Branding: Part 2

Hello all!

As we know, branding is the core of any marketing-oriented company, and indeed it is essential for any marketer to know all about branding. Today we are going to look at branding in detail.

For part one: Branding

What is brand messaging?

Brand messaging is the underlying value proposition perceived by the customers. As it is an interpretation by the customers, it is not always true. However, it effects their purchase behavior and action.

Stages of brand messaging

  • Attention and exposure: This is the first stage, where customers generally get exposed to the brand. This can only be done, if the brand elements come together to grab the attention of the customers
  • Perceptual interpretation: At this point customers are in the position to interpret the brand messaging to their liking. Hence, all the companies try hard to develop a positive attention seeking message


Brand elements





The anchor; quick to process and easy to recall

Difficult to change


Grabs attention

Can get outdated


Has rich meaning; great brand association

Can get outdated


Memorable, catchy, conveys the message

Difficult to translate; does not suit all with different taste in music


Ease of recognition; conveys information as well as meaning

Issues with production, as well as channel concerns

Table 1: The pros and cons of brand elements

Brand name

A name given by the maker to a product, or a range of products. It affects the likelihood of purchase, as well as boosts employee morale, as it radiates a source of belonging and loyalty.

Types of brand names

  • Descriptive: Describes the product. Lean Cuisine
  • Metaphor: Represents a particular attribute or signifies something. Infiniti
  • Name / Surname: Product named after someone, typically the founder. Ford
  • Arbitrary: Real words with no obvious brand association. Apple
  • Altered: Fictional words, based on real ones. Spotify
  • Blended: Two meaningful words merged together. Facebook
  • Invented: Words which do not make any sense. Exxon


All about colors

Colors help in differentiating a product from its competitors, or is used within a brand to separate product lines. The ultimate goal of any brand is to own a color. Take for instance Tiffiny’s light blue box- it is so popular that people look forward to it, while purchasing something from Tiffany’s.

Figure 1: Tiffany’s famous blue box

Two axes of color

Arousal axis: High Red, Orange; Low Blue, Green

Affect axis: High Blue, Green; Low Red, Orange

Color associations

Table 2: Colors and associations

Color-brands guide

Figure 2: Color and brands


Role of symbols

Symbols add the necessary detail to a brand and helps it grab attention. It helps in forming associations, as well as evoke positive feelings

Figure 3: The famous BMW symbol


Taglines / Slogans

Taglines and / or slogans helps in better positioning of a product as it removes ambiguity. It reinforces what the brand is all about. They must be short, differentiated, and unique to be easy to remember. This enables the brand to evoke emotional response.

Figure 4: The famous BMW slogan “The ultimate driving machine



Packaging has gained a lot of importance over time. With better supply chain facilities, packaging can play a very important role. At the grass root level, it provides storage facility, and helps protect it and allows for transportation. It also gives a brand its identity and influences at the point of purchase, as well as at the point of consumption. Packaging also presents both descriptive and persuasive information about a product.

Figure 5: The famous, simple and classy iPhone packaging


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

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

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.


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

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.


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.


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

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.

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



Hello everyone!

Today we are going to talk about one of the most important basic concepts of marketing- STP which stands for Segmentation-Targeting-Positioning.

Definitions of  STP

Market segmentation:

It is the process of diving a market into distinct subsets, where any subset may conceivably be selected as a marketing target to be reached with a distinct marketing reach

A market can be segmented by the following methods:

  1. Demographic: Characteristics of the customers in terms of age, sex, economic background, etc. are considered
  2. Geographic- Based on the area a person or a group belongs. Some companies also use zip clustering, which is the grouping of zip codes together. For instance, Banjara Hills in Hyderabad and Pali Hills in Mumbai could be clustered together.
  3. Systematic, product related behavior: The purchase behavior of customers, for example, choice of channels, mode of payment, etc.
  4. Cohort analysis: Customers belonging to different generations have different needs

Generations.png5. Benefit sought: Different consumers tend to seek different sets of benefits from the same product.

Different segments seeking different benefits

In the graph above we can see that segment 2 wants excellent durability at a low price, they do not care about the beauty so much. Whereas segment 1 is looking for a beautiful product at a decent price, their durability requirement is low. So it would be a mistake to provide an average product to meet everyone’s requirement.

