Friday, June 20, 2008

Brand in your customer’s mind

An intersting piece by Kavya Shankre Gowda
One of the truths of modern business is that there is almost nothing that your competitors can't duplicate in a matter of weeks or months. If you have a great idea, you can be certain that somebody will copy soon!. And not only will they follow your lead, but they may also be able to do a better job or sell the product or service at a lower price. The question is, "What competitive edge do I have to offer that cannot be copied by anyone else?"
The answer would be simple, your brand.
Branding is more than just a business buzzword. It has become the crux of selling in the new economy. If the old marketing mantra was," Nothing happens until somebody sells something," the new philosophy could be "Nothing happens until somebody brands something."
A brand is something that you can own and nobody can take that away from you. Everything else, they can steal. They can steal your trade secrets. Eventually, your patents will expire, your physical plant will wear out and technology will change but your brand can go on and live for ever. It creates a lasting value above and beyond all the other elements of your business. A brand cannot be all things to all people. By definition, no single brand is going to appeal to all customers. On the contrary, branding is based on the concept of singularity — targeting individuals in a personal manner— and therefore precludes the concept of universal appeal.
The foundation of your brand is its name. After its uniqueness wears off, it will be your brand name against the brand names of your competitors in the marketplace.
Many companies have committed translation faux pas when they failed to cross reference the brand's name in other languages or cultures. One of the most popular instances was the marketing mishap with the Chevy Nova. The car didn't impress the Latin American Customers, as the vehicle’s name in Spanish means" It doesn't go."
Brand’s name should be catchy, easy enough to communicate, and should be acceptable to consumers from various ethnic backgrounds.
If possible, the name should also complement the overall core values of the company. For instance, Pampers was a perfect name for the diaper line that Procter & Gamble launched in the late 1970s. The name is easy to say, has positive associations, and links to the performance of the product. Besides that, the brand came out at a time when cloth diapers were still largely popular with mothers. By its name alone, mothers could make the switch to disposable diapers without compromising the comfort or pampering of their baby. There are also chances of de-branding that can happen when the entrepreneur fails to associate the brand-name with a positive value-added product. The best illustration would be Vijay Mallya buying the Bangalore Royal Challengers team in the current IPL cricket series. The performance that the Bangalore team has put up, may contribute to de-branding his already built brand.
So most importantly, a brand must be endearing and rest will endure on its own.

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