Scientific Essay, 2012
Brand and Corporate Names as Vital Assets to Organisations
All tools of industry analysis across diverse industries reveal one important issue; the market has become a very competitive arena and market players are forced to seek ingenious strategies to maintain market shares and remain competitive. It is not unheard-of for well established incumbents to be overturned from market leadership by new entrants through introduction of radical technologies by the latter (Sood and Tellis 2005, p.152). A common feature among the firms that have maintained competitiveness is their strong branding; whereas industry competitiveness is at an all time high, some consumers would still rather not purchase if it is not a product of their favourite brand. This study will focus on the concept of a brand and a corporate name, the frameworks under which branding operates, the importance and advantages of branding and how branding can be developed and maintained. After this, the study will then explore two emerging issues in branding; branding ethics and anti-branding movements. The guiding thesis of this study is that well managed branding is a sure route to competitive advantage in the current highly competitive markets.
Branding and Corporate Naming
The concept of branding is the important visible part of an underlying more complex reality. According to Chevalier and Mazzalovo (2004, p. 13), the brand name or logo provides the mediation between the essential values of the company and the perceptions of the customer regarding the company, thus its image. The two authors further argue that the consumer is usually after guarantee of specific superior quality in the company’s product, and the provision of this assurance thus leads to the concept of the brand translating to a contract that governs a two-dimensional relationship between the company and its customers (14). Kahle and Kim (2006, p. 4) define brand as the name, sign, symbol, design or combination of these which is intended for the identification of an organization and its differentiation from competitors. The brand is thus a source of differentiation from the closest competitors and this is where the competitive dimension sets in. Corporate marketing on the other hand involves a further stage of development of organizations in which they seek to establish meaningful, positive and profitable bilateral relationships with the customers and also other stakeholders, groups or communities (Balmer and Greyser 2006, p. 732). In both concepts, the perception of the organization held by the customers (and other stakeholders) influences their behaviour towards the organization and its product, which explains the importance attached to product and corporate branding.
The framework within which branding operates can be explained through the image that is formed in the mind of the customer and their reactions which Kahle and Kim (2006, p. 5-6) explain are based on belief hierarchies, categorizations and schemas which influence buyer associations. The company on the other hand supports this by promoting consistency, stability and distinctiveness. Akaka and Alden (2010, pp. 37-56) discuss the framework for branding on a global scale, which is relevant since most of the strongest brands are operate trans-nationally. The two authors base their framework on the global consumer culture and explain that product positioning on this basis (global consumer culture positioning (GCCP) by the organization) versus perceived brand globalness (PBG) by the consumer explains the framework for branding. GCCP is a strategy that identifies a product’s image as a symbol of a given global culture and is usually driven through advertisement and marketing that suggests that consumers around the world are using the given product. PCG concerns the consumers’ views that the product is marketed and used around the world and thus associate it with positives such as quality. The intersection between GCCP and PCG as driven by advertisement and marketing can provide the explanation behind global branding by organizations.
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