Brand- usually associated with a name, symbol, design, jingle, and themes – singly or in combination is commonly used to identity a set of products to its manufacturer and create a differentiation among the minds of the customer. With hundreds of brands and me to products on the shelves, it is becoming increasingly important for manufacturers to create a differentiation in the minds of the customers in order to create a purchase and ensure repeat purchase happens. Although a brand represents a set of products, it is important to note that a brand is different from the products. A product satisfies a tangible need while a brand is mostly associates with intangible values. Thus a brand is much more powerful and much more efficient in connecting with the customers.
There are certain features or characteristics that go into building a brand. Depending upon the products a brand represents, brand can have one or more of the below characteristic elements-
Memorable- legendary brands that deliver on their mission and vision are often brands that are memorable. They are easily recognised among the consumers and are easily recalled. They have the highest loyal customers and often their loyalty is passed down from one generation to the next thus increasing its customer base.
Meaningful- sometimes brands choose names that convey a much deeper and hidden message through their brand name than what is just superficially obvious. The brand depicts a persuasive message for the greater good of the community.
Likable- brand names are also sometimes fun- visually or verbally. They make the brand appear aesthetically appealing. These kinds of brands are generally liked by the younger generations and the millennial who fun, experimenting and open to change.
Transferability- it measurers the extent to which brand element adds to the brand equity for new products or in new markets for the brand.
Adaptability- this is the most important element for any brand. A brand needs to be adaptable to changes in time and changes in the customer’s needs. Adaptability can be achieved in many ways. It could be introduction of new products or simply a change in the design or logo of the brand.
Protect ability- a brand element needs to be protected both in legal and competitive sense- both domestically and internationally.
Keeping the above brand elements in mind, the next most important task would be in choosing the brand name. The brand name should be easy to spell and remember. This makes it easier for the customers to remember the name of the brand. The marketing of such brands has a huge impact. This also enables the word of mouth marketing which helps in garnering the support of a larger consumer base.
Branding and Innovation in Today’s world:
We are living in a world which is dominated by technology. Technology is grown to become the centre part of your lives and with the increasing invasion of technology branding and innovating in branding is becoming an important factor for the success of any brand. Today the brand has to be more nimble and agile and needs to adapt and be able to incorporate changes to be a sustainable brand. Innovation plays a major role in catching hold of the current consumer base as well as engaging new consumers. Innovation is also important in retaining and gaining investors. Investors and brand growth is a key in growing the GDP of any economy. The world economy is changing at a rapid rate and it is becoming increasingly important to make any brand a viable and profitable business. The newer and recent brands are more experimental in creating a brand name and a brand image. They are more creative and try to grab on to the aesthetical aspects of the consumer. The legendary brands are more memorable and are fighting hard in the innovation space to hold on to the niche market segment they have created for years. The brands need to think big in order to outdo competition. The vision and imagination of the brands needs to be stretched in order to make it more creative, fun and exciting for the customers. The brands are no longer resonated with the image, promise, difference, values, consistency, and awareness. They are moving towards becoming inspirational, experience, enabling and participating. Today’s brands are more visible on social networking sites and are no longer just visible. They are involved in creating and making an impact on their costumers and create a difference in their life and the environment. They are focusing on more customer engagement with the brand.
Some of the important dimensions in brand innovation:
Brand Frame- helps in defining the customers who are associated with the brand. It helps in creating a personality about them or helps develop their personality towards the one they aspire to become. Their helps in the customers resonating with the brand and it’s identify. Tag line and punch lines are the most common frame lines of the brand.
Brand Creation- it is an important step as it helps in not just defining the product but he brand overall. Brands are moving from being just a perceived value towards being more engaging. Social networking platforms play an important role in carrying out such engagements.
Resonating with the brand- earlier brand communication was all about mass advertisements to mass audiences. But today due to the high presence and intervention of technology, brands are more aware and conscious about targeting the target customers and create multiple touch points to reach out their message.
Brand Clustering- as brands are expanding their portfolio and looking at a larger offering to the consumers to avoid brand shifting (E.g. Pathanjali) it is very important to cluster the products within the portfolio to ensure clarity to the consumers about the brand and its offering.
Enabling the brand through experiences- proving after sales and before sales support the customers through customer support cell in the form of feedback and advice. This helps in gaining the confidence of the customers and building a stronger relationship.
Connecting with the consumers- technology has taken a centre stage in our lives and the brands today are looking at various ways to amplify their presence through technology. Blogs, websites, newsletter are some of the ways in which customers are being engaged with the brands. This helps in creating a community of followers for the brands.
Phases of Brand Innovation:
Intent- the intention behind innovation must be clearly defined. This involves the right product fit to the current brand portfolio. The business the brand is currently in needs to be well understood and the target customers’ needs to be defined clearly.
Insight- customer insight on the product to be development must be clearly understood. Are there any products in the markets offering a similar solution? Are the customers going to appreciate the value that will be delivered through my product? Is there a market requirement for the product? These are some of the questions that need to be answered. Insight can be both outside-in approach and inside-out approach.
Ideation- this is a vital stage in development. All the pros and cons need to be debated and clarity needs to be obtained on various aspects. Very idea needs to be validated to ensure no idea gets scrapped without proper scrutiny.
Innovation- this is the stage of implementation. All the insights and information gathered through ideation needs to be applied and work towards achieving the intended product.
Implementation- post the innovation trials, once we have achieved the desired outcome, we need to implement the process on a commercial scale.