Branding has been around for centuries as a mean to distinguish the products and services of a producer from another. Technically speaking, a brand is a name, sign, symbol or design with a combination of them. Whenever a person or company creates a new name, logo, or symbol for a new product, they create a brand. In the industry, people conceive brand based on various principles and therefore guidelines often revolve around what we mean by the term.
Products and services of inheriting the properties of brand ethos, mission and vision. In any case, even brand names use words with inherent product meaning. But the question is how do we contrast a brand and a product? A product is something that we offer with a market for attention, acquisition and consumption. Before even a brand should think about creating a product/services, they need to understand the categories of it:
Core benefit level: It is the fundamental need or wants that consumers satisfy by consuming the product or service.
Generic product level: It is a basic version of the product containing only those attributes or characteristics absolutely necessary for its functioning but with no distinguishing features.
Expected product level: It is a set of attributes or characteristics that buyers normally expect and agree to when they purchase a product.
Augmented product level: It includes additional product attributes, benefits or related services that distinguish the product from competitors.
Potential product level: It includes all the augmentation and transformation that a product might ultimately under in the future.
Therefore, a brand is more than a product because it has a principle, mission statement and properties that underneath products or services are getting build.
An obvious question is, why are brands important? Here, we would like to make a couple of perspectives to uncover the value of brands to both customers and firms. Customer broadly refers to the type of customers like - Individual as well as the organization. Brand matters most for the long term sustainability because consumers offer their trust and loyalty with the implicit understanding that the brand will maintain a consistent product or service performance along with pricing. The extent consumers realize the advantages and benefits of purchasing the brand and as long as they derive satisfaction from product consumption, they are likely to continue to buy it.
The brand has clearly been providing important benefits to both consumers and firms. But an obvious question is - how the brands are being created and how do you brand a certain product or service? Although firms provide the impetus for brand creation through their online and offline marketing campaign, ultimately a brand is something that resides in the mind of consumers. And these campaigns create a perception in consumers. Whether firms run an online or offline campaign, it should be organized in such a way that it should create a mental structure and helps consumers organize their knowledge about products and services that clarify their decision making and, in the process.
B2B brands are often corporate brands, so understanding branding from a corporate brand perspective is critical. B2B branding is a bit more complex than individual because there are many people involved both on the company side and in the many market segment the company could be targeting. B2B branding should be driven by sustainable value-driven strategy.
One of the challenges in the services domain is that they are less tangible than products and more likely to vary in quality, depending on the particular person or people providing them. Therefore, for service firm, branding strategy should be carefully crafted to address intangibility and variability factors. Even the symbols and logo make a huge difference since it makes the abstract nature of services more concrete. The service industry is all about the human-centric game, there is a number of variable factors are involved that changes with respect to space and time. And it’s hard to make a prediction.
Brand management agency operating in the technologically intensive market and facing a number of challenges like accelerated product life cycle due to continual R&D advancement and innovations. We should consider following guidelines to improve company branding strategy:
A brand strategy that provides a roadmap for the future:
Sometimes, technology company rely on the half-baked assumption that the best product based on the best technology will sell itself. However, there are several examples are there that make this assumption wrong.
Understanding brand hierarchy and manage it appropriately over time:
A strong corporate brand is vital in the technology industry to provide stability. The company should always focus on innovation to drive growth.
Know who your customer is and build an appropriate brand strategy:
It is important to understand the market segment. Whether your customer is individual or corporate, you need to have a brand strategy based on a clear understanding of consumers. Let’s say when a company purchase your product or service that means they are typically committing a long-term relationship. Therefore, it is advisable for companies to establish a strong corporate brand that will endure over time.
Building a brand equity and selling products are two different exercises:
The emphasis on developing products leads to an overemphasis on branding them. When a company applies distinct brand names to too many products in rapid succession, the brand portfolio becomes cluttered. The company should focus on a plan for future innovation by developing and extendable branding strategy.
Brands are owned by customers, not a company:
Although a company have great knowledge of products and services, they make lack the big picture brand view. The company should spend adequate money on consumer research to analyse and take better decision.
Rapidly changing environment demands that you stay in tune with your internal and external environment:
The rapid pace of innovation in the technology sector dictates that the company should closely observe the market condition in which their brand does business.
Invest the time to understand the technology and value proposition:
It is important to understand the technology and value proposition for sustainable business. One can not ignore it else they will be out of the game.
Brand management is all about how the company analyse the product or services with respect to the market segment to establish a long term sustainable relationship with the target market. The company should identify the tangible elements of their products and services before they plan a marketing campaign and use a comprehensive flexible framework in this technologically intensive market.