Brand Element Leads to Brand Equity Essay
Mosarrat Farhana University of Dhaka, Bangladesh [email protected] com Abstract: The aim of this paper is to discuss brand elements and to explore its contribution to brand equity based on some relevant research reviews and some examples of prominent brands where brand elements have played a significant role to reach consumer’s head and heart. Brand is a combination of name, symbol or design, which creates a distinctive identity to consumers within a crowd of choices through its different brand elements.
A distinctive or unique offering as well as get-up of a brand is the primary key of survival from the immature death in competition.
Differentiating approach of different brand elements always cause a high level of brand awareness and familiarity among target consumers and later on individually or collectively, brand elements work as clue to consumers to recall and recognize the brand. Proper integration of both strong and weak brand elements of a brand contribute to brand equity, which has been focused here through some literature reviews.
Keywords: Brand, brand elements, brand equity, brand recall, brand recognition 1. Introduction The word ‘Brand’ has become an integral part of our daily life.
We start a day with branded toothpaste and end it with several branded durable and non-durable goods and services. Whatever the product or service, when it becomes a brand, it promises a particular level of quality, trust-worthiness and distinctive position among a dizzying array of choices. We, today’s consumers, are bombarded with tyranny of choices and over communication. The bond between consumer and a strong brand mostly depends on high level of brand awareness and its positive unique association with consumer’s memory.
Thus, even in case of a low involvement buying decision-making, brand awareness plays a vital role to a consumer to recall his/her preferred brand and finalize the buying decision. In modern times, brands first functioned as symbols that enabled consumers to identify and separate one producer from another, with the ability to trace one good back to the manufacturer holding it responsible for its quality (Koehn, 2001), but they are today ascribed with almost divine characteristics serving as a strategic business asset ssential for firms to develop if they are to compete successfully (Aaker, 1991; Kapferer, 2004). Branding has emerged as a top management priority in the last decade due to the growing realization that brands are one of the most valuable intangible assets that firms have. For customers, brands can simplify choice, promise a particular quality level, reduce risk, and/or engender trust (Keller & Lehmann, 2006).
Building a strong brand, according to the Customer-Based Brand Equity model, can be thought of in terms of a sequence of steps, in which each step is contingent upon the successful completion of the previous step; and the first step is to ensure identification of the brand with customers and an association of the brand in customers’ minds with a specific class or customer need. Achieving the right brand identity involves creating brand awareness, which initially involves linking the brand – brand name, logo, symbol and so forth – to certain associations in memory.
That is, brand elements can be chosen to enhance brand awareness; facilitate the formation of strong, favorable and unique brand associations; or elicit positive brand judgments and feelings (Keller, 2001, 2003). Brand elements facilitate the process of consumer brain mapping and play a key role in building brand equity. Consumers over period are able to identify the brand through brand elements. The idea is to develop brand elements, which can properly communicate about brand and its point of difference from competing brands (“Choosing,” n. . ). The aim of this paper is to discuss on brand elements and its contribution to brand equity based on some relevant research reviews and then present some examples of prominent brands where brand elements have played a significant role to reach consumer’s head and heart. 2. Brand and Brand elements: identity to consumers A traditional definition of a brand: “the name, associated with one or more items in the product line, which is used to identify the source of character of the item(s)” (Kotler, 2000).
The American Marketing Association (AMA) define a brand as “a name, term, sign, symbol, or design, or a combination of them, intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of competitors” . Within this view, as Keller (2003) says, “technically speaking, whenever a marketer creates a new name, logo, or symbol for a new product, he or she has created a brand”. From the beginning, brands or a brand was simply being used to mark ownership of cattle or other forms of livestock (Aaker, 1991).
Later, during medieval times brands served as distinguishing symbols on goods created by craftsmen (de Chernatony & McDonald, 1992). In modern times, brands first functioned as symbols that enabled consumers to identify and separate one producer from another, with the ability to trace one good back to the manufacturer holding it responsible for its quality (Koehn, 2001), but they are today ascribed with almost divine characteristics serving as a strategic business asset essential for firms to develop if they are to compete successfully (Aaker, 1991; Kapferer, 2004).
