Mohd Azad Jasmi

By: Azad Jasmi

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Monday, 7-Jul-2008 21:48 Email | Share | Bookmark
Branding I

Ever since I was "introduced" to a brand management planning while I was at General Motors; I feel that this topic is very important especially to those who are seeking to place their mark on the business platform. Some of the articles here may give some lights to those who love brand management.

Branding is the creation and development of your company's brand: the logo, images, slogans, ideas and other information connected to your company or product. Branding is what makes your company recognizable and unique, and this site will provide valuable research points to help get you started.

The Brand has risen to occupy a place of paramount importance on the pages of such stalwart business publications as Financial World, Business Week, and Fortune magazine. In the 90’s, when these reputable magazines first started reporting financial valuations for brands, much to everyone’s surprise, these valuations were often greatly in excess of the annual revenues of the companies surveyed. As the reality and significance of these numbers sunk into the corporate world, the concept of “the Brand” quickly rose to a new level of strategic significance.
Still many start-ups, technology driven companies, and others in business-to-business and non-consumer markets fail to recognize that this Brand phenomenon applies to all organizations. These individuals have been accustomed to thinking of brands as a “marketing concern,” or as only of interest to those who provide consumer goods or services. However, the Brand, in virtue of its significant financial value, and enormous potential to drive economic markets, has become a major strategic factor in the corporate world providing competitive advantage, delivering shareholder value, creating wealth, and ensuring social prosperity.

The Emergence of the Brand
Fifteen years ago “the Brand” wasn’t even on the radar screen for senior corporate executives. At best, “the brand,” was limited to the marketing department of consumer packaged goods enterprises as a tool of marketing.

But then, during the early 1990s, a new corporate strategy, “growth through acquisitions,” emerged and initiated a now famous wave of merger and acquisition activity that has lasted until our present day. However, as visionary corporate executives began to acquire companies, they encountered an unforeseen obstacle in setting the value of their acquisition targets. In days past, book value and some multiple of revenues had been adequate to strike an acquisition deal. But suddenly, attractive companies, with enhanced market capitalizations, weren’t to be had at book value driven prices because of their “intangible assets.” As accommodations were reached and increasingly pricey deals were struck, a whole new concept emerged that has since found its way into the top ranks of corporate management. It was the concept of “intellectual capital,” and it came to refer to a range of intangible intellectual assets, but most primarily, as so many of these early and astounding deals revolved around famous brands, to “the Brand.”

As we look back today, we can see that the beginning of the decade of the 1990s was the beginning of a tremendous increase in economic activity worldwide. Mergers, acquisitions, new financial vehicles, and complex business arrangements emerged to radically change the economic landscape and companies of every shape and size for the better. During this time, mergers and acquisitions were revealing that what made a company attractive to an acquirer often wasn’t captured on its balance sheet, be it a famous brand or patented technology or the promise of a totally revolutionary business concept.

The Theory of the Brand
The strategic thinking surrounding brands advanced by leaps and bounds during the 1990s to become the province of the most successful executives and strategic thinkers.

Spurred by the emerging theory of intellectual capital assets, the Brand was soon recognized as the ultimate intellectual capital asset, the raison d’etre for all other forms of intellectual capital, and as an end-in-itself for any and every successful enterprise, undertaking, or corporate entity.

For the most effective branding, a memorable name and a ubiquitous slogan should be combined with an instantly recognizable and unique logo. A logo is the graphic or design by which your firm or product will come to be imagined by the customer. As in other elements of branding, simplicity can often be the best strategy. Your logo can be as straightforward as a simple geometric shape or, potentially, an elaborate design of a simple idea — such as a silhouette of a person or an object. In contrast to other elements of branding, your logo needn’t in itself be a clear representation of what your firm does, or what your product is. Its most important factor is being recognizable and unique.

To use another of the most famous examples from popular branding, Kentucky Fried Chicken’s logo is the ‘Colonel Sanders’ design — a smiling image of the face of the firm’s founder. In itself, this iconic branding doesn’t represent ‘chicken’, or even food of any kind. But it is remembered in association with the name of the firm, meaning that as a whole package, its branding successfully keeps the firm lodged in its customers’ memories.

Once the logo has been chosen, it should be used regularly and consistently throughout your branding strategy, in order to represent your firm or product wherever possible. You should combine the elements of your branding — firm name, slogan and logo — on each piece of correspondence you make or advertising space you buy related to your product. This means that emails, letterheads, business cards and invoices, and promotion and advertising, should bear the main elements of your branding. In doing this, your branding will be extended to the reaches of everything you and your products do, and will continue to spread the word of your growing success

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