Brand understanding

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To have an effective marketing strategy is to evaluate and understand how importance of a brand meaning. Through some articles and research, a brand can be seen through the following three points:
1. The definition, characteristics and architecture of a brand
2. Global versus local brand
3. Brand extensions
This paper’s purpose is to summarize the significant aspects of the definition, characteristic and architecture of a brand.

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Brand understanding

  1. 1. BRAND UNDERSTANDING To have an effective marketing strategy is to evaluate and understand how importance of a brand meaning. Through some articles and research, a brand can be seen through the following three points: 1. The definition, characteristics and architecture of a brand 2. Global versus local brand 3. Brand extensions This paper’s purpose is to summarize the significant aspects of the definition, characteristic and architecture of a brand. 1. The definition, characteristics and architecture of a brand DEFINITION: Chernatony and Riley (1998) figured out the brand definitions from the literature and experts’ interpretations. According to Chernatony and Riley (1998), it can be argued that there are so many ways to define a brand such as twelve main themes in the literature [see Figure 1 below]: Figure 1. Antecedents and Consequences to the Brand Construct (Chernatony and Riley, 1998, p.426)
  2. 2. However, as Chernatony and Riley (1998) stated, it should be realised that, though comprehensive, no coverage of the literature can ever be thoroughly exhaustive; hence, additional literature might have produced further themes. Moreover, the proposed construct of a brand is based on a necessarily subjective interpretation of the literature. As they also mentioned in the literature review, the twelve themes are not entirely mutually exclusive and there is a certain degree of overlap among the tangible and intangible aspects of the brand assumed by each definition (p.425). As a consequence, to the brand's holistic strategic direction as the source of brand positioning (p.427). In addition to this, Chernatony and Riley (1998) suggested to setting the boundaries of the brand construct. The brand exists mainly by virtue of a continuous process whereby the values and expectations imbued in the brand object (product or service) are set and enacted by the firm's staff and interpreted and redefined by the consumers, so that (p.428): Figure 2. The model as a simplified representation of the cyclical process through which the brand becomes the interface between the firm's activities and consumers' interpretation (Chernatony and Riley, 1998, p.428) To illustrate this point, Chernatony and Riley (1998) has argued that perceived value is the consumer's overall assessment of the "utility" of a brand, based on perceptions of what is received and what is given. As inputs to brand image, perceived quality and perceived value are within the boundaries of the brand construct. They help define the brand construct from the consumer's perspective, and provide feedback enabling firms to fine tune their brands' values. Chernatony and Riley (1998, p.431) reported the main findings from the interviews from some experts to compare the brand definitions with literature system above [see Figure 3 below]: Figure 3. Categorising Experts’ definitions of a “brand” (Chernatony and Riley, 1998, p.432) From their journal, Chernatony and Riley (1998, p.433) considered whether all experts had the same brand definition and they came to a conclusion that it unlikely that every brand consultant would have the same definition. However, in view of the fact that the brand is consultants' common focus of interest, they might adhere to similar brand concepts. Moreover,
  3. 3. they posited that the 1960 AMA's definition of brands is too restrictive, having insufficient regard for both intangible components and consumers' perceptions, which are essential aspects of the concept of the brand (p.434). In addition, they postulated that (p.436):   A brand represents the matching of functional and emotional values devised by a firm with the performance and psychosocial benefits sought by consumers The closer the match between the values of the brand and consumers' rational and emotional needs, the more successful the brand As they mentioned in the end (p.438), “In view of the different interpretation of brands in the literature, it is not improbable that managers will have different conceptualisations, leading to differences in strategic emphasis. However, all employees in the firm need to work together to ensure that the promises being made for the brand are consistent with consumers' experiences”. CHARACTERISTICS: According to Henderson et al. (2003), the brand characteristics can be designed based on the theoretical framework such as: Perception theories, Motivation theories and Cognitive theories. Figure 4 illustrates an overview of those theories: Figure 4. Theoretical relationships between design and response (Henderson et al., 2003, p.302) Henderson et al. (2003) propose four research questions to address the issues necessary to provide guidance to managers in Asia for using visual design to strengthen brands, as well as to furnish insights that should advance