolerant of any gap between what a brand promises and the experience it delivers when they actually encounter and engage with it. New distribution and communications channels, particularly the Internet, have given buyers, influencers and other stakeholders more information and choice of products and brand experiences than ever before. Consumers are also generally better informed, educated, sceptical, more self-directed and increasingly seeking value in the form of self-realization from the brands that they feel are right for them. Third, Line and brand extension proliferation: Today, a proliferation of line and brand extensions as firms exploit their brand assets means that many brands now act as an umbrella for an ever growing number of extensions and variants, often in several different and possibly unrelated areas. Coordinating and delivering consistent promised quality of brand experience across so many brand variants is clearly increasingly difficult to manage. Why 1 in 2 extensions fail
Fourth, growing number of distribution and communication touchpoints: Consumers expect consistency of brand experience at every touchpoint throughout their journey from first brand awareness, through trial and to repeat purchase. Again, in this rapidly developing context, coherent brand experience is becoming harder to deliver. Fifth, Use of strategic partnerships in delivering brands to consumers: Brand owners, of various forms, are strategic partnerships such as subcontracting, licensing, franchising or joint ownership in all the stages of creating and delivering the experience to final consumers. These arrangements bring the major dangers of complexity, lack of control and conflict inherent in all joint ventures to the brand delivery process.
Last, use of social media, Brand marketers have sought to exploit the opportunities offered by the growth of social media. Although they can spread the good news about a brand like never before, the reverse is also true; social media have also amplified the perils to brand equity of experience delivery failure. Bad news can now spread like wildfire and severely damage a brand’s reputation and equity more widely and rapidly than ever. As brand equity is a prime source of a firm’s value then these issues are the concern of all senior managers as well as brand marketers as they lie at the heart of an organization’s capability to create and sustain long-term value.

Dec 23, 2010

User Generated Branding

Web has enabled millions of common people to start publishing their own brand-related content. As evidenced by YouTube videos, Facebook groups, Twitter messages, Wikipedia articles, Amazon book reviews and other social media activities due to which amateur pieces have now achieve significant reach. Now the question is how effective are these participatory web programs for brands? FinePix
In order to answer this question it is better to know about UGB-User Generated Branding. UGB is rooted in the theoretical framework of the identity-based brand management approach. This approach takes into account both the brand perception by external stakeholders, referred to as brand image, and the self-reflection of a brand by internal stakeholders, called brand identity. With regard to UGC-User Generated Contents related problems, the identity-based brand management approach is particularly suitable, as it stresses on the brand’s interaction capability. Brand identity is constituted by both the interactions among internal stakeholders and their interactions with external target groups.
As on the Web in 2000 era not meeting the brand promise is punished quicker, more consequently and with farther reach. Therefore, the requirements for internal brand management are increasing. If employees and intermediaries “live the brand” the negative brand-related UGC may be counteracted and positive grassroots brand messages can be evoked. On the other hand, the identity-based brand management approach explicitly considers consumer-to-consumer interaction. User generated brand messages are regarded as brand touch points next to corporate communication efforts which are affecting a consumer’s brand experience and brand expectations.
UGB is understood as the handling of all kinds of voluntarily created and publicly distributed brand messages undertaken by non-marketers from original user comments to reviews, ratings and remixes with corporate messages, to even full artistic work. This UGC might represent both expression of customer complaint and brand fan dedication. It might be visualized as text, image, audio or video and distributed not only via Web platforms such as blogs, review, video sharing and social networking sites but also via mobile devices.
Other form of this technique is known also as user innovative concepts such as Buzz Marketing and word-of-mouth. Unlike mass customization, UGB does not refer to a co-design process within a fixed solution space, but deals with freely created personal brand meaning. Content creators can be regarded as creative consumers. Finally, UGB is more than E-Branding. While the latter aims at using the channel Internet to present a brand, UGB refers to an online feedback movement beyond conventional top-down brand management behavior.

Dec 22, 2010

Towards an idea of “Brand Co-creation” for “Brand Supremacy”

Brand managers are now analyze that co-creation is a relatively new and critical development but necessary to keep the brands within the field of innovation. The essential four building blocks by which co-creation can occur are as: dialogue, access, transparency and risk. Along with these building blocks framework brand managers suggest that for brand management and brand governance must including the possibility that brands may allow society to regain control over massive international corporations which actually lost during the recent period of globalization. Market Positioning 5 DVD Bundle
According to marketers research points “the proactive roles consumers play in the creation of value” for companies. The concept of co-creation was an extension of the idea developed by researchers interested in user-driven product innovation. As the co-creation efforts they studied demonstrated impressive increases in value, the phenomenon garnered considerable attention outside the innovation field in which it spread to marketing and, more recently, to branding.
In the case of branding, co-creation expands to embrace other stakeholders than consumers. Sunsilk shampoo and seven well-known hair stylists have all equated co-creation with the era of stakeholder-focused branding. So, with them all it’s calling now as a co-creation with new brand logic. Meanwhile, stakeholders’ participation in brand co-creation as an issue of brand governance is largely because it implies that organizations share control over their brands with stakeholders. These studies indicate that co-creation resonates with an ever increasing number of scholars who take the view that brand meanings and values emerge from stakeholder engagement with a company. In other words brand value is co-created through network relationships and social interactions among the ecosystem of all stakeholders.
Defining brand co-creation as an emergent phenomenon based in networks of different and constantly changing stakeholder configurations, Hatch and Schultz, proposed the concept of “enterprise branding”. According to their perception, an enterprise brand represents not only the organization, what a corporate brand does, but also all Stakeholders engaged by its purpose and in its activity. Thus, the enterprise brand not only emerges as a co-creation of all stakeholders, but is also driven by the identity they create together and define for themselves, supported by the interdependent activity that ranges from buying and selling products and services, to dialoguing about them in term of plans.
In a nut shell, “Co-creation” is a process between consumers and marketers that develops through a series of “encounters”. Marketers, pointed to it as community involvement and knowledge sharing which is a foundation for co-creation and stressing that consumers rarely engage in co-creation.