The marketing discourse stressing the importance of brands seems to have spread to the overall every day discourse of contemporary consumer society, where individual consumer nowadays is encouraged to regard themselves as personal brands in themselves, worthy of development and nurturing in the same manner as commercial brand objects (Montoya, 2002; Lair, Sullivan,& Cheney,2005). In the works of Aaker, (1991, 1996), Kapferer (1995, 1997) and Keller (1993, 1998), the discussion of brands has come to include the management of psychological associations developed under a brand name from the manufacturers and consumers perspectives.
Brands identify and differentiate a company’s offerings to customers and other parties. A brand is more than a name (or “mark”). Other brand elements such as logos and symbols (Nike’s swoosh and McDonalds’ golden arches), packaging (Coke’s contour bottle and Kodak’s yellow and black film box), and slogans (BMW’s “Ultimate Driving Machine” and VISA’s “It’s Everywhere You Want to be”) play an important branding role as well (Keller & Lehmann, 2006). Brand elements, sometimes called brand identities, are those trademark able devices that serve to identify and differentiate the brand.
The main brand elements are brand names, URLs, logos, symbols, characters, spokespeople, slogans, jingles, packages, and signage (Keller, 2003). Brand elements can be chosen to both enhance brand awareness and facilitate the formation of strong, favorable, and unique brand associations (Keller, 2003). A number of broad criteria are useful for choosing and designing brand elements to build brand equity (Keller, 2003): (1) memorability, (2) meaningfulness, (3) aesthetic appeal, (4) transferability both within and across product categories and across geographical and cultural boundaries and market segments), (5) adaptability and flexibility over time, and (6) legal and competitive protectability and defensibility. Each brand element will have its own strength and weakness. Key to brand equity is the mixture and balance between the different elements in their verbal and visual context to maximize their collective contribution (Keller, 2008): Offensive Role Memorability Meaningfulness Likability Defensive Role Transferability Adaptability Protectability
On the offensive side, to built brand equity, brand elements should be memorable and distinctive, easy to recognize and easy to recall the sticky factor. Secondly, brand elements need to be meaningful to convey the descriptive or persuasive content. It means whether the customer is able to identify the right product category as well as whether the brand element is credible in this product category. Hence, the descriptive dimension is a determinant of brand awareness and salience. Persuasive in this context means a determinant of brand image and positioning.
It is the specific information about particular key attributes and benefits of the brand. This could even reflect brand personality. Last offensive criteria, likability, reflects aesthetical appealing like the brand style and brand themes (Keller, 2008). On the defensive side, to maintain brand equity, brand elements should be transferable in such a way that they can cover more than one product, product line, market segments, geographic boundaries, markets and cultures. Secondly, brand elements need o be adaptable and flexible in time to remain relevant. Protectability is the last defensive criterion and considers the legal and unauthorized competitive infringements of the brand (Keller, 2008). Brand equity: Brands represent enormously valuable pieces of legal property, capable of influencing consumer behavior, being bought and sold, and providing the security of sustained future revenues to their owner. The value directly or indirectly accrued by these various benefits is often called brand equity (Kapferer, 2005; Keller, 2003).
The concept of brand equity has interested academics and practitioners for more than a decade, primarily due to the importance in today’s marketplace of building, maintaining and using brands to obtain strategic advantage. The concept refers to the basic idea that a product’s value to consumers, the trade and the firm is somehow enhanced when it is associated or identified over time with a set of unique elements that define the brand concept (Erdem et. al, 1999). Brand equity has been described as the benefit endowed by the brand to the product (Farquhar, 1989).
