Workshop on Branding by Ms. Vaishnavi
Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Centre of Excellence for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (AKCIE) on 15th and 16th February 2017 between 9.30am to 4pm conducted a workshop on Branding at the conference Hall, Arumugam Block, First year, second floor at Adayalampatu Campus. The event was facilitated by Dr. Rama Vaidyanathan, Director, AKCIE and the program was jointly headed by Dr. Jebaraj, Dean, Engineering and Science (E&S). The guest for the day Ms.Vaishnavi a branding expert was invited and was introduced by Dr. Vaidyanathan as the guest of honour to the audience. The faculties from first year E&S and AKCIE actively participated in the program.
Guest of Honour - Ms. Vaishnavi, Branding Expert
Branding has emerged as a top management priority in the last decade due to the growing realization that brands are one of the most valuable intangible assets that firms and institutions have. Driven in part by this intense industry interest, academic researchers have explored a number of different brand-related topics in recent years, generating scores of papers, articles, research reports, and books. This workshop identified certain influential work in the branding area, highlighting what has been learned from an academic perspective on important topics such as brand positioning, brand integration, brand-equity measurement, brand growth, and brand management. The workshop also outlined some gaps that exist in the research of branding and brand equity and formulates a series of related research questions.
Branding Decisions and Tasks
Brand positioning sets the direction of branding activities and programs—what the brand should and
should not be. Brand positioning involves establishing key brand associations in the minds of customers and other important constituents to differentiate the brand and establish (to the extent possible) competitive superiority. Besides the obvious issue of selecting tangible product attribute levels, two areas particularly relevant to positioning are the role of brand intangibles and the role of commercial images and reputation.
An important and relatively unique aspect of branding research is the focus on brand intangibles—aspects of the brand image that do not involve physical, tangible, or concrete attributes or benefits Brand intangibles are a common means by which marketers differentiate their brands with consumers (and transcend physical products. Intangibles cover a wide range of different types of brand associations such as actual or aspirational user imagery; purchase and consumption imagery; and history, heritage, and experiences.
The personalities attributed to brands fall into five main clusters: (1) sincerity, (2) excitement, (3) competence, (4) sophistication, and (5) ruggedness. It’s found that three of the five factors also applied to brands but that a “peacefulness” dimension replaced “ruggedness” and a “passion” dimension emerged instead of “competency.” It’s also found that different brand personality dimensions affected different types of people in different consumption settings. Its interpreted that these experimental results in terms of a “malleable self,” is composed of self-conceptions that can be made salient by a social situation. While the conceptual validity of this particular brand personality scale, the anthromorphism of a brand is common in both casual consumer conversation (e.g., “that brand is ‘hip’ ”) and advertising messages.
There is a personal component of the relationship between a brand and its customers. Examining the nature of relationships that customers have— as well as want to have—with companies, the views of brand-relationship quality as multifaceted and consisting of six dimensions beyond
loyalty or commitment along which consumer brand relationships vary: (1) self-concept connection,
(2) commitment or nostalgic attachment, (3) behavioural interdependence, (4) love/passion, (5) intimacy, and (6) brand-partner quality. There are two factors—experiencing a transgression and the personality of the brand—had a significant influence on developmental form and dynamics. Even the relationship norms varied for two types of relationships: exchange relationships, in which benefits are given to others to get something back, and communal relationships, in which benefits are given to show concern for others ‘needs.
Experiential marketing is an important trend in marketing thinking. Through several books and articles, has developed the concept of customer experience management (CEM), which defines it as the process of strategically managing a customer’s entire experience with a product or company. Brands can help to create five different types of experiences:
• Sense experiences involving sensory perception;
• Feel experiences involving affect and emotions;
• Think experiences which are creative and cognitive;
• Act experiences involving physical behavior and incorporating individual actions and lifestyles; and
• Relate experiences that result from connecting with a reference group or culture.
Image and Reputation
Corporate brands—versus product brands—are more likely to evoke associations of common products and their shared attributes or benefits, people and relationships, and programs and values.
