The application of marketing methods in respect of a particular product, range of products, or a specific brand is commonly referred to as Brand management. Its role is to increase the product’s perceived value in the eyes of the customer, and at the same time increase the strength of the brand and its brand equity, which refers to the benefits associated with a product that has a particular brand name as compared with the benefits that the same product would achieve if it did not have that brand name.
A brand is regarded as being synonymous with a product whose quality, effectiveness and desirability is perceived by the customer to be maintained no matter how often the product is purchased. The purpose is to increase sales by increasing the profile and desirability of the product in relation to competitive products. An associated benefit is that the manufacturer may feel able to increase the price of the product.
A brand’s value can be assessed in a number of ways, but a particularly pertinent method is the level of profits that it can generate for the manufacturer. Factors that can increase the value of a brand include increasing sales volume, increasing unit price, reducing the product’s cost of sales, and more efficient marketing.
The control and management of the marketing effort applied to the brand, and overall responsibility for its profitability, is a succinct definition of the role of the Brand Manager. He is seen as the driving force behind the brand and holds a pivotal role in the overall marketing strategy. For this reason, Brand Management is invariably seen as a broader and more strategic role than that of the Marketing function alone.
It is an interesting fact that, in respect of many of the world’s leading brands, from the viewpoint of the annual survey published by the prestigious Interbrand and Business Week magazines, the market capitalisation of the companies to which they are associated often consists largely of the value of the brand equity.
It was the company Procter and Gamble who first introduced the concept of brand management.
It has been suggested that brands with a strong marketing base generate the highest returns for shareholders. With all these factors taken into account, it is apparent that, from research conducted by the global consulting firm McKinsey & Company, brands seriously impact shareholder value. This means that, in the final analysis, matters relating to the brand strategy of a company’s products should not be left solely in the hands of the brand manager, but should also involve the participation of the most senior officer in that company.
A good brand name should possess the following characteristics:
Able to be protected under trademark law
Easy to pronounce
Easy to remember
Easy to recognize
Easy to translate into all languages in the markets where the brand will be used Attract attention
Suggest product benefits
Suggest the company or product image by:
Distinguishing the product’s positioning, which is the relative competitive comparison the product occupies in a given market as perceived by the target market.
Being attractive and desirable by the consumer
Stand out amongst a group of other brands