Hello everyone! Today we take our first step towards understanding the different pieces of branding. To comprehend and executive branding activities is one of the most essential practices of any marketer.

What is branding?

Branding is a marketing practice of creating a name, symbol, and / or design that identifies and differentiates a product or service offer by a company from its competitors. It enables a business to establish a desired image of the company in the customers’ eyes mainly via advertising campaigns with a consistent theme. So let’s look at the slices and nuances of branding.

Developing a mental map

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Figure 1: Mental map

A mental map of a brand portrays the brand’s associations and responses for a particular target market. It inculcates the crux of the core brand values and / or the brand mantra.

Thought association process

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Figure 2: Thought processes

By gauging in the minds of the customers, we can determine the thought association process. What are the thoughts that comes to mind when a brand is thought about or seen.

Grouping

There are bound to be several attributes of a brand that can be determined through the though association process.  Grouping of similar brand associations into categories is essential

Semantic association network

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Figure 3: Association network

A network of all the attributes grouped into categories are then put into a network. This helps us picture the though associations that comes up with the brand

Core brand values

Core brand values are the set of abstract concepts / phrases that characterize the five to ten most important dimensions of the mental map of a brand. This should also tell us about the Point(s) of parity [POP] and Point(s) of difference [POD] of the brand.

POP

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Figure 4: Point of parity

A point of parity is the similarity between a product and its competitors. For example the POP between Liril and Pears is that they both are bathing soaps.

POD

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Figure 5: Point of difference

A point of differentiation is the unique feature of a product that its competitors do not have. For example the POD of Maruti Suzuki is the presence and efficiency of its widely available service centers as compared to Hyundai.

Brand mantra

Brand mantra is what lets you define your brand in thirty seconds or less. It is used internally to guide company decisions, and externally to communicate about the brand. It not only describes what a brand is, but as importantly tells us about what the brand is not. Let us look at some of the components of brand mantra.

  • Brand function: Brand function describe the nature of the product or service and the benefits / experiences the brand provides
  • Descriptive modifier: Descriptive modifier essentially clarifies the nature of the product even further
  • Emotional modifier: Emotional modifier explains exactly what those benefits and / or experiences are and how they are delivered to the customers

Let’s take the examples of Nike, Disney, and McDonald’s

Brand Brand function Descriptive modifier Emotional modifier
Nike Performance Athletic Authenticity
Disney Entertainment Family Fun
McDonald’s Food Family Fun

 

Experiential branding

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Figure 6: Senses

Brand experience can be thought of as sensations, feelings, perceptions, and behavioral responses evoked by brand-related stimuli. Therefore, the more powerful the experience is, the stronger the brand impression. Experiential branding tries to amalgamate all this to bring

Experiential branding is a process by which brands create and drive sensory interactions with consumers in all aspects of the brand experience to emotionally influence their preferences and to actively shape their perceptions of the brand. Let’s look at some of its aspects.

  • Redefining what a brand is: Traditional promotional methods like advertising in magazines or on TV are no longer as effective as before. Therefore it is essential to redefine the branding strategies. The POD here has to be an enhanced focus on the overall brand experience. Building personalized relationships with the customers while providing them relevant, customized products, and / information is extremely crucial
  • Experiential brand positioning: Experiential brand positioning essentially talks about what a brand stands for. The point of difference here is important to emphasize on, and a multi-sensory strategy adoption is the need of the hour
  • Experiential components: The core components of experiential branding is tied with a multi-sensory experience.
    • Emotions: Appealing to customers’ inner feelings
    • Cognition: Appealing to customers’ intellect
    • Behavioral: Affecting bodily experiences
    • Social: Invoking feelings of community / belonging

 

Strong vs weak brands

There are many characteristics that differentiates a strong from weak brands such as consistency, superiority, distinctiveness, alignment, relevance, etc.

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Figure 7: Strong Vs Weak brands

Let us look at some of the game changers that makes or breaks a brand

Strong Weak
Clear promises, kept over time Vague promises
Rich, and unique brand equity General equity
Dependable Spotty reputation
Loyal franchise Little loyalty

Part two of Branding: Branding Part 2

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