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Brand Evolution

Brand Perspectives And Their Relationship With Consumers Prabuddh Banerjee

Brand Perspectives
Product and service brands have market and economic value, often expressed as market/brand equity Brands reflect the promise of an experience, a measure of quality, a gauge of worth and applicability

Brands are representations of the product and service competence of the source organization. Brands convey a summary promise and message of differentiation. They reflect an assurance of sorts

We live in a "brandscape"-a world in which we use brand beacons to guide our buying decisions Although some would prefer a no-logo world, brands have helped us decide what to buy for over 5000 years Have brands become too important?

Less important? Or more important than they have ever been? How do we understand this highprofile contemporary phenomenon?

Brand Evolution
Companies shape the creation and sustenance of market/brand equity in many ways In reality, brands are dynamic assets

Brand an Economic Entity

Their economic value is developed, managed and delivered in the context of evolving conditions - changing customer behaviors, managing competitive conditions, changing technology, changing societal and cultural patterns in the marketplace

Evolutionary Context
Within this evolutionary context, brands are managed. They are created, positioned, updated and finessed They are impacted by spending, operations, marketing and technical decisions

Value Addition
Over time, the economic value of a brand evolves. Brands face new opportunities and vulnerabilities They're shaped by new resources and strategies as well as risk factors and disinvestment

Brand Myopia
Managers, in general, understand little about the evolution of brands as dynamic assets because much of their attention is geared toward exploitation, not developing and delivering economic value

Evolving to Conquer
In nature, changes in the environment create the conditions that cause species to diverge. In business, changes in technology and in the cultural environment create the conditions that cause categories to diverge

TV has diverged into analog and digital TV, regular and high-definition TV, rearprojection and flat-screen TV, plus broadcast and cable TV, satellite, pay-per-view TV didn't converge with another medium such as the computer (as much as everyone wanted it to) It diverged

Brands Follow Nature

Did you ever see a tree in which two branches converged to form a single branch? Perhaps, but this is highly unlikely in nature. And it's also highly unlikely in products and services,

Darwins Principles
Two of Darwin's principles of nature also apply to brands "Competition between individuals (brands) improves the species. Competition between species (categories) drives categories further and further apart

This is an important concept because your instincts might lead you in the opposite direction If you think of 'the' customer as a single identity (and many companies do), your instincts are to satisfy 'the' customer's every wish

As a result, a portable computer needs to be full-featured, yet ultra-light. In other words, you put yourself right in the mushy middle where there is no market

Anti Darwin?
Darwin's genius was to see that species such as dogs and cats (and man) might have had a common ancestor but branched off, or diverged, in response to environmental changes In fact, the differences between species became exaggerated, what Darwin called nature favoring the extremes

EvolutionVS Divergence
Darwin didn't like to label his great work "evolution" because the divergence principle was equally important the evolution of brands is widely accepted as a marketing concept. "Yet over the long haul, its divergence, not evolution, that creates the most opportunities to build a brand.

Brand as Cutting Edge

There is an increasing focus on branding as a strategic tool to drive financial value and competitive advantage for modern corporations. Never has branding been so much in demand across the globe in all industries

Westernized societies recognize the fragmentation of our personal and social identities which encourages self-identity construction through consumption of material good and services.

Hedonistic Consumer
Individual consumers are becoming a smaller part of a much larger world and need to find easy and quick ways to guide them through Consumers are buying experiences rather than commodities whose components are largely image driven, intangible and symbolic

Volatile Scenario
Building brands used to be about creating messages that would endure for decades Those days are over Shorter product life cycles, a dynamic media landscape, and restless consumers mean that brands can become irrelevant within a few years, or even within a few months

Brand Re-Invention
Companies have to keep reinventing and revitalizing the messages behind their brands -- not killing them but reincarnating them Brand loyalty will diminish as the defining metric of success Marketing strategies will become more varied.

Some brands will be so strong that they will exist independently of specific products and services Other brands will make a splash and then disappear

And a new kind of 'generic' brand will emerge: not bland, low-priced generics but anonymous, unmarked -- yet highly stylized -- products that are meant to take on the identity of the person who buys them People will brand their own clothes, their own shoes, and so on

My Thoughts
I think of brands the way I think of people: They're dynamic, with changing moods and changing points of view Brand management is less a matter of guarding a brand's integrity than one of facilitating its evolution

Evolution Redefined
Brands also have to become more transparent -- about their shortcomings and about their virtues. It's a great way to get through to jaded teenagers.

Once humorous campaign for a budget hotel, was very open about all the things that the hotel didn't have The more honest the campaign was about the place, the happier customers were once they got there

Kraft is committed to innovation launched more than 60 new products in 2002 In 2003, Krafts 100th anniversary year, Kraft continued making history with the launch of more than 100 new products.

Breakthrough Ideas Extend Legendary Brands

In fact, there are so many firsts and innovations among the Kraft brands that the history of Kraft is almost a history of the food industry Kraft is constantly evolving its brands to meet the ever-changing needs of consumers

In its 100th anniversary year, Kraft continued its history of innovation with many new brand extensions designed to address the needs of todays consumers

Brands reflect the promise of an experience They reflect an assurance of sorts We live in a "brandscape Their economic value is developed, managed and delivered in the context of evolving conditions

Divergence and not evolution affect brand growth branding as a strategic tool to drive financial value and competitive advantage for modern corporations Consumers are buying experiences rather than commodities Companies have to reinvent brand communication Brands have to become more transparent