A brand is a name, term, sign, symbol, association, trademark or design which is intended to identify the products or services of one provider or group of providers, and to differentiate them from those of competitors. A brand has functional and emotional elements which create a relationship between customers and the product or service.
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Brand attributes are the functional and emotional associations which are assigned to a brand by its customers and prospects. Brand attributes can be either negative or positive, and can have different degrees of relevance and importance to different customer segments, markets and cultures. Brand attributes are the basic elements for establishing a brand identity.
A brand audit is a comprehensive and systematic examination of a brand involving activities (both tangible and intangible) to assess the health of the brand, uncover its sources of equity and suggest ways to improve and leverage that equity. The brand audit requires the understanding of brand equity sources from the perspective of both the firm and the consumer.
Brand awareness is a common measure of marketing communications effectiveness. Brand awareness is measured as the proportion of target customers which has prior knowledge of the brand. It is measured by two distinct measures; brand recognition and brand recall. Brand recognition is the customers’ ability to confirm prior exposure/knowledge of a brand when shown or asked explicitly about the brand (also referred to as aided or prompted awareness). Brand recall is the customers’ ability to retrieve a brand from memory when given the product category but not mentioning of the brand (also referred to as spontaneous or unaided awareness).
Brand champions are internal and external story tellers who spread the brand vision, brand values and cultivate the brand in an organization. Every organization needs committed and passionate brand champions. The more employees the organisation can turn into brand champions, the better will it be equipped to build and maintain strong brand equity. Singapore Airlines, L’Oreal, Harley Davidson, Nike, Google and LEGO are well-known examples of companies which benefit tremendously from their employees being strong and dedicated brand champions.
Strong brands are managed by organizations characterized by their strong internal brand cultures. A strong brand culture is determined by the internal attitudes towards branding, management behavior and practices of an organization. These combined efforts are crucial to build and maintain strong brand equity through competitive advantages from branding. The most prominent person to lead these efforts is the CEO and the senior management team.
The brand equity concept stresses the importance of a brand in marketing strategies, and has become a leading indicator in measuring the strength and value of a brand. Brand equity is defined in terms of the marketing effects uniquely attributable to the brand. Brand equity relates to the fact that different outcomes result in the marketing of a product or service because of its brand name, as compared to if the same product or service did not have that name. Brand equity can be measured across different dimensions like brand awareness, brand loyalty, perceived quality, brand associations etc.
Brand Equity Strategy
An organization wants to build and maintain strong brand equity for the respective brands in their portfolio including the corporate brand. The brand equity strategy serves as a guide for these marketing efforts and illustrates the plans and tactics needed to meet the brand objectives.
The brand essence is an articulation of the “heart and soul” of the brand. A brand essence is typical three to five short word phrases that capture the core essence or spirit of the brand positioning and the values characterizing the brand. The brand essence is the description which defines a brand and the guiding vision of the brand.
Branding Excellence is both an indicator of brand strength and a unique measure of the brand leadership capabilities of an organization. Strong brands create profitable businesses, and organizations must seek to obtain branding Excellence to benefit and leverage fully from branding. A strong brand is characterized by a unique brand promise, and an outstanding brand delivery, and branding excellence measures this balance and the outcome including guidance on how to improve. Branding Excellence measures and describes how brand leadership internally in a corporation can add significant value in terms of brand strength and brand value.
The exposure of a brand to a broader target customer market, geographic market, or distribution channels.
The application of a brand beyond its initial range of products, or outside of its category. This becomes possible when the brand image and attributes have contributed to a perception with the consumer/user where the brand and not the product is the decision driver.
Brand guidelines are internal tools available in an organization to educate, reinforce and motivate all involved in building and maintaining strong brands. Brand guidelines are crucial in establishing and enhancing a strong and dedicated brand culture. The brand guidelines can take various forms and methods, and could consist of brand vision, brand identity, brand strategy guidelines, a short description of the brand, brand values, brand positioning, positioning guidelines, communication tips, writing style guidelines, design style guidelines, and company-wide contact details to obtain more information from central brand management.
A unique set of functional and mental associations the brand aspires to create or maintain. These associations represent what the brand should ideally stand for in the minds of customers, and imply a potential promise to customers. It is important to keep in mind that the brand identity refers to the strategic goal for a brand while the brand image is what currently resides in the minds of consumers.
A unique set of associations within the minds of target customers which represent what the brand currently stands for and implies the current promise to customers. The brand image is what is currently in the minds of consumers, whereas brand identity is aspirational from the brand owners’ point of view.
Brand loyalty is the strength of preference for a brand compared to other similar available brand options. It is measured through a range of different dimensions e.g. repeat purchase behavior, price sensitivity.
Brand management is the process of managing an organisation’s brand or portfolio of brands in order to maintain and increase long-term brand equity and financial value. Brand management is applied by the person or group responsible for designing brand identities, aligning them for maximum effectiveness, ensuring that they are not compromised by tactical actions, evaluating effectiveness of brand communication programs, valuing financial brand value, and designing appropriate brand crisis management plans among many other strategic and tactical tasks.
Brand mapping is a research technique to identify and visualize the core positioning of a brand compared to competing brands on various dimensions.
The brand personality is the brand image or brand identity expressed in terms of human characteristics. The brand personality must ideally include distinguishing and identifiable characteristics which offer consistent, enduring and predictable messages and mental perceptions.
Brand positioning is the “market space” a brand is perceived to occupy in the mind of the target audience. All strong marketing communications programs need to focus on only few messages to achieve better impact in an increasingly noisy environment. The brand positioning is the part of the brand identity that management decides to actively communicate to the market.
Brand Positioning Statement
A brand positioning statement describes the “mental space” a brand should occupy in the minds of a target audience. It serves as an internal document which guides most of a company’s marketing communications strategies, programs and tactics. The brand positioning statement focuses on the elements and associations which meaningfully set a brand apart from the competition. It is typically constructed in the following format: “To (target market), Brand X is the brand of (frame of reference) that (point of difference) because (reasons).
A measure of the ability of the brand to dominate its product category.
Brand recall is the customers’ ability to retrieve a brand from memory when given the product category but not mentioning of the brand (also referred to as spontaneous or unaided awareness).
Brand recognition is the customers’ ability to confirm prior exposure/knowledge of a brand when shown or asked explicitly about the brand (also referred to as aided or prompted awareness).
Brand relevance is the alignment of a brand, its brand attributes, brand identity and brand personality with the primary needs and wants of the target audience.
Brand revitalization of a fading brand or a portfolio of brands is sometimes necessary for an organization. Changes in the marketing environment, competitors’ strategies, consumer behavior, evolutions of cultures and many other factors can lead to erosion of the brand equity over time. A brand revitalization program is involving strategies to recapture lost sources of brand equity and ways to identify and establishing new sources of brand equity for the brand or the brand portfolio.