This benefit can be viewed and analyzed from the perspective of either the consumer or the firm (Shocker & Weitz, 1988). The value of a brand to consumers is generally referred to as consumer-based brand equity (Keller, 1993). Brand equity research in marketing, as exemplified by Aaker’s (1991) conceptualization and Keller’s (1993) framework, focuses on consumers’ brand associations. Aaker has suggested that brand associations, brand awareness, perceived quality, brand loyalty, and other proprietary brand assess (e. g. patents) underlie brand equity. Keller has also emphasized brand awareness and associations as key underpinnings of consumer-based brand equity. This view of brand equity is rooted in cognitive psychology and focuses on consumer cognitive processes (Erdem & Swait, 1998). The value of a brand – and thus its equity – is ultimately derived in the marketplace from the words and actions of consumers. Consumers decide with their purchases, based on whatever factors they deem important, which brands have more equity than other brands.
Although the details of different approaches to conceptualize brand equity differ, they tend to share a common core: All definitions typically either implicitly or explicitly rely on brand knowledge structures in the minds of consumers – individuals or organizations – as the source or foundation of brand equity. In other words, the real power of a brand is in thoughts, feelings, images, beliefs, attitudes, experiences and so on that exist in the minds of consumers (Keller, 2003).
Sources of brand equity arise from the customer mindset. Customer based brand equity occurs when consumer has a high level of awareness and familiarity with the brand and holds some strong, favorable, and unique brand associations in memory. Recall that brand awareness is related to the strength of the brand in memory, as reflected by consumers’ ability to identify various brand elements (i. e. , the brand name, logo, symbol, character, packaging, and slogan) under different conditions.
In addition, recognition processes require that consumers be able to discriminate a stimulus – a word, object, image, or whatever – as something they have previously seen. Brand recognition relates to consumers’ ability to identify the brand under a variety of circumstances and can involve identification of any of the brand elements (Keller, 2003). According to Jeremy Bullmore (former chairman of J Walter Thompson, author and columnist) -“Consumers build an image [of a brand] as birds build nests. From the scraps and straws they chance upon. Thus, a brand name, logo, a single tune, packaging or any visual differentiation or any unique feeling/experience with the brand or any type of marketing activity works like a clue for consumer to preserve an image or perception about the brand in the memory which helps consumer to recall and recognize the brand under different conditions. 3. Contribution of brand elements to reinforce brand equity A brand element is visual or verbal information that serves to identify and differentiate a product. The most common brand elements are names, logos, symbols, characters, packaging and slogans.
Brand elements can be chosen to enhance brand awareness or facilitate the formation of strong, favorable and unique brand associations. The best test of the brand-building contribution of brand elements is what consumers would think about the product or service if they only knew about its brand name, associated logo and so forth. Because elements have different advantages, a sub-set or even the entire possible brand elements are often employed (Keller, Aperia & Georgson, 2008). A number of options and criteria relevant for choosing brand elements have been discussed above.
Now, some common brand elements will be explored to identify how they work together or individually to contribute to brand equity. Brand Name: A brand name is the basis upon which the brand equity is built (Aaker, 1991). The name is a critical, core sign of the brand, the ‘basis for awareness and communications effort’ (Aaker, 1991). Since the name can bring inherent strength to a brand (Kohli and Labahn, 1997; Klink, 2001), brand names need to be actively managed in order to influence external stakeholders.
In a conventional branding perspective, the name is an instrument at the disposal of the marketing team, who can use symbolism in order to affect consumers’ perceptions of products or corporations’ attributes (Klink, 2001; Yorkston and Menon, 2004). Once launched, however, the new name becomes the psychological property of consumers (Lerman & Garbarino, 2002). A brand name is an anchor for a product’s identity – it carries with it essentially all of the brand equity.
While corporate names can be changed, brand names cannot be changed without a significant risk of losing all equity. Brand names should therefore be viewed as long-term commitments. They must wear well, and in an increasingly global marketplace, travel well (Kohli & Leuthesser, 2001). The brand name is a fundamentally important choice because it often captures the central theme or key associations of a product in a very compact and economical fashion. Brand names can be an extremely effective shorthand means of communication.
