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Potential Problems In Raising Brand Awareness
可口可乐、麦当劳、迪斯尼、耐克、索尼、微软这些公司之间有一个共同点,那就是他们都有全世界公认的强大品牌。那些已经确立的品牌名称为这些公司带来巨大的财富。毫无疑问,品牌是许多公司最宝贵的资产。正因为如此,仍有许多公司正在努力建立自己的品牌,现在大多数大型公司也已经采用了传统的品牌,以使他们自身更具竞争力。例如,虽然矿泉水是一种没有多大区别的产品,但雀巢以25亿美元收购了Perrier,因为Perrier的长期建立的品牌魅力非常宝贵。品牌名称的价值越来越大。截至1993年,最有价值的品牌名称是可口可乐其估计价值360亿美元(欧文1993)。2006年 世界10大最有价值品牌(排名顺序):可口可乐、微软、IBM、通用电气、英特尔、诺基亚、丰田、迪斯尼、麦当劳、和奔驰汽车。可口可乐的品牌价值为670亿美元,微软570亿美元, IBM 560亿美元。这些知名公司的品牌价值通常超过公司总市值的一半。
产品品牌-Product Branding
Using relevant examples from the public, non-profit and private sectors, discuss the reasons why different types of organizations might consider branding to be the most important aspect of their product or service. What are the potential problems with building brands?
One thing in common between Coca-Cola, McDonald, Disney, Nike, Sony, and Microsoft is that they all have powerful brands that are recognised all over the world. The well-established brand names have helped these companies generate enormous fortune. There is little doubt that brand names are the most valuable assets for many companies. For this reason, there are still many companies that are struggling to build their brand names and the majority of today’s large companies have taken the legacy of existing brands in order to make them more competitive. For example, although mineral water is an undifferentiated product, Nestle acquired Perrier for $2.5 billion because of the Perrier’s long established brand name that carried a charm invaluable to Nestle. There has been a growing interest in the value of brand names. As of 1993, the most valuable brand name was Coca-Cola with an estimated worth of $36 billion (Owen 1993). The world’s10 most valuable brands in 2006 were (in rank order): Coca-Cola, Microsoft, IBM, General Electric, Intel, Nokia, Toyota, Disney, McDonald, and Mercedes-Benz. Coca-Cola’s brand value was $67 billion, Microsoft’s $57 billion, and IBM’s $56 billion. With these well-known companies, brand value is typically over one-half of the total company market capitalization (Business Week 2006).#p#分页标题#e#
The reasons for such high worth of brand names include: (1) the costs of new product launch reaching approximately $100 million and high failure rates; (2) the reluctance of consumers to buy unfamiliar new products; and (3) high returns successful brands yield (Aaker 1991). Today’s successful companies have launched brands that create a wealth of perceptions, beliefs, attitudes, and experiences to turn a product and name into something to which the consumer relates. Their branding strategy has been developed to meet the needs and desires of consumers (Stobart 1994; Kochan 1996).
The focus of this essay is to look the reasons why most organizations considered branding as the most the important aspect of their products or services as well as looking at the potential problems when building a brand.
What is a Brand?
There is little doubt that brands are at the heat of marketing and business strategy. Strong brands can make companies win in today’s highly competitive marketplace. One may question, “How did a brand originate?” and “What does a brand mean?” The aim of this part is to answer these two questions and to examine the implications for branding.
The Origin of a Brand
According to Nilson (1998), the term “brand” originated from the Scandinavian word for “branna’,” meaning “to burn a mark on something.” The Swedish word for fire is “brand.” In the earliest days of farming, farmers or ranchers put their symbols on the cattle with the help of a hot iron in order to assert their right to ownership (Kochan 1996; Nilson 1998). Since then, branding has been used in order to claim someone’s ownership of a good or service.
Literatures show that the first example of branding is the manufacture of oil lamps in the Greek islands. During this time, people bought a primitive form of oil lamp, but the quality of the lamp varied. People could not tell between a good and bad lamp when they made purchase. For this reason, craftsmen in one Greek island started to put a special symbol on their long-lasting lamp so that people can distinguish their products from less-lasting lamps produced by others. They branded their goods so that they could differentiate their product and, presumably, charge a premium price (Nilson 1998). Similarly, today many companies seek to build brands so that consumers can pick their products not those of others.
The Definition of a Brand
According to Brassigton and Pettitt a brand is the “creation of a three-dimensional character for product, defined in terms of name, packaging. Colours, symbols etc., that helps to differentiate it from its competitors, and helps the customer to develop a relationship with the product” (Brassigton and Pettitt 2003, p. 1099). Some experts have, however, argued that it is dangerous to adopt one single definition of a brand because there are many other things to be taken into account. They insist that brand definitions should be categorised under six headings: (1) visual; (2) perceptual; (3) positioning; (4) added value; (5) image; and (6) personality (Nilson 1998). In addition, we need to look at other meanings in order to have a better understanding of a brand. There are two representative models – brand image and brand identity that are different from each other. Brand image refers to the image of a brand that exists in the minds of consumers as a result of all the information they have received about the brand, from experience, word of mouth, advertising, packaging, service and so on; the information is modified by selective perception, previous beliefs, social norms, forgetting (Randall 1997).#p#分页标题#e#
Companies can control their brand images as long as they understand the essence and expression of their brand. The four dimensions form the essence at the centre. The brand identity, such as the brand’s name, logo, colours, tagline, and symbol (Kotler 2003), becomes strong only when the four dimensions support each other constantly. If any quadrant is weak, or sending conflicting messages, then resulting image in consumers’ minds will be confused (Randall 1997).