Dec 21, 2010

Promotion Effectiveness Through Customers Perspective: Measurements and Improvements

Promotions are used extensively in marketing, and promotional expenditure has been slowly but steadily increasing worldwide over the past few years. Highly competitive market places compel marketers to increase promotional spending; in the USA, fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) Fast Moving Consumer Goods manufacturers invest 25 per cent of their marketing budget in consumer promotions. Despite their diminishing returns, promotions cannot be disposed of, as they are permanent competitive ‘weapons’ for competitors. Moreover, promotional strategies are evolving due to the diffusion of a retention culture among companies with several major competition lines.
The new focus on retention shifts promotions from outside the point of sale to the inside, from mass Media to direct media, from one-size-fits-all to cluster marketing, from traffic building to share-of-wallet building efforts. Promotional plans grow in complexity, as massive adoption of loyalty schemes makes it necessary to integrate continuity promotions with short-term price promotion. Companies believe that customer information is vital source of competitive advantage for them. However, in order to move from mass to information-intensive marketing companies should not dissipate their efforts in many directions, but focus on a few priority areas of intervention, depending on their marketing mix and competitive position. The Promotion
At last the key points that companies mostly adopt to keep themselves on the top-of-mind state in the customers’ mind are as: They use promotions drain increasing amounts of financial resources and become more complex while their returns are diminishing; for companies will therefore strive for ways to improve effectiveness and to obtain additional resources by making loyalty investments pay for themselves from customers perspectives. At the same time, the retention culture and the availability of individual customer information bring customer-specific promotional objectives to marketers’ attention, urging them to rethink generic goals. The discovery of customer heterogeneity and the ability to carefully segment and target the customer base, coupled with efficient direct media such as e-mail, SMS and electronic coupons, create conditions to expand the variety of promotional tools and actions.
In this scenario, a customer-focused approach, as opposed to the current product-focused perspective increases the possibility of measuring promotional effectiveness in three dimensions: 1) objectives, in that not only sales volume and market share effects can be tracked but also increasingly important customer-specific ones. 2) Time, in that promotional effect can be traced for longer periods of time and the fulfillment of long-term goals can be measured. 3) Space, due to geo-marketing analysis, sense can be made of the variability of promotional response in different market.

Dec 12, 2010

How Consumers Elaborate a Brand Message!

Marketing researchers believes that much of television advertising is viewed under conditions of low involvement initiated a continuing interest in the nature and effects of low involvement in an brand message. While a brand manager has a different view like to understanding involvement focuses on the internal processes that occur during exposure to an advertisement. These processes are critical because they are determinants of the impact of the ad on attitude and knowledge. Although the cognitive processes involved in understanding an advertising message are complex but here I try my level best to make it simple for my readers as:
The processing of an ad can be partitioned into two phases, an initial very basic comprehension of the message and a subsequent elaboration. Comprehension is used here in a minimal sense, just recognizing the meaning of the elements of the ad "decoding" the stimulus. In the elaboration stage, internal responses to the decoded stimulus, including counter-arguments and inferences are generated. The comprehension and elaboration phases are not completely separable or independent. For example, they are both influenced by the activated object mean any product or service.Build Your Brand!
The important determinant is the individual's goal while viewing the ad and the strategy associated with that goal. Elaborations of consumers planning to purchase the advertised product will differ from those of viewers who would never buy or use it. In the first case, the goal may be brand evaluation, in the second case; the ad may be processed only because it is entertaining. In first case, a strategy for evaluating the advertised brand may guide elaborative processing while in other a very different elaborative process will occur. Each will leave in memory a little of the same basic knowledge of the ad and the advertised product, but much of the remembered knowledge will be different because of the difference in processing goals, strategies and resulting elaborations.
Similarly, Individuals with a brand evaluation goal have a recognized interest in the product. They may use strategies to acquire information about the product and to evaluate it for potential purchase. During exposure to an advertisement, their Schema for the product may be almost fully activated, elaborations about the brand may be generated, and relevant inferences may be linked to the brand in memory. Alternatively, individuals may direct their processing toward some other type of goal, such as entertainment. Perceiving an advertisement for its entertainment reward may be un-deliberate, but the entertainment reward is what maintains the viewing behavior and, in this sense, is the viewer's goal. Although entertainment may be the most common non-brand goal for such cases which a brand manager least noticed during strategies development. In a nut shell,Consumer Involvement could be conceptualized as a situation specific state variable of an individual when exposed to an advertisement.

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