Whereas the time it takes, consumers to comprehend marketing communications can range from a half a minute (for an advertisement) to potentially hours (for a sales call), the brand name can be noticed and its meaning registered or activated in memory within just a few seconds (Keller, 2003). Thus, a brand name is more than a word to its target audience. From the very beginning of its birth, a brand name must convey message on its intriguing position, and inspiring and believable promise to grab consumers’ attention within a competitive context.
Keller (2003) has focused on six general criteria of Landor’s Brand Name Taxonomy to select a brand name for a new product. Besides according to Robertson (1989) and Keller (2003), brand name needs to be simple and easy to pronounce or spell; familiar and meaningful; and different, distinctive and unusual to enhance brand recall and recognition process; and again being a compact form of communication, brand name often has to be memorable to reinforce an important benefit association that makes up its product positioning (e. g. , Head & Shoulder shampoo, Close-Up toothpaste).
The brand name must be chosen with a view to the brand’s future and destiny, not in relation to the specific market and product situation at the time of its birth. One must therefore distinguish the type of research related to creating a full-fledged brand name – destined to expand internationally, to cover a large product line, to expand to other categories, and to last – from the opposite relate to creating a product name with a more limited scope in space and time. Emphasis, process time and financial investments will certainly be different in both cases.
The founders of Apple were well aware of this: within few weeks, the market would know that Apple made microcomputers. It was therefore unnecessary to fall into the trap of names such as Micro-Computers International or Computer Research Systems. In calling themselves Apple, on the contrary, they could straightway convey the brand’s durable uniqueness (and not just the characteristics of the temporary Apple-1): this uniqueness has to do more with the other facets of brand identity than with its physique (i. e. ts culture, its relationship, its personality, etc. ) (Kapferer, 2008). Logos and Symbols: Visual brand elements often play a critical role in building equity, especially in terms of brand awareness (Keller, 2003). Brand’s visual identity is essential to establishing and maintaining a presence in the marketplace. A visual interpretation of the brand promise that it will be possible to develop highly memorable, easily recognizable, and visual brand signals that trigger consumers to build associations between the brand itself and its chosen position.
Logos are visual icons providing two basic, yet necessary, functions for brands: identification (a marker for finding a specific offering) and differentiation (how to tell that offering apart from others). Over time, they directly equate to their given brands. Whether they are viewed from a distance, or out of the corner of eyes, these visual icons are equated with the brands they represent. For this same reason, when driving in another country, it is possible to understand that a red octagonal sign means STOP, even if the language is unknown.
This is why children who cannot yet read still recognize the golden arches and cry out “McDonald’s! ” They equate the brand signal with the brand (Savard and Gallagher, 2010 & 2011). There are many types of logos, ranging from corporate names or trademarks (i. e. , word marks) written in a distinctive form, on one hand, to entirely abstract logos, which may be completely unrelated to the word mark, corporate name, or corporate activities, on the other hand (Murphy, 1990). Examples of brands with strong word marks (and no accompanying logo separate from the name) include
Coca-Cola, Dunhill, and Kit-Kat. Examples of abstract logos include the Mercedes star, Rolex crown, CBS eye, Nike swoosh, and the Olympic rings. These non-word mark logos are also often called symbols (Keller, 2003). A strong symbol can provide cohesion and structure to an identity and make it much easier to gain recognition and recall. Its presence can be a key ingredient of brand development and its absence can be a substantial handicap. Symbols involving visual imagery can be memorable and powerful.
