The other day I over-heard a conversation generally referred as cooler moment. John was in conversation with Terry around lunch time. John said he was hungry but had to take a quick meal as he was expecting to run a business call. Terry gave alternative of burger as quick and easy meal, to which John said â€œMcDonaldsâ€. Above conversation could be part of anyoneâ€™s life and but very important to understand Strategic Brand Management. Here in the conversation need or want is for a â€œquick mealâ€, available generic product â€œBurgerâ€ and brand choice â€œMcDonaldsâ€. What made â€œMcDonaldsâ€ pop up in Johnâ€™s mind as a choice for quick meal burger? Answer to this question lies within framework of strategic brand management. We will explore each word â€œStrategicâ€, â€œBrandâ€ and â€œManagementâ€ and come up to conclusion where in Johnâ€™s answer is understood.
Brand does not carry a definite and absolute definition but it is relative. Some observers would term products or services characteristics, which differentiate it from competitors as brand, where as some would consider standing of oneâ€™s product or services in market as brand. In all these, value of product or service for what it stands and attributes which identifies them can be considered as brand.
Branding or Brand is considered important not only for companies but they carry equal importance for customers or consumers also. From consumer or customer point of view, brand becomes important for various reason let us explore some of them. Brand for a customer will indicate commitment towards quality from sellers there by reducing time spent in coming to a purchase decision. Brand for companies will indicate a sort of benchmark in quality as well as customer expectation, a point of differentiation from competitors and a steady stream of profit.
Normally we associate branding from point of view common mass; and products or service displayed in malls and supermarket. However there exists another market where branding is equally important and that is business to business market. This is referred as corporate branding, which is again a challenge as decision making process for purchase order is way different compare to individual. Here survival of organization as well as individual will be at stake. The key lies in developing a brand for corporation where in which other business can be confident of.
Modern globalized, technology driven world has thrown new challenges to branding. Customers/consumers have more access to information than ever before. Internet has become a strong tool through which product information proliferate raising expectation bar for companies. Companies have responded to this challenge by improvising in the way they run their marketing campaigns, by exploring new avenues to showcase their products. Like for example; sponsorship of events and teams or association with social cause.
In a given market innumerable products and services are offered by different companies. The identity developed for this product and services over a period of time, through marketing strategies, sturdy performance etc is referred to as brand. A stage is reached where brand become synonymous with product e.g. - coffee-Starbucks, donut-Dunkin Donuts, online retail-Ebay etc. This process is called strategic brand management.