theory (p.302-303):     Are there underlying factors that capture multiple design characteristics within Asian countries Are there underlying factors that capture multiple responses to logo design within Asian countries? Can managers manipulate design characteristics to influence consumer responses to logos? Is there a regional perspective that explains the influence of design on responses to logos or are these relationships country-specific? By an effort to answer the above questions as synthesize the perspectives from many different sources, Henderson et al. (2003, p.311) led to so many conclusions such as future research should also include brand personality as part of the measurement of meaning. Brand personality consists of five dimensions: sincerity, excitement, competence, sophistication, and ruggedness, which can be measured by multi-item scales. Importantly, there are cross-cultural differences that
  4. 4. research and measurement need to take into account. This personality research should be extended to logo personality in an effort to improve the understanding of the determinants of logo meaning. ARCHITECTURE: According to Rajagopal & Sanchez (2004, p.233), Brands play a significant role in developing marketing strategies for specific product categories in a firm. A coherent international brand architecture is a key component of a firm’s overall marketing strategy as it provides a structure to leverage strong brands into other markets, assimilate acquired brands, and rationalise the firm’s branding strategy. Their article discusses how firms can develop brand architecture, and considers the factors that contribute in shaping the architecture. The managerial implications for marketing management and the impact of architecture on the brand hierarchy are also analysed. Their paper has the following objectives (p.234):     To examine the current perspectives on branding and brand architecture. To discuss the alternative brand structures and the underlying drivers, i.e. firm characteristics, product market structure and market dynamics. To analyse the importance of designing a clear and effective brand architecture and managing brands in order to maintain a harmonious balance within this architecture. To emphasise the need for an annual audit of the firm’s brand architecture and its fit with changes in the underlying drivers, as well as an assessment of key strategic brands within this architecture As first, Rajagopal & Sanchez (2004, p.237-238) indicated that the brand relationship spectrum, as suggested by Figure 5, is related to the driver role that brands play. The role of the driver reflects the degree to which a brand drives the purchase decision and experience of consumers on the usage of the product. A branded house uses a single master brand to span a set of offerings that operate with only descriptive sub-brands. The house-ofbrands strategy, in contrast, involves an independent set of stand-alone brands, each maximising the impact on a market. The house-of-brands strategy, however, clearly position brands on functional benefits and to dominate niche segments. Targeting niche markets with functional benefit positions is the main reason for using a house-of-brands strategy. Figure 5. Brand architecture constituents/ Brand architecture map (Rajagopal & Sanchez, 2004, p.238)
  5. 5. The categories of brands play significant roles in the process of brand architecture for a company by (p.237):     Creating coherence and effectiveness Allowing brands to stretch across the products and markets Stimulating the purchase decisions by brand drivers Targeting market niches and benefit positioning The principal attributes of the endorsed brand may be delineated as follows (p.238):     It incorporates the shadow brands It generates indirect market impact with mother brands It represents distinct product and market segments Endorsed brands operate independently of the mother brands in the market Rajagopal & Sanchez (2004, p.239) also figured out the market impact and brand hierarchy [see Figure 6 below]: Figure 6. Market impact and brand hierarchy (Rajagopal & Sanchez, 2004, p.239) In addition, the advantages of the corporate endorsement of the product brands include (p.240):      Building umbrella brands Establishing global corporate identity Developing customer confidence Monitoring key strategic brands Enhancing the brand value in the new segments As Rajagopal & Sanchez (2004, p.241-242) mentioned, a four quadrant matrix is the simplest way of illustrating the types of relationship involved, and the linkage between the brands, which is either strong or weak [see Figure 7]. Brand linkage is defined as the linkage made by customers between the brands involved. The brand interaction may be defined as the preferences and attributes of the brands across the categories that exist in the company or those that are easily available in the market. For example, Transaction I is characterized by strong brand linkage and close business relationships. Today’s world is characterised by more complex technology, and this can be extremely confusing to the people who are not technology minded. Brands can play an important role here by providing simplicity and reassurance to the uninitiated; offering a quick, clear guide to a variety of competitive products and helping consumers reach better and quicker decisions.