Distinguishing between corporate associations related to corporate ability (i.e., expertise in producing and delivering product and/or service offerings) and those related to corporate social responsibility (i.e., character of the company with regard to societal issues), such as treatment of employees and impact on the environment. The corporate redibility as the extent to which consumers believe that a company is willing and able to deliver products and services that satisfy customer needs and wants. They showed that successfully introduced brand extensions can lead to enhanced perceptions of corporate credibility and improved evaluations of even quite dissimilar brand extensions. They also showed that corporate marketing activity related to product innovation produced more favorable evaluations for a corporate brand extension than corporate marketing activity related to either the environment or, especially, the community. In addition, extending the thinking on consumer-brand relationships to consider consumer company relationships, adopting a social identity theory perspective to argue that perceived similarity between consumer and company identities play an important role in relationship formation.
Assessing Brand Performance
To manage brands properly, there must be a clear understanding of the equity in their brands— what makes them tick and what they are worth. Two interesting subareas of this topic are the measurement and valuation of brand equity at different levels— customer, product market, and financial market—and the relationship of customer equity to brand equity.
Measuring Brand Equity
In recognition of the value of brands as intangible assets, increased emphasis has been placed on understanding how to build, measure, and manage brand equity. There are three principal and distinct perspectives that have been taken by academics to study brand equity.
1. Customer based
From the customer’s point of view, brand equity is part of the attraction to—or repulsion from—a particular product from a particular company generated by the “nonobjective” part of the product offering, i.e., not by the product attributes per se. While initially a brand may be synonymous with the product it makes, over time through advertising, usage experience, and other activities and influences it can develop a series of attachments and associations that exist over and beyond the objective product. Importantly, brand equity can be built on attributes that have no inherent value and can be counterproductive in consumer decision making.
2. Company based
From the company’s point of view, a strong brand serves many purposes, including making advertising and promotion more effective, helping secure distribution, insulating a product
from competition, and facilitating growth and expansion into other product categories. Brand equity from the company perspective is therefore the additional value (i.e., discounted cash flow) that accrues to a firm because of the presence of the brand name that would not accrue to an equivalent unbranded product. In economic terms, brand equity can be seen as the degree of “market inefficiency” that the firm is able to capture with its brands.
3. Financial based.
From a financial market’s point of view, brands are assets that, like plant and equipment, can and frequently are bought and sold. The financial worth of a brand is therefore the price it brings or could bring in the financial market. Presumably this price reflects expectations about the discounted value of future cash flows. In the absence of a market transaction, it can be estimated, albeit with great difficulty, from the cost needed to establish a brand with equivalent strength or as a residual in the model of the value of a firm’s assets. Comprehensive models of brand equity have been developed in recent years to incorporate multiple perspectives. Each of the three brand-equity measurement perspectives has produced relevant work.
Co-Branding and Brand Alliances
Brand alliances— where two brands are combined in some way as part of a product or some other aspect of the marketing program—come in all forms and have become increasingly prevalent. Comparing co-brands to the notion of “conceptual combinations” in psychology and showed how carefully selected brands could be combined to overcome potential problems of negatively correlated attributes. Consumers’ attitudes toward a brand alliance could influence subsequent impressions of each partner’s brands (i.e., spillover effects existed), but these effects also depended on other factors such as product “fit” or compatibility and brand “fit” or image congruity. Although a co-branded ingredient facilitated initial expansion acceptance, a self-branded ingredient could lead to more favorable long-run extension evaluations. In other words, borrowing equity from another brand does not necessarily build equity for the parent brand.
Influences on Brands
Brands are made, not born. The process of their construction is complex. From producers point of view there is a reduced form, “stimulus-response” style simplicity to it: (1) the researchers takes
actions (e.g., the marketing mix) and that leads to (2) customer mental responses towards the brand
(perceptions, beliefs, attitudes, and so on). These perceptions (and the resulting willingness to pay) in turn lead to (3) customer behavior in the product market (e.g., sales), which in turn generates (4) financial value in general and stock market and market capitalization in particular.
Branding and brand management has clearly become an important management priority for all types of organizations. Academic research has covered a number of different topics have collectively advanced our understanding of brands. To put the academic literature in marketing in some perspective, it could be argued that there has been somewhat of a preoccupation with brand extensions and some of the processes that lead to the development of brand equity. By contrast, there has been relatively limited effort directed toward exploring the financial, legal, and social impacts of brands. In terms of methodology, considerable effort has been devoted to controlled experimentation (often with student subjects), although some work has focused on choice modeling of scanner data. Little integration of these two streams with each other or the qualitative work on branding has appeared.
Upon reflection, it may seem that some of these research questions are fairly uncontroversial. Further, there undoubtedly exists some research which bears, at least tangentially, on all of them.
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