More and more new brands keep entering the market. But not all brands succeed. A brand is a commodity augmented by added values, making it more acceptable to consumers. Winning brands possess certain qualities and are differentiated from competition. If competition is not warded off, a brand will degenerate into a commodity.
Essentials or Guidelines for Success of brands
Winning brands connect customers in the following ways:
- Brands promise benefits
- Brands do not violate the cultural, social, ethical or moral norms of a society
- Brands are perceived as a logical choice in a certain frame of motivation
- Brands express user’s taste, character and identity.
- Brands bond the prospects by emotion and love.
- Brands live in the consumer’s mind.
1. Brands promise benefits: Customers have reasons to buy a brand. “The reason to buy” takes the form of benefits that a brand promises. Though all brands offer benefits, the promises of winning brands are unique. For example, Hero Honda offers its unique performance for the year as a tribute to the largest customer base. Pepsodent offers unique benefits of “Keeps working even after brushing”.
Benefits promised by a brand may be of two types: Objective and subjective. Brands are verified objectively by price, ingredients, parts or technology. For example, good acceleration and larger leg space in cars. Subjective quality stands for the perception of superiority of the brand in a consumer’s mind.
2. Brands do not violate the cultural, social, ethical or moral norms of a society: Values and norms constantly drive consumer behavior. For example, personal hygiene is culturally defined. One is expected to take bath every morning. Consumer behavior is shaped by such values and norms. Only brand which do not violate the cultural, social, ethical or moral norms of a society are preferred in the marketplace. Consumers avoid brands that create value conflicts. A brand can exploit the inconsistency in consumer behavior, One of the insurance companies drew attention to the inconsistency that a costly car is insured but the priceless life of the owner is not.
3. Brands are perceived as a logical choice in a certain frame of motivation: Brands provide customers a compelling reason to buy. The brand must be related to a compelling purchase motive. The logical choice of a brand occurs in a certain frame of motivation. Many successful brands reprogrammed the perceptions in the customers’ mind. In the initial stage, Cadbury’s chocolate was focused for kids. But the company expanded sales by changing from such indulgence to something to celebrate by all in the day-to-day happy occasions.
4. Brands express user’s character and identity: Customers buy brands to express their character and identity. Products like cars, motor cycles, clothes, shoes and watches signal the inner character of users. For example, consumers of Pepsi tend to be young and rebellious. Owners of Wagon R are depicted as having multifaceted personality, active and unconventional. Person buying expensive automobiles feel the need to belong to affluent. Baby care products signify motherly love.
5. Brands bond the prospects by emotion and love: People like some emotions. Love is a powerful emotion. It is much more than liking. People love their homes, cars, pets, children, ornaments, etc. Brands become successful when they compete beyond performance. Brands compete on feeling. ICICI Bank projects itself as a trustworthy friend, Bank of India focuses on intimacy with customers. Brands succeed when customers see meaning in them.
6. Brands live in consumer’s mind: Consumers store in the long-term memory verbal material of brands. When one is confronted with a brand name, a universe of associations spring to mind. Memory is organized into networks. Networks have nodes and connections. Information is recalled from memory when a product activates a node (brand name). A node in turn activates other connected nodes. A powerful brand is supported by the right knowledge structure.