Branding Brand Is a Living Entity Term Paper

Pages: 10 (3339 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Business - Advertising

Branding brand is a living entity - and it is enriched or undermined cumulatively over time, the product of a thousand small gestures. - Michael Eisner, former CEO, Disney

What are brands, how do they work, how are they created and why? What is a position trap? What is a product attribute fixation trap? What impact, if any, does branding have on the cost of goods and services that consumers deal with? These and more questions regarding branding and marketing will be addressed, answered, and reviewed in this paper.

Meanwhile, are consumers being basically branded out? Are there just too many brands in the marketplace to allow any single brand to stick out like a healthy thumb? Outside of the few high-visibility, top-shelf corporate brands, what chance to other smaller companies have of shoving, wedging their brands in between the thousands that compete for consumer attention?

An article in Advertising Age (Hughes, et al., 2004) explains that "brand development has never been so difficult." Indeed, Hughes writes, a "staggering number" of marketing executives are failing at their chosen profession - they "just aren't up to the challenge." Why? Hughes uses the example of the old West, when cattle got a "brand" on their hides and that way ranchers could tell which ones belonged to them, and which were the property of neighboring ranchers.

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That worked "just fine if four ranches and 1,000 head of cattle share a valley," Hughes explains. "But put 800 brands on 1,000 head of cattle and you've created a valley of confusion." And no one is better at creating brand confusion than the auto industry, the writer asserts. To wit, Automotive News reports that in 1974 there were about 130 automotive nameplates and today there are 260. Whereas there were 33 SUV nameplates in 1997, seven years later there are about 100. Too many marketers "beaver away, 'branding' everything in sight and 'partnering' with everything from Turkey World magazine to Little sisters of the Poor," says Hughes.

Term Paper on Branding Brand Is a Living Entity - Assignment

But wait, branding should assist people in making choices, not confuse them more than they are already confused. Branding requires "making a product stand out in a look-alike herd," he continues. Acura is a case in point: "how a car that good can be so invisible is a continuing mystery," according to Hughes. The problem is Acura advertising, which has become "no more than costly white noise" because they use every conceivable "sports-sedan cliche."

So what's the answer? Being "different" doesn't always mean that you're better, the writer points out; but being "the same" is "never better." Enduring brands are build on differences "that mean something to their customers." Over time, a high-quality brand acquires a "patina of authenticity that the herd can't emulate." It takes teamwork, vision, good execution and a host of other cliches, to create a great brand. But "most of all," Hughes concludes, "building a brand with a genuine, desirable difference takes courage." And it's sad that today courage is in "short supply," says Hughes.

The difference between marketing and branding: Marketing is about "planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion, and distribution of ideas, goods, and services to create satisfactory exchanges," according to the University of Minnesota Communications Forum ( Branding, meanwhile, is not just about getting your target market to pick you over your competitors - "But it is about getting your key audiences to see you as the only one that provides a solution to their problem."

The UMNCF discussion points out that it is pivotal to distinguish between marketing and branding because the "process" of branding is as valuable as the product that is being branded. "We can't lose sight of the forest through the trees," UMNCF concludes; the "sum of the parts" is all that we have to go on. Taglines will "come and go" but a brand is supposed to be permanent.

A classic example of how to build a brand - and then market it expertly - is found in the story of Tony Hawk, the skateboard icon who is almost 40 years old but still "hasn't lost his juice with kids," which is a trick very few "aging sports celebs have mastered" (Hyman 2006). An article in BusinessWeek online explains that in order to build his own brand, Hawk resisted taking millions from mega-deals that have been offered him by giants like Nike. "Tony Hawk wouldn't be Tony Hawk if he had a swoosh on head to toe," says Pat Hawk, the skater's sister, who serves the star as COO of Tony Hawk Inc., in Vista, California.

The Tony Hawk brand got started because Hawk was a great skater at a time when skateboarding was coming into its own; he was a "heavyweight champ of his sport through the 1980s and 1990s, rolling to the No. 1 ranking in vertical skating (on a steep sloped track) 12 straight years through 1999," Hyman writes in BusinessWeek. And though Hawk has not skated competitively since 2003, he performs at exhibitions and puts out videos and more than that, "He lives and breathes the lifestyle that these kids are either doing or want to do," says Jeff Bliss, who is president of Javelin Group (a sports marketing company in Virginia).

So by keeping his brand to himself, and by staying "clean-cut" without the ubiquitous tattoos that turn parents off to some of the hip-hop and NBA stars their kids idolize, Hawk has kept himself in the front of the skating and "X-Games" style sports that kids love.

His marketing has been amazing; starting with his video game Tony Hawk's Pro-Skater, released in 1999, which has raked in upwards of $1.1 billion, Hawk has rocketed himself and his brand into pop culture giant status. The video game marketing coup also "stretched the Hawk brand far beyond kids with crash helmets in their closet," Hyman continues. Hawk insisted that the initial video game - and his latest releases, Tony Hawk's Project 8 and Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam - absolutely depicts realistic stunts and human moves on the boards. "I'd played video games since Missile Command in the local arcade," he is quoted as saying in the Hyman interview.

When I got the chance to work on a game, I wanted it right," Hawk added.

Additional marketing efforts that pay off for Hawk include his extreme-sports mega show on wheels (he plays at Six Flags parks among other venues) called "Boom HuckJam."

Trademark and trade name: According to the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, a trademark is a "name, symbol, or other device identifying a produce, officially registered and legally restricted to the use of the owner or manufacturer." A trade name, meanwhile is "...any name used in the course of business that does not include the full legal name of all the owners of the business," the State of Washington Department of Licensing explains. It is important to register the trade name of your business albeit doing so "does not protect the name from use by others." The rights to a trade name belong to the "one who first uses it in connection with their business," Washington State explains. It is smart to register one's business trade name because if you fail to do so, "you cannot bring a lawsuit on behalf of your business" - and this means a lawsuit "for any purpose," not just in relation to the use of the business name.

What is brand equity? According to the NetMBA Business Knowledge Center, a brand can add significant value "when it is well recognized and has positive associations in the mind of the consumer." That is the brand equity concept; further defined, it is an "intangible asset that depends on associations made by the consumer." Three perspectives help paint the picture more fully.

One (Financial): a way in which to measure brand equity is by determining the "price premium that a brand commands over a generic product. To wit, if a consumer is happy to pay $100 more for a TV set with a brand name, than the same exact set without a brand, this is the "price premium" that offers good data on the brand equity of that branded product.

Two (Brand Extensions): once a brand becomes a success, it can be used "as a platform to launch related products." The benefits of brand extensions are the leveraging of "existing brand awareness" and hence the reduction of advertising spending. It all adds up to a lower risk from the perspective of the consumer. If Honda, for example, is making the "Element" (even though it was a new concept when it hit the market), and a consumer believes in the Honda brand, by extension the Element is not a risky buy at all. And moreover, the NetMBA site explains, brand extensions (part of brand equity) can actually "enhance the core brand," because in the case of the Element, it is just another reason to trust Honda.

Three (Consumer-based): a strong brand "...increases the consumer's attitude strength toward… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

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"Branding Brand Is a Living Entity."  December 8, 2006.  Accessed January 21, 2021.