Brand is an experience not just an identifier

Every organization spends much more on branding their products or services with the hope of differentiating from other sellers, selling the same category of products or services. As stated by The American Marketing Association, a brand is defined as “A name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers. A brand may identify one item, a family of items, or all items of that seller. If used for the firm as a whole, the preferred term is trade name.” Over a period of time only brand identity cannot lead purchase actions but intangible value of brands with continuous using/ consuming/feeling it with unforgettable experience helps companies to stay distinct from others.

In some ways, it is like preferring and identifying through experience. Brand experience is simply brand’s action perceived by a person. Brand communications pass the clues to shape up the perception. A recent study from Digiday revealed some interesting trends in terms of brands’ marketing spend. In this study, it appears to be recession proof as 64% digital marketing and media professionals plan to increase their brand spend by 10% in 2012-13. 71%of agencies claim that their budget for advertising spend grown over last years and half of the budget spent only for brand advertising.

When one looks at any of the apparel brands of Indian Terrain, he/she cannot identify without any sign or symbol on it but at the same time when one wears it, he can feel it and through this experience he will be able to identify it next time. Smelling and having sip of Nescafe is a different experience than Bru. Individuals are using P&G’s product experience and taking pride in contributing to its various initiatives like education for kids.

Though Umbrella branding helps to create Halo effect for newly launched product, past experience under same brand might lead to positive or negative effect on consumer buying behavior. Because of the experience offered through any product under a brand roof, a brand might be restricted to market only specific product category, like Dettol might take the advantage of their established brand for any health shop or antiseptic products but not for any food products. In order to leverage the brand experience, it is often seen that product or service identity seek fine tuning among the offerings. Mahindra has changed their brand identity to position their brand differently. As Mahindra is known for their rugged build, terrain friendly nature and reliability, it has tried to communicate a changed brand identity with ‘Rise’ indicating Mahindra’s zeal to continuously grow and innovate, and keep its success record intact. Sometimes as a result of the negative or unfavourable experience that customers may have had previously, many companies go for multi branding or sub branding while offering individual brand and product identity. The strategy of Bajaj group in launching individual brands like Pulsar and Discover can be cited as adopting a similar approach.

Brand, it can be said, is one of the main factor taken into consideration while selecting any products or services. As a result, it is favourable for every organization to put much more efforts in crafting intangible values through weaving perceived quality, associations, distributions, corporate social responsibilities and brand communities.

[The article has been written by Dr. Reena Patel. She holds PhD. in Marketing and two international paper publications and is presently working as Management faculty in School of Management, R.K.University.]

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Brand is an experience not just an identifier

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