Brands build their strength by providing customers consistently superior product and service experiences. A strong brand is a promise or bond with customers. In return for their loyalty, customers expect the firm to satisfy their needs better than any other competitors.
Brands will always be important given their fundamental purpose – to identify and differentiate products and services. Good brand makes people’s lives a little easier and better. People are loyal to brands that satisfy their expectations and deliver on its brand promise. The predictably good performance of a strong brand is something that consumer will always value.
The challenges to brands
1) The shift from strategy to tactics: – With the increasing pressure to generate ever-improving profitability, it is often considered a luxury for managers to develop long-term strategic plans. This is further exacerbated by short-term goal setting, which is frequently designed primarily for the convenience of the financial community.
2) The shift from advertising to promotions: – As a consequence of the increasing pressure on brand manager to achieve short-term goals, there is a temptation to cut back on advertising support, since it is viewed as a long-term brand-building investment, in favour of promotions which generate much quicker short-term results.
3) On-Line shopping: – The Internet is facilitating on-line shopping. On-line shopping is different from traditional mail order because:
• Brands are available all the time and from all over the world;
• Information and interactions are in real time;
• Consumers can choose between brands which meet their criteria, as a result of selecting information which is in a much more convenient format for them, rather than the standard catalogue format.
This poses threats to brands, some components of added value, agent or the retail outlet which originally added value by matching consumers with suppliers, may be eliminated.
4) Opportunities from technology: – Brand marketers are now able to take advantage of technology to again a competitive advantage through time. Technology is already reducing the lead time needed to respond rapidly to changing customers need and minimizing any delays in the supply chain.
5) More sophisticated buyers: – In business-to-business marketing, there is already an emphasis on bringing together individuals from different departments to evaluate suppliers’ new brands. As inter departmental barriers break down even more, sellers are going to face increasingly sophisticated buyers who are served by better information system enabling them to pay off brand suppliers against each other.
6) The growth of corporate branding:- With media inhabiting individual brand advertising, many firms are putting more emphasis on corporate branding, unifying their portfolio of brands through clearer linkages with the corporation, which clarifies the those all the line brands adhere to. Through corporate identity program functional aspects of individual brands in the firm’s portfolio can be augmented, enabling the consumer to select brands through assessment of the values of competing firms. Firms developed powerful corporate identity programmes by recognizing the need first to identify their internal corporate values, from which flow employee attitudes and specific types of staff behavior secondly, to devise integrated communication programmes for different external audiences.