Reasons why most organizations consider branding to be the most important aspect of their products or service:
A brand is a necessity for a business and – whether the manager likes it or not – a business will have a brand profile. Working closely with the brand, rather than in the classical business sense of leaving it to the customers to work out what to think about the company, will give the organization some distinct advantages.
The importance of branding in a private organization can be summarized in two categories: first it is financially beneficial for the company, and second it gives the employees a sense of purpose. For the purpose of boosting morale, a brand that the employees can be proud of, and feel a sense of belonging to, can have considerable positive effect on the morale in a company (Nilsoon 1998). One example is the Virgin group where founder Richard Branson’s very high profile and clear statements about company purpose serve as morale booster for the whole group. Similar effects appear to be at play at Microsoft, where a strong sense of identity with the company – and consequently with the brand – pushes employees to high levels of productivity and, not least, loyalty (Nilson 1998).
For profit making purposes, a strong brand in a private sector creates barriers to entry. The stronger the brand values of the leading brands in a sector, the stronger the reputation of the main competitors and the more difficult it is for other players to enter the market. Brands also often represent continuity which is important in the sense of keeping customer relations. Having a strong brand does create economies of scale, not least in communication. A well-established and correctly built brand will in an instant communicate a distinct set of values (such as trustworthy, reliable and leading-edge) much quicker and more effectively than any expensive commercial (Nilson 1998).
Branding helps a firm to introduce a new product that carries the name of one or more of its existing products, because buyers are already familiar with the firm’s existing brands. For example, Heinz regularly introduces new tinned products. Since consumers are used to buying the brand and have a high regard for its quality, they are likely to try the new offerings. Branding also facilitates promotional efforts because the promotion of each branded product indirectly promotes all other products that are similarly branded (Dibb et al 1997).#p#分页标题#e#
Branding also helps seller by fostering brand loyalty. Brand loyalty is a strongly motivated and long decision to purchase a product or service. To the extent that buyers become loyal to a specific brand, the company’s market share for that product achieve a certain level of stability, allowing the firm to use its resources more efficiently. When a firm succeeds in fostering some degree of customer loyalty to a brand, it can charge a premium price for the product (Dibb et al 1997). For example, Consumers are loyal to buy Armani because they appreciate its status and fashionable values, and Apple computers because they appreciate their creative and human values. These values reflect and enhance the consumer’s sense of him/himself and provide a key source of brand differentiation (Kochan 1996).
Similarly, the importance of branding in the public sector cannot be under-estimated. While it remains an essential part in the day to day running of private sectors for the purpose of maximising profits, the profit making purpose is however less significant with public sectors. A distinct example of branding in the public sector is the NHS. Rather than being portrayed as a brand for profit making, the aim of the NHS is provide adequate health care service for the nation. Due to the virtual non-existence of an aim of making profits, there is little or no competition for the NHS, therefore there ought to be other reasons for their various forms of branding. A significant example of the essence of branding for the NHS is their association with life saving ventures such as safe sex practices and “quit smoking” campaigns (Lecturer’s Note 2006),. The various steps taken by the NHS to encourage safe sex practices through the television and newspaper adverts ensure that they are easily associated with any life saying adverts and their “NHS” brand once seen on TV means a life saving advert is coming on. Even though, this is not fore the sake of making profits but people start taking them more seriously, likewise what they preach, thereby achieving the ultimate goal of saving lives (Lecturer’s Note 2006). Like the private companies, they spend some money on adverts and branding but more emphasis is on profit making by the private companies than the public companies. Essentially, branding is a way of getting attention and developing a relationship with target audiences and this is especially important for public organizations with little or no aim of profit making. The competitiveness brought about by branding in the public sector is therefore targeted at getting audiences rather than making more profits than private companies (Colyer 2006).
