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Understanding branding strategies
Most companies started as single product companies. Factors such as desire to grow, increased manufacturing and marketing capabilities etc., tempt the companies to become multi-product. As the number of products marketed by a company increases, deciding branding relations becomes essential. Suitable branding strategies are designed to show how products and brands are related. Companies differ in their approaches to branding. Branding strategies include Umbrella branding, Product branding, Range branding, Line branding, Endorsement branding and Source or double branding etc..
Product branding strategy
Product branding is driven by customer logic. Each product is given a distinct brand name. Each product is given an exclusive name which would not be available to any other product. This is one product one brand strategy. For example, Pepsi has Pepsi Cola, Mirinda, 7ups, P&G has Camay, Whisper, Crest, Bounce, Ivory, Old spice, Head and Shoulders, Gain, Ariel, Joy, Bold, cheer, Tide, Pringle, Luvs, Vicks etc. HLL has brands like Lux, Lifebuoy, Rexona, Pears, Liril etc.
Product branding strategy may be further understood from the following table.
Benefits of product branding
Product branding delivers a number of benefits to the firm following it.
1. Product brands are uniquely positioned and directed at a segment: In a product branding strategy, the brand is promoted exclusively. The brand is able to acquire a distinct position in the customer’s mind. What the brand represents is clearly understood and internalized by the market. The thrust is on making the brand acquire its own set of associations and a stand of its own.
2. Product branding allows a brand to acquire differentiation: The purpose of branding is to differentiate one brand from other brands. Product branding does not share other products and does not take on company associations. The company’s name is relegated to the back seat. The product does not get benefits from the company name. Customers connect easily with product brands.
3. Product Branding allows a Company to venture into unrelated areas of activity: Product brands are standalone. People do not even know that they all share a common root in the company. For example, P&G’s brands belong to baby care, beauty care, feminine care, health care, fabric care, home care, food and beverages and tissues and towels. Such level of operational flexibility stems from its branding policy.
4. Appreciating brand differences is much easier when product branding is followed: Customers know what brand satisfies a specific need. For example, when they need stain removal, they think of Surf Excel, Wheel to find an economic solution. Marketers’ brands are linked to all possible price points, benefits and utilities linked to different sub-markets. Product branding leads to appreciating brand differences.
5. Product branding has an effect of making the firm innovative and risk free: Failure of one brand will not affect the prospects of other brands of the same manufacturer. The new brand does not take on an existing brand’s reputation and image. So the manufacturer can introduce an innovative product without doubts of losing existing brands in the market. Doubts would discourage experimentation. Even if the new brand fails, people do not know that it is from a reputed company as the corporate name does not back it up.
6. Product brand avoids confusion in the market: A brand must singularly represent a product. Hanging multiple products on a name is likely to cause confusion. A product brand represents a position, an idea a concept and a product in a clear cut way.