One's experience with a product builds that attitude, and trial samples become more effective than advertising itself, especially in the early stages of building a strong brand.
Brand name recognition is important especially when a company is using varying brand strategies for multiple products. NetMBA.com points out that there are several strategies when multiple products are being branded.
First, single brand identity means attaching a separate brand to each product; Procter & Gamble do this very effectively with their various brands of clothes detergents (Tide, Cheer, Bold).
Second, the umbrella branding strategy brings all the similar products under the same brand. Sony, a classic example of umbrella branding, offering a veritable plethora of products as "Sony" products.
Third, the family of names strategy entails using a common name root, or stem, to market a company's products; Nestle is a perfect example of family of names strategy (Nescafe, Nesquik, and Nestea are all beverages under the Nestle brand).
And forth, according to NetMBA's web pages, is multi-brand categories; Campbell Soup Company has it's own soups, and it has Pepperidge Farms for its baked goods, and V8 for its juices. These brands have so much popularity and recognition on their own, it doesn't matter whether or not the consumer is aware that they all fall under the Campbell Soup corporate brand.
An article in BusinessWeek Online discusses the concept of multibranding from the point-of-view of Pizza Hut, KFC, and Taco Bell all being under one roof. The consumer rules, always, and for companies that haven't figured that out, it's going to be a slow year in 2007. But meanwhile, according to this article (Khermouch, et al., 2002), the Smalley family of Eagen, Minnesota has a two-year-old son named Josiah; like many families, the kids have "veto" power over where the family chooses to eat.
So, the parents of Josiah have become "painfully aware" that Josiah prefers pizza to chicken or Mexican food. And, when heading back to Atlanta's airport after a family visit, Josiah's mom Misty knows what to do when it comes to everyone in the car being hungry, and nobody wanting to go home and wait until she fixes something. They leave I-85 and go to the KFC-Pizza Hut Express store, which is owned by Tricon Global Restaurants (recently re-named YUM).
And "while Misty enjoys her drumsticks," writer Khermouch explains, "Josiah nibbles on pepperoni pizza. 'My son won't eat KFC, but I love it,'" Misty explains. "That's why we come here."
The Louisville-based YUM believed at the time of this article (2002) that multibrand stories were a key to pumping up their domestic sales - "well beyond the tepid 2% rate the company" had seen in recent years. There is another angle to their believe that by building more than 300 of those multibrand stores a year, they can cut into some of the McDonald's grip on the fast food industry. When at first YUM attempted to "broaden the menu of the individual brands" they own, it didn't work. "Every time we've tried to venture into a new category," said YUM CEO David C. Novak, "we've failed because we've lacked credibility." He added, cryptically, "Nobody is waiting with bated breath for a Taco Bell burger."
So, the credibility problem is eliminated because it offers "trusted brands," brands that people are very familiar with like KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut; the multibrand combination of KFC and Pizza Hut, for example, now generate more than $1 billion of YUM's $14.5 billion in sales in the United States. An example of how lucrative it can be to multibrand, while a standard $200,000 upgrade of a KFC may increase sales by maybe 5% to 10%, spending half that much, $100,000, to add Taco Bell to the menu "can spike sales by 25%," the BusinessWeek article explains.
This is not to say it is as easy as a walk through the park to juggle menus and cooking technologies to serve both pizza and Mexican food from the same kitchen. "From an operational angle, it can be a challenge, said Munir Taherbhai, the proprietor of a KFC-Pizza Hut Express store in the Atlanta area. Moreover, there can be some "snarly issues among KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut franchisees, all who covet multibrand rights for their area," Khermouch, et al., assert in their article. How are these rights distributed? They are given out on a "case-by-case basis," according to the article.
And further, the "proliferation of combo stores may blur brands that Tricon has worked hard to differentiate," the article continues. Simon Williams, chairman of the Sterling Group consultancy, which was involved in Burger King's latest re-branding, said the "...branding benefit is pretty bloody confusing." One interesting note is that the YUM multibranding strategy (KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell) is aimed at afternoon and evening traffic. Another company with multibrand strategies and successes, Allied Domecq Quick Service Restaurants, goes for the breakfast and lunch dollar (Dunkin' donuts, Togo's sandwich shops, ad Baskin-Robbins ice cream stores).
YUM, meantime, is not satisfied with its big three evening and afternoon fast food choices; they now feature Long John Silver's seafood franchises and A&W. According to their Web site (www.yum.com) the company has been selected in Fortune's "Top Companies for Minorities" for the 4th straight year (Oct. 25, 2006) and was also named "Most Trusted Food Brand in India" in August, 2006. The company boasts that its employees (all 900,000 of them) give back to the communities they work in, supporting hunger relief, day-care centers, "reading centers and mentoring at-risk teens."
Brand identity traps come in four flavors, according to a Berkeley (University of California) marketing department (http://groups.haas.berkeley.edu),which excerpted the book Building Strong Brands by David A. Aaker (1996); all four of those identity traps "represent approaches to creating an identity that are excessively limiting or tactical and that can lead to ineffective and often dysfunctional brand strategies."
One of the identity traps is called the brand image trap; once the brand identity is established, the brand image trap occurs when the "...patience, resources, or expertise to go beyond the brand image is lacking" in the company, and hence, "...the brand image becomes the brand identity," rather than just one "input to be considered." In other words, the trap is when the company starts believing that it's brand "identity" is powerful enough to carry the day.
Next, there is the brand position trap that companies can fall into. Brand image, Aaker's information relates, is of course "how the brand is perceived"; brand identity is how "strategists want the brand to be perceived"; and brand position is "the part of the brand identity and value proposition to be actively communicated to a target audience." The brand position trap, according to the Aaker information, occurs when "the search for a brand identity becomes a search for a brand position." And that search is stimulated by a practical need to "provide objectives to those developing the communication programs." What happens is the goal becomes "a tag line" rather than what it should be, "a brand identity."
Meantime, the external perspective trap happens when companies fail to realize that the role a brand identity can play in pushing an organization towards its stated values and purpose. Just having an identity doesn't fulfill the goals of the company; if employees can't answer the question, "What does your brand stand for?" then the brand identity has failed. Meanwhile, Aaker explains, employees of Saturn - executives, plant workers, retailers, vendors - all know how to answer that question. "Saturn stands for a world-class car and treating customers as respected friends," Aaker continues.
The person who is asked what their brand stands for and answers, "Achieving a 10% increase in sales," is missing the boat, but it is "an all-too-typical response. That is the external perspective trap.
As for the product-attribute fixation trap, the Aaker explains that this is "the most common trap of all." It is a situation where the "strategic and tactical management of the brand is focused solely on product attributes." This trap is based on the "erroneous assumption that those attributes are the only relevant bases for customer decisions and competitive dynamics." And this trap "usually leads to less than optimal strategies," and even causes "damaging blunders."
Aaker relates to the problem of consumers balking at higher prices in known brands, when they can buy something similar for less; "...although consumers have begun to question higher-priced brands, the reality is that the price point is still a positioning cue," Aaker writes. The danger in lowering prices is that customers all of a sudden begin to suspect that the well-known "brand really is not different from any other brand, and is therefore of average quality."
The key to adjusting the price of the product "while retaining a quality position," Aaker continues, is to convince retailers and their customers that the change "does not reflect a different quality level." Procter and Gamble, for example, has reduced prices…