The Transamerica pyramid, Nike’s “swoosh” the McDonald’s golden arches and the Kodak yellow-each strong visual image captures much of its respective brand’s identity because connections between the symbol and the identity elements have been built up over time. It just takes a glance to be reminded of the brand (Aaker, 2002). Often logos are devised as symbols to reinforce or embellish the brand meaning in some ways. Some logos are literal representations of the brand name, enhancing brand awareness (e. g. , the Arm and Hammer, American Red Cross and Apple logos). Logos can be quite concrete or pictorial in nature (e. . , the American Express centurion, Land o’Lakes butter Indian, the Morton salt girl with umbrella, and Ralph Lauren’s polo player). Certain elements of the product or company can become a symbol (e. g. , the Goodyear blimp, McDonald’s golden arches, and the Playboy bunny) (Keller, 2003). Logos that convey meaning will be more readily remembered and recognized than will abstract logos. However, an abstract logo may be desirable, and even necessary, for multi-product companies that develop family or umbrella brands. Logos need not be as durable as brand names. They may (need to) be updated.
However, when considering a change to a logo, it is best to assume that consumers may tolerate the change, but they will not necessarily embrace it. It is the old, familiar face that has earned their trust (Kohli & Leuthesser, 2001). Logos can be easily changed over time to achieve a more contemporary look. For example, Burger King, the United State’s second-largest hamburger chain, added blue to its logo to make it more eye-catching and used slanted graphics to represent speed. John Deere revamped its deer trademark for the first time in 32 years in 2000, making the animal appear to be leaping up rather than landing.
The change was intended to “convey a message of strength and agility with a technology edge” (McCarthy, 2000, as cited in Keller, 2003). Figure1: Burger King Brand Identity – Old & New Source: “Brown”, 2009 Figure2: New Deere Brand Logo. Source: “John”, 2011 A BP corporate identity designed in the early 1920s was used for over 80 years, with refreshed versions appearing periodically to keep the logo looking contemporary. However, in 2000 there was a break from the past when the corporate identity was completely redesigned to create the current tessellated ‘sunflower’ or Helios identity.
This change was a reflection of a change in the company’s approach to environmental concerns. BP’s emphasis on the development of renewable energy sources was encapsulated in the tagline ‘Beyond Petroleum’, along with other similar aspirational, environmentally themed messages, such as ‘bigger picture’ and ‘better products’ (“Power,” n. d. ). Because of their visual nature, logos and symbols are often easily recognized and can be a valuable way to identify products although a key concern is how well they become linked in memory to the corresponding brand name and product to boost brand recall (Keller, 2003).
Figure 3: Changes in BP brand logo Source: “Power,” n. d Characters: Characters represent a special type of brand symbol – one that takes on human or real-life characteristics. Brand characters are often colorful and rich in imagery by which they tend to be attention getting and can contribute to brand equity. Brand characters can help brands break through the market place clutter as well as help to communicate a key product benefit (Keller, 2003). In a crowded and competitive market, a character can create pure brand salience.
The character becomes a shortcut reference to the brand and creates greater visibility than a static logo (Deane, n. d. , as cited in Costa, 2010). By owning a bit of the public’s mental real estate, characters can contribute to the fundamental aims of brand awareness (Myers, n. d. , as cited in Costa, 2010; Keller, 2003). Characters have traditionally been used as an icon in above-theline advertising (Costa, 2010; Keller, 2003) and in package designs (Keller, 2003). A memorable character conveying brand values is an effective way to captivate consumers within a competitive context.
The Snap, Crackle and Pop gnomes, for example, have been used for more than 80 years to make Kellogg’s Rice Krispies cereal memorable to children and their parents (Costa, 2010). Characters come in many different forms such as animated characters (e. g. , Pilllsbury’s Poppin’ Fresh Doughboy, the Keebler Elves, and numerous cereal characters like Tony the Tiger, Toucan Sam, and Cap’n Crunch) and live-action figures (e. g. , the Marlboro Cowboy, Ronald McDonald) (Keller, 2003).
Characters often must be updated with time to keep their image and personality relevant to the target market. The Campbell Soup kids have become more “buff” over time – taller, trimmer, and more athletic (Keller, 2003). Aunt Jemima (brand of prepared foods) has also gone through a makeover and has a much different and contemporary look (Ono, 1994, as cited in Keller, 2003). Packaging: Packaging is an important brand element, related to the function of designing and producing container or wrappers for a product (Croft, 1985, as cited in Keller, 2003).
