Monday, July 13, 2009

Brand Elements: Identify Your Brand

Brand Elements
“Brand elements are those trademarkable devices that serve to identify and differentiate the brand and include brand names, URLs, logos, symbols, characters, spokespeople, slogans, jingles, packages, and signage.”

Each of the different brand elements can play a different role in building brand equity. The marketer must “mix” brand elements to achieve different objectives. For an FMCG brand, so the brand elements are of very much importance for us because they build brand equity. Brand elements indicate towards making brand identity. Brand identity reflects the contribution of all brand elements to awareness and image.
Some of the important Brand Elements are:
  • Brand names
  • URL’s
  • Logos
  • Symbols
  • Characters
  • Spokespeople
  • Slogans
  • Jingles
  • Packages
  • Signage

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Brand Activation: Bringing Your Brand To Life

Marketing, as we know, is all about waging war against competitive forces to win market share. For this purpose, marketers create warriors which win the perceptual battle for them, and these warriors are called BRANDS. Brands have proved their worth by earning premiums, decimating competitions and even beating time factors (as many brands are still leader as they were a century ago). Owing to this, marketers have stepped up their efforts to build their brands. They are building their marketing programs around their brands.

Today, marketplace is replete with competition. Opening up of economy has led to the entry of foreign brands into the marketplace. These brands are also adding to the chorus. Advertising has always been seen as main weapon to build brands by the brand managers. Excessive reliance on this form of communication has resulted in “over communication”. Ad clutter has been increasing gradually and the future shows no sign of relief. Not only has this, advertising also lost its credibility if we compare it to what it used to be decade back. Reasons are many: More knowledgeable customer, comparative advertising, internet etc. Therefore, marketers are exploring new ways of supporting their brand. One such method is called Brand Activation. Brand activation can be defined as marketing process of bringing a brand to life through creating brand experience. Next question now is what to activate? Generally, the core features or brand values of a brand are used for activation. That’s what every brand manager strives to achieve i.e. communicating their brand values to their target customers.

But a word of caution here: select only one or two features or brand values to activate. Don’t try to communicate each and every detail of your brand. One has to appreciate the fact that branding is based on the concept of singularity. This concept assumes a greater significance in case of services which are intangible in nature. Let me take example for both products and services to explain brand activation.

B.A. In Products:

Consider a hypothetical shaver brand “X”. Further assume that there are six other brands in this category. All brands are touting themselves as provider of smooth shave in their respective ads. But you are the smoothest one but how do you make your T.A believe of the same. B.A comes handy in case scenario. Create such a platform, where you can meet your T.A and give them free shave so that the can feel the “smoothness”. Allow them to interact with your brands as much as possible. You can do so with the help of road shows and exhibitions etc. Once you have done that, customers will be able to validate your claim. Also, they will relate to your ads.

B.A in Services:

It’s the people in services which actually activate your brand. Consider the case of insurance company which claims to be most caring company. But the problem is that every company is saying that. The company (lets say) which reaches the place of accident, will be considered as most caring.

Benefits of Brand Activation:

  1. You can convey your positioning using brand activation.
  2. It supports your ad claim if used carefully.
  3. Distortion is minimum in this case.
  4. It increases your brand salience.
  5. Helps in revitalizing a brand. Horlicks is doing it through its campaign which is trying to change its image from fuddy-duddy to an exciting brand among children. Their Wiz-Kid competition across the country is the perfect example of brand activation.
  6. Brand activation can elicit customer insights as people interact with the brand.

Limitations of Brand Activation:

  1. Lack of initiative on part of brand managers is the major concern.
  2. Lack of measurement matrices or indices is the limiting factor.

At the end, I would like to say that brand activation should not be confused with the below the line activities. Brand Activation is seen as a tool to build brands through interaction with its target people whereas below the line activities, most of the times, are sales oriented.

Source: BrandStreet

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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Interested in brand management? Take a look at a typical day in the life of an assistant brand management... and get ready for a lot of meetings.

8:30 Get into work. Listen to voice mails. Check e-mails. Print out calendar of today's events. Skim the Markets section of the Wall Street Journal to find out what's happening "on the street." Go to the cafeteria and grab breakfast. (Of course, you're only eating products that your company produces or has some relationship with!)

9:00 Meet with market research department to discuss specifics of your latest round of quantitative research. You are trying to understand why people are not repurchasing your product, but you don't feel that the data presented actually answers your questions. You decide that you'll need to design another round of research--but where's the money going to come from?

10:00 Budget meeting to determine how you will be spending 2nd quarter funds. Given the decision to spend more money on research, you might need to cancel an instant redeemable coupon or a local promotion in a poorly performing market.

10:30 You head to the long-awaited product development meeting. Your team has recently discussed reformulating your product to take advantage of new technology. This new technology may raise your product's performance levels, but it will cost more to manufacture and will take some advertising effort (and more money) to explain the changes to the consumer. The group must decide whether these changes are strategically and financially justified. As always, very few people agree. You decide to summarize all the costs and benefits to the project and present the issues to your brand manager at the status meeting you have scheduled for the end of the day.

12:00 A fancy lunch with a People magazine salesperson. For months the magazine has tried to convince you that your product should be advertised in People. During lunch the represenative explains to you how the publication can effectively reach x percent of your target audience and how it can provide you with the extended reach you need to communicate with potential new users. You leave lunch with a fancy People backpack and a headache. Where can I find the money to add People to my media plan? Let's ask the media department?

1:30 Media planning meeting. Because sales of your product have come in slightly under budget, you have been forced to give up 10 percent of your media budget. You now must meet with the media department to determine how to cut media funds without sacrificing your goals (to reach 20 percent of your target group, and to have a continuous presence on TV etc?..) Maybe you can cut out two weeks of TV in July when not many people are home anyway?.but is that your product's peak purchase cycle? Decisions, decisions?

2:30 Time to review changes to the latest advertising campaign. Your ad agency presented a new concept about three weeks ago that was a diamond in the rough. You and your brand manager made comments to the storyboard (drawing/copy that explains a commercial) and now you are anxious to see what the agency comes back with. You review the changes with the agency via conference call and promise to present the new work to your brand manager at your status meeting later in the day.

3:15 Keep the ad agency on the phone and bring in the in-house promotions department. This ad campaign will be blown out into a promotional campaign in the top 20 performing markets in the country. You want to make sure that before you get the promotions people working on a concept, they agree with the agency on the strategy going forward?the following 45 minutes is a creative brainstorming session that offers wonderful possibilities. You promise to type all ideas up and distribute them to the group later in the week?

4:00 Strategy development with sales manager. Your category manager is insisting that all brands work to gain a better presence in supermarkets. You meet with the regional sales manager to understand what types of strategies might work to get better shelf space and more consistent in-store promotions. Once you hear his/her ideas, you start to cost out options and see if this is possible within the current budget.

5:00 Status meeting with Brand Manager. You present the proposal for new research as well as the implications of the new product development issue. You also review the latest advertising changes and the changes to the media plan. You aggressively present your data and your opinion and discuss these with your boss. The two of you decide on next steps.

6:00 Back in the office you wrap up for the day. You spend an hour checking the 20+ email/voice mail messages you received during the day but failed to return. You go through your "in" box to read any documents relevant to your product. You start to attack all of the work you have to do and promise that tomorrow you'll block out some private time to make some progress.