Beyond building customer loyalty, successful brands have the power to enter the consumer unconscious, weaving their way into the fabric of everyday life.
The function and art of branding is a major contributor to the success of a product or service sold by the company that markets it.
According to We b s t e r ’s Dictionary, a brand is defined as “a means of identification,” or “an arbitrarily adopted name that is given by a manufacturer or merchant to an article or service to distinguish it as produced or sold by that manufacturer or merchant that may be used and protected as a trademark.” At Icetulip we look at a brand as more than a trademark for the legal protection of the product or service offered. Well, at least we think it should be. This is where many marketers get into trouble and lose the positive impact of proper brand management.
Brand management should aim to build into customers’ minds a set of perceptions and attitudes relating to an offering, leading to positive buying behavior. To achieve this goal, managers must know a great deal about their customer base. The power of a brand is measured by its effect on buyers. A powerful brand will cause its customer base to either defer or refuse to purchase if the brand is NOT available. Some brands have reached a level of mass acceptance where they are used as action verbs, such as “Xeroxing” a document instead of copying it and “Fedexing” a package rather than mailing or posting it, Google it rather than search for it. One brand’s identity is so strong that when we hear Aspirin we immediately think of Bayer.
Branding is comprised of two elements— external and internal to the customer.
In a study conducted by Advertising Age published in 1983, 25 companies with excel lent brand reputations in 1923 remained strong as a number one or two in their respective industries for 60-years. However, it doesn’t require a new study to make a couple of observations about brand maintenance and stability from 1983 to the present.
When considering all the elements, both internal and external, which make up brand loyalty and acceptance, from 1983 to 2006, Sherwin-Williams remains the number one brand in architectural paints in the U.S. today. Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, Hershey’s Chocolates, Coca-Cola Soft Drinks and Gillette Razors have all remained number one or two brands in their respective industries as well. However, of the 25 companies surveyed through 1983, only these five companies have survived as number one or two brands through 2012 while the remaining 20 have slipped during that time.