This is the container for a product which encompasses the physical appearance of the container including design, color, shape, labeling and materials used (Arens, 1996). To achieve marketing objective as well as target consumers’ desires, both aesthetic and functional components of packaging must be chosen correctly. Aesthetic components relate to a package’s size, shape, material, color, text and graphics where innovative printing process plays vital role to convey elaborate and colorful messages on the package at the “moment of truth” at the point of purchase (Serafin, 1985, as cited in Keller, 2003).
Again, structural design is crucial. For examples, packaging innovations with food products over the years have been resulted in packages being resalable, tamperproof and more convenient to use (e. g. easy to hold, easy to open, or squeezable). Changes in canning have made vegetables crunchier, and special wraps have extended the life of refrigerated food (Hall, 1986, as cited in Keller, 2003). The traditional role of the package has been to protect, contain and deliver the product to the retail shelf (Feig, 1999, as cited in Underwood, 2003).
However, Schoormans and Robben (1997) mention that the package is not only for protection of the contents and facilitation of distribution, but is also performing several communication functions like brand and product identification, price information and product use. Hence, the task of the package is to communicate the product’s emotional and rational functions and benefits (Gawek, Pauw, & Wijgerse, 2007). Packaging can have important brand equity benefits for a company. Appearance of a package can reinforce valuable brand association and can become an important means of brand recognition.
For example, the word “green bottle” comes first in consumers’ minds whenever they think of Heineken beer (Keller, 2003). Distinctive and relevant packaging is a valuable asset to brand strength. Because it is the closest the brand can get to the target consumer and consequently, can create a brand identity, embody brand equity and influence consumer decisions. Good packaging design that is both relevant and differentiated has the ability not only to create a successful brand, but also to become its flagship and even an icon, as exemplified by CocaCola (“Brand,” 2011).
For the great majority of consumer products, package design is the single most effective communicator of a brand’s core identity. Cross-category studies show that in unaided awareness tests, consumers remember more about the package than they do about the advertising or promotions. Based on his analysis of hundreds of brand equity studies, Elliot Young, chairman of Perception Research Services, confirms that consumers recall the color of package first, the shape of package second (if you have a proprietary or distinctive package structure), and the style of brand logo third (Wallace, 2001).
Effective branding elevates a product from just being one commodity amongst many identical commodities, to become something with a unique promise. Rachel’s Organic Butter, for example, chose black for its packaging design so it would stand out from the typical yellow, gold and green colors (representing sunshine and fields) used by competitor products. The result is that the brand appears more premium, distinctive and perhaps evens more ‘daring’ than its competitors (“Power,” n. d. ).
Figure 4: Distinctive color in packaging Source: “Power,” n. d. Thus, one of the most important visual design elements for a package is its color. Some package designers believe that consumers have a “color vocabulary” for certain types of products. For example, it is believed that it would be difficult to sell milk in anything but a white carton and similarly club soda in blue package. Again, certain brands have “color ownership” which is difficult for other brands to use same color and be successful.
For example: Red: Ritz crackers, Folgers coffee, Colgate toothpaste, and Coca-Cola soft drinks Orange: Tide laundry detergent, Wheaties cereal, and Stouffer’s frozen dinners Yellow: Kodak film, Juicy Fruit chewing gum, Cheerios cereal, Lipton tea and Bisquick biscuit mix (Purvis, 1986, as cited in Keller, 2003). Whatever the industry, keeping brand communication fresh is essential for reinvigorating the brand; and thus using designers to help reassess design or identity of the brand every few years should be seen as an ongoing investment in the company rather than a costly extra (“Power,” n. d. ).
Although packaging changes can be expensive, they can be cost effective compared with other marketing communication costs. Packages are changed for some specific reasons such as, to be upgraded to signal a higher price, to avail new distribution channels, to expand product line or to accompany a new product innovation to signal changes to consumers. Besides all these reasons, packages are often redesigned to present a contemporary look to new generation consumers. However, it is important not to lose the key package equities that have been built up and led to consumers’ brand recognition (Keller, 2003).