The concept of lukewarm coffee: Some people like hot coffee, while some like cold coffee. The average of that would be a lukewarm coffee which would not be desired by anyone.



The selection of potential customers to whom a business wishes to sell its product or services. This is the next step after segmentation wherein the segments are measured in terms of their attractiveness and demands and the company’s own capability.

The selection of a particular segment or a group of segments could be depend on the following:-

  • Segment size: The size of the cluster is essential as no company wishes to get into a very niche segment
  • Growth: The future growth rate of the industry
  • Value: The potential value of the segment
  • Stability: Any seasonality or irregularity is not desired by companies
  • Ease of entry: How easily can a company enter the market and the requirement of upfront capital investment
  • Competition: If the competitors are fragmented or saturated and if the competition indulges in price wars

Typically, companies try to plot their competitive advantage and the attractiveness of the segment in order to determine if they are going to target it or not. The graph below helps in making the decision easier.

Market targeting guide


Positioning is the process of defining the value proposition to be implemented through the 4Ps, by clearly defining the following:

  • Target segment: For whom are we making the product?
  • Point of parity: What is our frame of reference??
  • Point of difference: What are the reasons for the customers to buy our product

The role of positioning

Role of positioning

Positioning plays the role of an important pillar of any organizational vision, it impacts product development, and communication, and essentially helps in the product/ and or company branding. We would talk about branding in the next post.


Warm up

Warm up

Hello everyone!

There are more things to learn in marketing than there are people on this planet, and we always wonder about where to start our journey.

This is a series of quick posts on the basics of marketing to help you kick-start your journey.

What is marketing?

Philip Kotler defines marketing as “the science and art of exploring, creating, and delivering value to satisfy the needs of a target market at a profit. Marketing identifies unfulfilled needs and desires. It defines, measures and quantifies the size of the identified market and the profit potential.” But essentially, marketing is just the study of markets.

Sellers’ market

A market where sellers have products, and if customer wants it, they have to reach the sellers. This market is characterized by high volume sales, i.e., sellers try to sell as much as they can. Here the sellers have more power and they practice ‘product-focused or inside-out marketing’. The intuition behind this is to product a stunning product and sell it to all the segments.

Buyers’ market

A market where there are many products and players, and hence the buyers have more power. The sellers here practice ‘customer-focused or outside-in marketing’ and products are developed according to the needs of the customers. The intuition behind this is to segment the customers and, pick and choose the most suitable target group.

Different marketing orientations

The three basic principles of marketing:-

  • Principle of customer value: To provide genuine and authentic value to customers
  • Principle of differentiation: To provide something better than the competition
  • Principle of STP: To segment the customers, target the most suitable group, and then position the product in that particular segment

The four Ps of marketing:-

  • Product: What the seller puts into an exchange
  • Price: What the customer puts into an exchange
  • Promotion: The way the seller communicates the product benefits to the buyers
  • Place: The way the seller delivers the products to the customer

The concept of fair value

Fair value is the amount of value that customers associate with a particular product. It is not a static concept, it keeps changing.

fair value
Concept of fair value

As illustrated in the graph above, the fair value is derived from the balance between the relative cost to the customer, and the relative perceived benefit.

For example, if the former is high, and the later is low, then the customer thinks that the value of the product is inferior, and hence would not buy the product. Typically, sellers like to be in the superior value side of the graph, at any price point.

Market leadership strategies

Strategies for leadership framework

A company can decide to use different strategies for market leadership. This framework serves as a reference point for choosing the perfect strategy among Operational excellence, Customer intimacy, and/ or Performance superiority.

Steps to use the graph:-

  • Determine the product attributes that relate to Operational excellence, Customer intimacy, and/ or Performance superiority in the company’s marketplace
  • Anticipate where fair value is and decide where the company is placed- above, at par, or below fair value
  • Repeat the same exercise for the competition
  • Develop leadership strategies
    • Short term: To at-least meet fair value in all the frontiers
    • Long term: To promote to superior in one, and at-least remain fair value in the others