Development and Management – Branding Strategy

Introduction

Most companies in the world of capitalism always want more. They want more profit, more shareholder value, and more market share, among others. The realizations of these objectives have been attained through the successful initiation, development and management of brands in most instances. Indeed, the effective development and management of brands have become a major priority for all organizations of all sizes in different industries and markets. The reasons for this are certainly clear; strong brands are positively correlated with customer loyalty and profits. However, the efficient management of brands can present challenges, especially in the case where managers are unable to accurately evaluate and assess their brand’s particular strengths and weaknesses objectively. One major limitation that has been presented in both academic and empirical literature is on how to deal with the multifaceted issue of products development and multi-channel branding, especially where there is the need for reliance on professional retail distributors engaged in the sale and distribution of competing products.

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Such a scenario is more rampant in the soft drink industry where competition and customer loyalty depend more on the quality of the brand. Whereas the questions of how to develop and manage the integrated context of branding have however been presented as presenting several challenges, I would first seek to have a deeper understanding of the four components of marketing. These include the primary target client or customer, competition, product mix and the unique selling proposition. This becomes especially poignant when the said competitors are engaged in the sale and distribution of similar and/or competing products. The choices made in regard to the branding must therefore seek to stay ahead of the pack with the competitors. According to Aaker (1996) “By identifying these components of your marketing plan you have created the basis for crafting your brand strategy in that effective branding process will create a unique identity that differentiates you from the competition”.

Developing Name

The soft drink market is characterized by cutthroat competition (Reda, 1999). the name of the new product must not only be attractive but be catchy. Because of the role played by soft drinks, I would name my product “Geysers”. This would depict that my product is not only comparable to none to also a rare commodity in the market that should be consumed at the slightest opportunity. In addition to the above, my product would demonstrate the ability to quench the longest of thirst. Geysers are not only rare but remain the source of life for inhabitants of deserts. My product would therefore be considered as a source of life. I believe the simple and humble approach I have given to this product would make it worth a trial to customers. Such instinct I believe will definitely attract them to try the new product.

Given the above perspectives, it would be prudent to state here that firms engaged in manufacturing soft drinks need to bear in mind that brand strategies affect not only internal processes but also external relations as well. This opinion has been supported by several other researchers. The underlying philosophy is that in order that specific market objectives and envisaged competitiveness in the industry are attained, soft drinks manufacturing firms need to increasingly adopt multi simple and innovative branding in the introduction of a new line of products (Reda, 1999).

Developing the slogan

The name will form the basis on which the slogan will be created. As the name suggests, my slogan for Geysers is “pop it when u need it” This will be with the background information that will be available in all market segments through various retail channeling. Simplicity, thinking small while making the idea impact big will form the foundations of my decisions. According to Aaker (1996), good management of portfolios of brands and markets is initiated where common measures of performance have been delineated. Researchers have however pointed out that market shares or sales data may be extremely sensitive to distribution coverage (Verbeke, Bagozzi & Paul Farris 2006) and that sales may be dramatically affected when a brand of a new product miserable fails on its launch to impact big on the customer. This is more rampant when we review the fact that most products that have their slogans, names and brands changed after a short while finding the market hard to penetrate. This is based on the perception by the customer that the product has failed. Indeed, the choices to be made on the decisions in regards to branding a product in the best innovative way possible calls for on whether to pursue a different distribution channel or use an existing one, have been presented as multifaceted (Stern, El-Ansary and Coughlan, 1996). In line with the discussed perspectives, my logo would be an NBL or soccer taking a sip after winning one of the most competitive matches in the history of the game. “Pop it when u need it”.

SWOT Analysis

SWOT analysis involves a critical and comprehensive examination of the internal and external factors that affect the business in its quest to achieve its objectives (Barney, 1991). The exercise starts with a clear objective statement and the purpose of carrying out the SWOT analysis. This objective helps is designed the business opportunity in which a company can venture into in the future. In this case, our objectives will be aligned towards the understanding of the market dynamics, competitors, their strengths and weaknesses and an analysis of their brands.

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The internal analysis of the soft drinks industry will not only help in revealing the strength and weaknesses but also use the information in drawing a strategic brand management plan. In this endeavor, the external analysis takes a critical examination of the market and competitive business environment and further goes ahead to analyze the possible external factors which may affect the branding strategy laid down. According to Caniëls & Gelderman (2005), business success requires a continuous analysis of the strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that affect the business. In this case, an investor can easily track the performance of the marketing and plan appropriately. In this line, my soft drink company will in the same way apply the concept and model of SWOT analysis in their branding pattern analysis.

The SWOT analysis will take into stock the basic elements of the marketing concept that include a focus on customer satisfaction, needs, wants and requirements, the philosophy behind the marketing needs to be owned by all stakeholders and it must address and identify future needs. The three basic marketing concepts, therefore, include “customer orientation, an organization to implement a customer orientation and long-range customer and societal welfare” (Barney, 1991). Furthermore, these critical steps will underline the expected hurdles the branding strategy may face in the future. These involve those challenges that stand in the way towards the achievement of branding objectives.

Best strategies to avoid the pitfalls associated with the introduction of a new product and subsequent branding will therefore be addressed by the SWOT analysis. This is well expounded by the ref in stating that Therefore it makes sense to understand that branding is not about getting your target market to choose you over the competition, but it is about getting your prospects to see you as the only one that provides a solution to their problem.

Conclusion

The decisions on product policy are on the other hand related to the assortment and the type of product (Zeithaml, 2002). As Stone et.al (2002) have warned, customers are at times frustrated with the different assortment of the products offered because of a lack of delineation on branding. However, it should be borne in mind that companies that have opted for a clear distinction of their products through strong and unique branding techniques have achieved much access especially in the introduction of new products into a competitive environment.

In other instances, the issue of lack of coherence between the brand name and the logo may offer very little incentive and thus bottleneck to the branding strategies of these companies. The best approach is to make a simple one have the greatest impact. Consumers are best comfortable with an idea they can easily understand. Lastly, there is a need to create humor in the branding message to attract customers. There is a demonstrated link between customers and things and their drive their positive sides of emotion.

References

  1. Aaker, D. A. (1991). Managing Brand Equity. New York: Free Press.
  2. Barney, J. (1991) Firm Resources and Sustained Competitive Advantage. Journal of Management 17(1): 39-45.
  3. Caniëls, M. C. J. & Gelderman, C. J. (2005). Purchasing strategies in the Kraljic matrix? A power and dependence perspective. Journal of Purchasing and Supply Management 11(2-3): 141-155.
  4. Reda, N. (1999). Advertising and Promotion Management, New York: McGraw-Hill
  5. Stern, L. W., El-Ansary, A. I. and Coughlan, T. (1996). Marketing channels, 5th edition. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.
  6. Stone, M., Hobbs, M and Khaleeli, M 2002. Multi-channel customer management: the Systems for Industrial Products. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.
  7. Verbeke, W., Bagozzi, R. P., & Farris, P. (2006). Manufacturing, Retailing industry, Brands, Vendor supplier relations, Marketing, Distribution channels, Studies. European Journal of Marketing, 40, (5-6): 502-509.
  8. Zeithaml, K. (2002). Brand Loyalty Programs: Are They Shams? Marketing Science, 24(2): 185-19

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