For example: to rejuvenate the brand, in 2007 Coca-Cola commissioned brand identity and packaging design firm Turner Duckworth to produce a range of new packaging designs that would breathe new life into the cornerstones of Coke’s visual identity; the classic logo, the contour bottle and the use of red and white (“Power,” n. d. ). Source:” Coca-Cola’s,” 2009 In that context, the co-principal Bruce Duckworth says in “Coca-Cola’s” (2009): “As a successful brand becomes familiar, adding new graphics is the easy answer to keep it fresh. However, over time the brand is diluted.
Eventually you need to return to the basics. This is what we have done with Coca-Cola. You need only a slice of Coke’s script to know it. The bottle shape remains the same but in a very contemporary new material. The result is packaging that feels at once familiar and new”. Again, in 2009, Coca-Cola and DASANI products from the Coca-Cola Company have been launched in innovative sustainable packaging called Plant Bottle, which is the first ever-recyclable PET plastic beverage bottle, made partially from plants, with a lighter footprint on the planet (“Coca-Cola,” 2009).
As consumers in beverage segment are expected to migrate the fastest to green packaging (Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute [PMMI], 2010), this innovative ‘green packaging’ of Coca-Cola will keep the brand align with the change of consumer mind-set. Figure 6: Innovative bottles for Coca-Cola & DASANI Source: “Coca-Cola,” 2009 Slogans: Slogans are short phrases that communicate descriptive or persuasive information about the brand (Keller, 2003). A slogan can capture the essence of a brand and become an important part of the brand equity (Aaker, 2002).
Slogans often appear in advertisement but play vital role on packaging and in different marketing activities to work like shorthand means to build brand equity (Keller, 2003). Slogans function as useful “hooks” or “handles” to help consumer grasp the meaning of a brand in terms of its positioning, summarize the theme of advertisements (Keller, 2003; Kohli & Leuthesser, 2001), and provide continuity when copy is changed both within and across advertising campaigns. In essence, slogans form a link between long-term brand identity and day-to-day marketing activities (Kohli & Leuthesser, 2001).
According to Aaker (2002), if a brand is “packaged meaning”, a slogan can be the ribbon that ties the package together and provides an extra touch. For example, the famous Avis slogan “We’re number 2, we try harder” clearly positions the brand with respect to competition (the leader, Hertz) and also captures the thrust of the Avis strategy. In today’s marketplace, almost all brands employ slogans; they enhance a brand’s image, aid in its recognition and recall, and help create brand differentiation in consumers’ minds (Kohli, Leuthesser & Suri, 2007).
Slogans can contribute to brand equity in multiple ways such as building brand awareness by playing off the brand name; for example: ‘Have a break, Have a Kit Kat’ ( Sutherland, 2004); or by making strong links between brand and product category; for example: ‘If You’re Not Wearing Dockers, You’re Just Wearing Pants’(Keller, 2003). Slogans can be so powerful that they can become a rallying cry for any cause. The vastly successful Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign has motivated people to pursue not just personal fitness goals but also worthy social goals.
More than just a part of Nike’s communication strategy, it has become a ‘90s anthem. Another highly successful slogan is DeBeers’, “A Diamond is forever. ” This widely recognized line was coined in 1948 to reverse a trend of declining diamond sales. It achieved its goals, and has gone on to become part of American culture (Kohli & Leuthesser, 2001). Most important, slogans can help to reinforce the brand’s desired point of difference, for example: ‘Nothing Runs like a Deere’ by John Deere Tractors (Keller, 2003). Finally, slogans must be long enough to say something meaningful, but short enough to be memorable.
