Brand Building Process

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Brand building process refers to enhancing a brand’s equity directly through advertising campaigns and indirectly through promotions.

A well-planned brand building process follows many sequential steps, which are contextual, and thus cannot be generalized for all brands.

Brand Building Process

A generic view of brand building process shall consist of the following bare minimum essential steps:

  • Step 1: Deciding what to brand
  • Step 2: Knowing the customer
  • Step 3: Mission & Value proposition of offering
  • Step 4: Finding the market position
  • Step 5: Create the right impression

Step 1: Deciding what to brand

The first step is to answer the question as to what is being branded. Companies and practising managers usually do confuse because of the ambiguity on branding the company, product or service. This increases brand equity and creates a virtuous circle of recognition.

The alternative is to build a business full of brands: this can be very expensive, time-consuming and confusing for your customers. However, sometimes it is simply the best solution. It is advisable to create a stand-alone profit centre for each brand under such circumstances.

Step 2: Knowing the customer

Research is key to building a successful brand. Once the true customers of the product or service offering have been identified, it is easy for the company to target them cost-effectively with little or no waste. Understanding their needs, wants and desires provides a platform to build on the process of brand building.

Step 3: Mission & Value proposition of offering

Once it has been understood as to who are the customers, the next step is to structure the effort in terms of the visions, mission and the value proposition being offered through the product or service offering.

Step 4: Finding the market position

The process of finding a place to build your brand in your market and in minds of customers is called Positioning. Positioning is the precise job of differentiating your offering, then slotting it into a free spot in the market to fulfil an unfilled need. Having completed your market research, you should know who your customers are, but more importantly, you should know who is most likely to want what you’re selling.

You should know their needs and desires, where they are, how to target them, what kind of messages will motivate them to buy from you, and what kind of customer experience will make them loyal to your brand.

The next step is to frame an effective marketing communication strategy. Designing a marketing and communications strategy requires the big-picture insight that guides the marketing activity and makes sure all activities add up to success. A good core strategy gives a special kind of high-level direction.

Step 5: Create the right impression

The average consumer faces numerous promotional messages every day. They only tune into messages that appeal to their wants and needs. They ignore messages for offerings they already buy from a trusted supplier. Unless, the offering presented is unique, attractive, different and better.

To grab their attention – and win their custom – you need to be all of these things. This has been associated with a fundamental psychological error of stereotyping. When brands of competing products appear to be similar, it creates clutter in the mind of the consumer.

The brad requires a face and voice that is a unique, simple and strong representation of the business. It should reflect your brand character and embody the promise made to customers. It must be consistent in image and tone across all marketing communications. It must be targeted in message and powerful enough to grab the customer’s attention – and win their custom.

Brand Building Factors

Several factors are crucial in building successful brands, as illustrated below:

  1. Quality
  2. Positioning
  3. Repositioning
  4. Communications
  5. First Mover advantage
  6. Long term perspective
  7. Internal marketing

Quality

Quality is a vital ingredient of a good brand. Remember the “core benefits” – the things consumers expect. These must be delivered well, consistently. The branded washing machine that leaks, or the training shoe that often falls apart when wet will never develop brand equity.

Positioning

Positioning is about the position a brand occupies in a market in the minds of consumers. Strong brands have a clear, often unique position in the target market. Positioning can be achieved through several means, including brand name, image, service standards, product guarantees, packaging and the way in which it is delivered.

Repositioning

Repositioning occurs when a brand tries to change its market position to reflect a change in consumer’s tastes. This is often required when a brand has become tired, perhaps because its original market has matured or has gone into decline.

Communications

Communications also play a key role in building a successful brand. We suggested that brand positioning is essentially about customer perceptions – with the objective to build a clearly defined position in the minds of the target audience.

First Mover advantage

Business strategists often talk about first-mover advantage. In terms of brand development, by “first-mover” they mean that it is possible for the first successful brand in a market to create a clear positioning in the minds of target customers before the competition enters the market. There is plenty of evidence to support this.

Long term perspective

This leads to another important factor in brand-building: the need to invest in the brand over the long-term. Building customer awareness, communicating the brand’s message and creating customer loyalty takes time. This means that management must “invest” in a brand, perhaps at the expense of short-term profitability.

Internal marketing

Finally, management should ensure that the brand is marketed “internally” as well as externally. By this, we mean that the whole business should understand the brand values and position. This is particularly important in service businesses where a critical part of the brand value is the type and quality of service that a customer receives.

Reference

  • V. S. Ramaswamy, S. Namakumari; 2009; Marketing Management; MacMillan Publishers Pvt Ltd.
  • Kotler, Keller, Koshy, Jha; 2009; 13th Edition; Marketing Management: A South Asian Perspective.

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