  6. 6. Figure 7. Business relationship matrix (Rajagopal & Sanchez, 2004, p.242) Furthermore, the branding strategy is also developed in accordance with the life cycle of the products and services (Rajagopal & Sanchez, 2004, p.243). Figure 8 shows the product life cycle approach to brand management, which considers the factors of the marketing mix. For example, in the second stage of the product life cycle, which emphasises growth of the product in the given market environment, the brand needs to be reinforced with a focus on expanding the consumer segment. The marketing mix strategies for product, promotion, place and price need to be developed accordingly by adjusting the product features, improving communication, providing comprehensive distribution and offering good price deals to the channels. Figure 8. Brand management: The product life cycle approach (Rajagopal & Sanchez, 2004, p.244)
  7. 7. As Rajagopal & Sanchez (2004, p.245) concluded, Brand architecture is not a static framework, but one that needs to be monitored and modified continually. Given the dynamic nature of international markets, however, and the changing competitive realities, the structure must be reviewed, at least annually. A brand architecture audit should be performed to ensure compliance with established procedures and to determine whether the structure of the architecture should be changed. This needs to take place on two levels. First, the degree to which individual strategic brands have adhered to established guidelines needs to be assessed. Secondly, the entire portfolio of brands has to be examined in terms of whether the overall brand architecture requires modification. The compliance audit may be defined as a bottom-up audit of the individual brands that allows an assessment of how well each functions as part of the overall brand architecture of the firm. The key steps of this phase are:    Collection of information that establishes how the brand has been used in each country where it is marketed Assessment of deviations from its established position in the structure and reasons for these Evaluation of the brand’s performance In addition (p.246), the brand architecture should incorporate all the firm’s existing brands, whether developed internally or acquired. It should provide a framework for consolidation in order to reduce the number of brands and strengthen the role of individual brands. Brands that are acquired need to be merged into the existing structure, especially where these brands occupy similar market positions to those of existing brands. REFERENCE LIST/ BIBLIOGRAPHY Aaker, D. A. (2009) Managing Brand Equity, [Online]. Available at: http://www.google.co.uk/books?hl=vi&lr=&id=r_TSY5sxn O8C&oi=fnd&pg=PT10&dq=pringles+brand+characteristics&ots=Au5KfkvWX6&sig=L8pdGo2_zRxTckhNohPP0k_r2F8&redir _esc=y#v=onepage&q=pringles%20brand%20characteristics&f=false [Accessed: 29th October 2013] Chernatony, L. D. & Riley, F. D. (1998) ‘Defining a “brand” beyond the literature with experts’ interpretations’, Journal of Marketing Management, Vol.14, Iss. 5, pp. 417-443, 1st February 2010 [Online]. Available at: http://www.tandfonline.com/ doi/abs/10.1362/026725798784867798#.UnBCcfnIZA4 [Accessed: 29th October 2013] Henderson, P.M., Cote, J. A., Leong, S. W. & Schmitt, B. (2003) ‘Building strong brands in Asia: selecting the visual components of image to maximize brand strength’, Intern. J. of Research in Marketing, pp. 297-313 John, D. R., Loken, B., Kim, K. & Monga, A. S. (2006) ‘Brand Concept Maps: A Methodology for Identifying Brand Association Networks’, Journal of Marketing Research, Vol. 43, pp. 549-563 Keller, K. L. (1999) ‘Managing Brands for the Long Run: Brand Reinforcement and Revitalization Strategies’, California Management Review, Vol. 41, No. 3, pp. 102-124 Rajagopal & Sanchez, R. (2004) ‘Conceptual analysis of brand architecture and relationships within product categories’ [Online]. Available at: http://prof-rajagopal.com/yahoo_site_admin/assets/docs/JBM_11_3_2004.29780842.pdf [Accessed: 29th October 2013] Small Business (2013) ‘Brand Characteristic’, Demand Media [Online]. th http://smallbusiness.chron.com/branding-characteristics-26266.html [Accessed: 29 October 2013] Available at:

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