While “Think different” is short slogan by Apple, it says a lot. This make users feel better and smarter for using Apple products, for not following the crowd, for having the courage to follow their own beliefs, despite the ridicule of Windows users (Campbell, 1999). Sometimes slogans become too strongly bonded with the brand to introduce new ones, though changes in slogans with time are inevitable. Otherwise, successful slogans will become public phrases rather than focusing brand meaning or will continue to convey same product meaning which is not long needed by the brand to build equity.
In many cases, moderate modification of an existing slogan may prove more fruitful than introducing a new one (Keller, 2003). For example: the General Electric replaced electricity with technology (and later progress) in its slogans, in each case giving a slightly more modern perspective on the brand. Finally, the “bring good things to life” slogan was introduced. All of these themes were consistent with the central concept that GE as a corporation develops technology-based innovations that help people live better (Aaker, 2002).
Jingles: Jingles are musical messages written around the brand. These are composed by professional songwriters with enough catchy hooks and choruses to turn them permanently registered in the minds of listeners – willingly or unwillingly (Keller, 2003). By employing scent, sound and material textures in customer experiences, today’s marketers are finding new ways to build stronger connections to their customers and drive preference for their brands. Manufacturers have long known about the impact of engaging all the senses.
From Brylcreem’s “A little dab’ll do ya” radio jingle in the 1940s, sound has played a key role in branding. In 1995, Intel expanded its “Intel Inside” campaign with a four-tone melody that helped cement a positive image in consumers’ minds (Dixon, Stone & Zednickova, n. d. ). Like other brand elements, jingles are not transferable, but they communicate brand benefits in clever and amusing ways and enhance brand awareness (Keller, 2003). Jingles often have a way of connecting with the emotional receptors of consumers than ads without them.
When people in a specific brand’s target market find themselves singing its jingle in association with a moment of joy, peace or comfort, for instance, they connect that feeling with the brand and jingle. Again, some jingles are so catchy and memorable that they take a brand to new heights. For example: “Ad Age” magazine highlights the McDonald’s “You Deserve a Break Today” as the most memorable jingle of the 20th century and the Army “Be All That You Can Be” recruiting jingle as number two in the list of top 10 jingles of the century (Kokemuller, 2011).
Strength and function of all brand elements are not same. They can work individually and/or collectively to build brand awareness depending on their strengths and weaknesses. Individually, they may convey direct meaning of the brand to consumers, but may not be strong enough to evoke an innate response. Whereas collectively, all these brand elements can give consumers actual brand experience and contribute to brand equity. According to Keller (2003), it is necessary to “mix and match” these different brand elements to maximize brand equity. 4.
Conclusion Brand is a mental game where each element tells a story about the brand itself and these stories are destined together to a single goal to draw a distinct image in the consumer’s mind. Differentiation is an inevitable part of the brand management, which can be done by positioning and integrated marketing communication. However, this differentiation starts from developing each brand element distinctively to avoid the ‘me too’ approach. Brand was born to separate a group of products from that of others; but nowadays, brand is used by consumers to differentiate them within society.
It has become a public property and consumers have the right to know the differentiating quality of the brand during purchase. Consumers depend on the brand so much that even in a grocery shop, brand works as shorthand to full their shopping cart within shortest possible time. Thus, elements of brand need to be visible and memorable to consumers so that they could recognize their desired brand within a crowd. Since brand is not all about exchange, it is about how to create a profound relation with the consumer.
The basis of brand equity lies in the relationship that develops between a consumer and the differentiating offerings of a brand. In some cases, product itself is so innovative that brand can easily seek a premium positioning in the market. However, in fast moving consumer goods industry, differentiation is very challenging to create and vital to strike in consumer’s memory. Distinctive approach of each brand element works to portrait an image of the brand in consumer’s memory and later on, acts as clue to recall and recognize the brand under different circumstances.
Exploring some successful and strong brands in the market, it can be concluded that collective strength of brand elements always contributes to build as well as reinforce brand equity since the birth of the brand. As a part of the successful brand management, immense focus and research are required to work out clutter breaking image of the brand.
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