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Branding the Company

Branding the Company. Maximize Marketing Potential. Arun Kottolli. Corporate Brands. IBM, Citibank, Federal Express, UPS etc. These are examples of excellent Corporate Brands, company name is the Brand

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Branding the Company

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  1. Branding the Company Maximize Marketing Potential Arun Kottolli

  2. Corporate Brands • IBM, Citibank, Federal Express, UPS etc. • These are examples of excellent Corporate Brands, company name is the Brand • Service firms like Accenture, EDS, Unisys, KPMG have only one main brand – their Corporate Brand • Brand consists of Name, symbols, Slogans and other distinguishing elements • To provide customers an efficient mechanism of identifying a particular service

  3. Branding the Firm • In Service sector, Brand impact shifts to the company brand • Corporate Brand can significantly influence service customers as they rely more heavily on service • Customers are more likely to choose FedEx for sending critical documents • “Nobody got fired for buying from IBM”

  4. Model of Services Branding • Principal elements, influences in service branding are: • Presented Brand • Brand Media • Brand Meaning • Service, Concept, Quality & Value • Choice Behavior of customers • Brand Elements has different levels of influence on new customers and for experienced customers

  5. Brand Media Brand Meaning Presented Brand Service Concept Quality & Value Choice Behavior New Customers Trial

  6. Experienced Customers Service Concept Quality & Value Brand Meaning Presented Brand Choice Behavior Brand Media Repeat Buy

  7. Elements of Brand • The Core of the Presented Brand is the Company’s name – accompanying words, symbols, sounds etc • The ‘Brand’ the company presents is not necessarily the brand the customer perceives • Brand Meaning is the customer’s impression and classification of the firm • One customer may see IBM as a reliable, cutting edge service provider • Other customer may see IBM as an expensive service firm

  8. Elements of Brand • Brand Meaning is a function of brand presentation and service concept, quality and value, i.e., how well it performs the service • Service’s value influence customer interpretations of the presented brand • Managers cannot shield a brand from customers’ actual brand experiences • Mangers can create a service that reinforces the intended brand image • Customers’ experience based beliefs are powerful, diminishing the effects of company controlled communication that contradict actual experience

  9. Customer Choice Behavior • In case of new or inexperienced customers, Brand media or company communication has a big influence on Choice Behavior (leading to a trial) • For experienced customers, Service Concept, Quality & Value are the major influence determining Choice Behavior • Excellent Branding strategy, intensive advertising cannot make-up for weak service or bad customer experience • Customers’ negative experience with a service can close the doors that branding helps to open

  10. Branding & Marketing Edge • An effective brand provides a marketing edge to service companies: • When customers perceive competitors to be similar in service concept, quality & value • When customers have little or no experience with competing firms and respond to the strongest presented brand • When a firm introduces a new service category • When a firm enters a new market • When a firm changes its marketing strategy

  11. Branding & Marketing Edge • Strong service brands help customers to understand & believe in its service • Strong brand help to reduce customers’ perceived monetary, social or safety risk • Buying IBM service is risk free • Strong brand reassures customers while purchasing intangible “black box” service • While buying a new type of service, customers often go by Company reputation and Branding

  12. Name – Core of Service Brands • The company name is the core element of the presented service brand • Four Elements of a strong Brand Name • Distinctiveness: Distinguish from competitors • Relevance: Convey the benefit of the service • Memorability: Name can be used, understood and recalled easily • Flexibility: The name accommodates the inevitable strategies in organizations E.g: Dell Corp is better than Dell Computers

  13. Brand is More Than Words • Brand’s effectiveness depends on integration of words, colors, symbols, and consistent application of these elements all across brand media • Blend all communication elements into cohesive image, and fidelity in their use – to overcome the intangible, amorphous nature of services • “Develop a consistent presentation of all the visible elements of the service”

  14. Branding & Consistency • Consistency has a powerful influence on human behavior • The more consistent a company’s “appearance” is to customers, the stronger the brand identity • E.g: McDonalds, Pizza Hut maintain a common image everywhere • UPS turned its fleet of 20,000+ trucks into rolling billboards also reinforced by employee uniform • Graphic symbols reinforces the Name • MGM, 20th Century Fox, IBM, Dell etc • Consistent slogans reinforce the brand name

  15. Building a Brand • Service quality is the foundation for services marketing and services branding • Company can create Brand Meaning via building a brand • Company can only do Image Management • Some guidelines for building a powerful company brand: • Start with Research • Select the right medicine • Build on what exists • Internalize the Brand

  16. Start with Research • Brand Development relies heavily on research, research identifies things to be done • What is the company’s current brand meaning to customers, employees and owners? • How does the company’s brand meaning compare with that of competitors? • How well do brand elements compare with that of competitors? • What are the relative effects of service concept, quality and value on brand meaning? • What is important about the company’s service offering that could be conveyed by the brand?

  17. Research Cont’d • Services marketers should build a brand that expresses the firm’s strongest qualities, its “reason for being” in a compelling way for customers & stakeholders • Research involves: • Interviews with customers, executives, frontline employees • Monitor the consistency & fidelity of brand presentation across media, specific services & markets • Dynamic nature of brand influences makes research an ongoing process

  18. Select the Right Medicine • Branding is often misused to solve operational problems – asking it to do more than it can • Poor service offering cannot be overcome with excellent branding – irrespective of the budget • If existing mediocre name, though flawed may still provide familiarity, comfort & credibility for customers – then don’t change the brand name • E.g: Delta Airlines is an average name, but has huge customer base, goodwill & reputation • Allegheny Airlines changed its name to USAirways • New name is a risky & Expensive medicine • Through Research & clear strategic intent is needed to change brand name

  19. Build on What Exists • Changing a brand name is usually a bad idea • Huge investments needed to build & sustain brand awareness • Datsun to Nissan : A branding blunder • If existing strategy is incompatible with brand name & old name has strong negative feeling – Change name • E.g: Anderson consulting to Accenture • Opt for brand continuity by double-branding, co-branding e.g: Courtyard by Marriot, IBM Global services

  20. Internalize the Brand • Service company employees are the most powerful medium for conveying the brand to customers • On-the-Job interaction converts verbal brand into verbal-action brand • Internalizing involves involving employees in the care & nurturing of the brand • Make employees understand and believe in the company’s brand • Employees visualize the brand for customers

  21. Manager’s Checklist • Are we proactive in presenting a strong company brand to our customers? • How does our company name rate on tests of distinctiveness, relevance, memorability, & flexibility? • Do we use to full advantage branding elements other than the company name? • Is out presented brand cohesive? • Do we apply our brand consistently across all media? • Do we use all possible media to present our brand?

  22. Manager’s Checklist • Do we recognize the influence of the service offering on brand meaning? • Do we base our branding decisions on research? • Are we respectful of what exists when we change our brand or add new brands? • Do we internalize our branding?

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