Furthermore, branding for non-profit making organizations is as important as those for private and public organizations albeit with a slightly different aim and approach. The aim of competition is as important for non-profit making organizations as it is important for private organizations. Branding here is therefore aimed at building a better relationship with supporters, thereby establishing greater trust in the organization. Interestingly, it may be surprising to find out that competition among non profit making organizations such as various charities may be as fierce as private organizations. This competition is however aimed at making one’s charity the most important in the minds of the people than other charities. For example, the impact of branding by the NSPCC may be the outstanding factor that determines if to donate money to them rather than the heart foundation. Similarly, the charities we choose to support may be borne out of the fact that a significant aspect of its branding appeals to us more than other types (Lecturer’s Note 2006). While most charities aim to save lives, the branding may be geared towards making the life saving purpose more urgent than others. The different Tsunami charities set up in 2004 after the Tsunami tragedy as part of their branding gave vivid views of devastating events in Asia as they set out to outdo one another in donations, even though they were for the same course. In this case, the competitive nature of branding may be said to be, to generate as much funds as possible for a similar course rather than for making profits (Mitchell 2005).#p#分页标题#e#
在提高品牌知名度过程中的潜在问题-Potential problems in raising brand awareness
The power of a well-known brand name, supported by strong advertising, is so great (and long lasting) that 20 of the top 25 leading brands in 2005 were also among the top 25 in 2006. But companies are finding it increasingly difficult to attract the customer’s attention and create brand awareness because of the clutter of new products, brands, and advertising in the environment. Thus, approximately 90% of new products are pulled from the market within two or three years of their introduction. Most of them failed for lack of name recognition – consumers were just not aware of them (Morgan 1999; Bulkeley 1991).
The risks of creating a new brand are so great that many companies are developing so-called line extensions. Rather than developing a new brand name, marketers are applying their existing, well-known brand name to new products. Red Bounty (with dark chocolate), Coca-Cola Light, and Ariel Colour are but a few well-known examples. Building name recognition can be very difficult and very expensive, especially for small companies. Market leaders often command budget upon 10 times greater than smaller companies. For instance, Nike and Reebok spend about $100 million. Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola can afford to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on extensive advertising campaigns (Pereira 1991).
Customer Factors
Some customers like to seek variety in their experience; they get bored with the same product or life experience. Other customers like change and variety and are happy with old. The variety-seeking customers may switch from one brand to another, not because they are dissatisfied with the first brand’s performance and other values, but rather simply for the sake of change and variety. The more variety seeking a customer is, the less brand loyal he is likely to be (Sheth et al 1999).
In conclusion, the key to developing a brand vision is to assess the values of the organization, distil them into a vision and not tamper or interfere with the vision’s simplicity and power. Consistency and clarity are all-important. Coke forgot the strength and simplicity of its existing product values when it tried re-launching its much loved product under the banner of ‘New Formula’ (Coca cola Seminar Video 2006). Conversely, Mars understood perfectly its existing product values when it launched Mars ice cream on the back of the Mars bar. Design and presentation of the product flows from the values. Coherence is once again the name of the game. The presentation of the packaging, the use of the logo, the typeface all need to accord with the brand values and be internally consistent with Cost effectiveness (Nilson 1998; Kochan 1996). Nevertheless, it is clear that branding plays an important role in the private; public as well as non-profit sector. However, a company raise profit if it builds a strong brand name. The company can benefit if consumers buy its brand in preference to other brands, and it gains more benefits if this preference maintains for long periods. If customers perceive one brand as superior, then they become less sensitive to price. Rather, they will be willing to pay more for the brand they like. Such brand loyalty allows the company to charge more and thus generate healthy cash flows. It also makes it harder for competitors to enter the market. Building a brand has become concern for every business. Brands are, therefore, at the heart of marketing and business strategy.#p#分页标题#e#
Aaker, D. A., (1991), Managing Brand Equity: Capitalising on the Value of a Brand Name, New York: The Free Press
Business Week, (2006), ‘The World's 10 Most Valuable Brands’
Colyer, E., (2006), ‘Branding in public’, http://brandchannel.com/features_effect.asp?pf_id=310#more
Kochan, N., (1996), ‘The World’s Greatest Brands’ London: McMillan Business, 1996, pp. x-xi
Kotler, P., (2003), Marketing Management, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall
Lecturer (2006), ‘Lecturer’s handout and Coca cola Seminar video’ Birkbeck College
Mitchell, B. (2005), ‘Make Poverty History – passion statement’
Morgan, A., (1999), Eating the Big Fish, New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc
Nilson, T. H., et al., (1998), Competitive Branding: Winning in the Marketplace with Value-Added Brands. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons
Nissim, B., (2004), ‘Nonprofit Branding: Unveiling the Essentials’
Ourosoff, A., (1994), ‘Brands: What’s Hot? What’s Not?’, Financial World, Aug. 1994, pp. 240-55
Owen, S., (1993), ‘The Landor Image Power Survey: a Global Assessment of Brand Strength’, in Brand Equity and Advertising, ed. Aaker, D. A., et a. Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates
Pereira, J., (1991), ‘Name of the Game: Brand Awareness’, The Wall Street Journal, 14 Feb. 1991, pp. B1, B4
Randall. G., (1997), Branding, London: Kogan Page
Sheth, J. N., et al, (1999), Customer Behaviour: Customer Behaviour and Beyond. Fort Worth: The Dryden Press
Stobart, P., (1994), Brand Power, London: The Macmillan Press Ltd

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