Strategic brand managements goal is to develop strong consumer based brand equity. To reach these goal companies have to design and execute well thought marketing programs. However, task does not end at executing marketing programs, companies to have to construct brand equity measurement system to understand the impact of on consumer mind. One thing to understand and accept is that consumer is the king, so focus should always remain towards consumer. If the brand has positive consumer brand equity than it is going to create loyal customer base that is going to respond to marketing initiatives. However, if the brand has negative brand equity than the future of brand and company itself is in danger.
The power of brand equity comes from strength of brand knowledge within consumer mind. Brand knowledge consists of brand awareness and brand image. Brand awareness is the consumers ability to be recognized or recall the brand under various circumstances. Brand awareness is about creating deep attachment so that brand can instantly recognize and where-in consumer only thinks of the brand as a consumption option. Brand image is physical elements like logos, symbol, packaging, etc. and besides product itself in terms of quality, service, low maintenance, etc. These types of physical and product related association contributes towards a strong brand image.
Brand knowledge alone cannot be enough to build consumer based brand equity rather other attributes associate play a critical role. Marketing programs developed has to clearly highlight qualities of product in a consistent manner throughout marketing programs. Furthermore, marketing programs should highlight product related and non-product related features as to create impact in consumer mind. Marketing programs developed should not just focus on the differential effect by highlighting a point of difference from competitors but also show points of similarity that has to maintain focus on the product category.
Brand equity equates into in-numerable advantages for the company. Brands which enjoy strong brand equity charge a price premium which is not available to other players in that category. Products with strong brand equity can command great respect and attention in the distribution channel. Furthermore, marketing programs developed by the company always receives a favorable response from consumers. Brand with strong brand equity can take the brand extension decisions with considerable confidence.
Brand can be built only after persistent and well thought out strategy framework. Brand building starts with the choice of brand elements like symbol logos, etc. which transfer into a significant, unforgettable, defendable brand. Formulation of marketing programs which highlight benefits associated with the product at the right price includes a distribution channel and perfect mix of communication in the form of advertisement, hoarding, etc. In addition products secondary connection like corporate brand, country of origin can be used to create more value for the brand. This was the first step in brand building exercise.
The second step is to develop marketing programs, which focus on brand awareness and brand image. Brand awareness provides brand with power of identification, power of recall, choice of purchase and consumption. Brand image provides brand with power to be associate with consistent quality, benefits, point of similarity and point of difference.
If the company is successful in implementing above to two steps then it has created strong brand equity. This brand equity will create loyal consumer whose first preference is the said brand, whose consumer is willing to pay a premium and support the brand through all marketing programs.
However, again the company has to monitor this brand equity and make sure it does not lose its prowess. This requires measuring of brand equity and management of brand equity. Measuring of brand equity involves calculating financial cash flow which marketing programs have been able to generate. It also involves a brand audit where every marketing plan is evaluated and benefits recorded. Management of brand equity involves expansion and extension plans, creating strategies to cater to different segment and markets.
If companies are not able to comprehend fully nature of the brand and its potential, if they are not able to invest time and resources, if they are not able to adapt with the dynamic environment then it more than likely that brand will fail. So companies have to be on their toes all the time.
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