Interestingly brands in the field of marketing originated in the 19th century with the advent of packaged goods. Industrialization moved the production of many household items, such as soap, from local communities to centralized factories. These factories, generating mass-produced goods, needed to sell their products to a wider market, to a customer base familiar only with local goods. So the packaged goods manufacturers needed to convince the market that the public could place just as much trust in the non-local product. Around 1900, James Walter Thompson published a house ad explaining trademark advertising. This was an early commercial explanation of what we now know as branding.
Since their origin, brands have come a long way in technique, sophistication and reach. Many traditional "rules" of branding have been tossed aside over the years with the advent of the internet, cutting edge branding techniques and complex ventures. Branding has also conquered new terrains such as law firms, countries or even local produce. In this paper, we will attempt to identify and expand on some of the latest trends in branding and their scope. We will also attempt to demonstrate how these changes in branding concepts are a reflection of our times and a natural progressive reaction to external factors that has driven its rapid and powerful evolution. But, before we delve into that, we first take a look at the various issues that influence responsible branding to really comprehend the magnitude of a strong brand influence and also its constraints.
There are certain branding issues that determine and limit the full manifestation of the values associated with branding such as decreased price sensitivity, increased customer loyalty, independence from a particular product category, increased market share etc. Some of these issues are:
The nature of the business:
According to D.Wendal Attig in Marketing Times Online(January 2002); " brand definitely impacts profitability, but it is a "flag" that is supported and held high by everything else the company does to deliver the product, program or service". For example,
Amazon.com has created an incredibly strong brand with customers. Amazon.com has concentrated all of their efforts on the customer experience and on creating extreme value in the "branded" relationship with those customers with impeccable customer service and experience. Yet it finds itself being unprofitable. This does not reflect on the power of its branding, but on the company's other huge operational costs, the branding efforts notwithstanding. The relationship with consumers is solid, the service and customized delivery is excellent, but the costs of operation adversely affect the profitability.
Long-term Vs Short-term
When it comes to profitability, branding is more an investment, rather than an expense. Branding is a carefully crafted process that might take a long time to successfully create and manifest. Hence the benefits are also long term as opposed to short term. Therefore the company's goal should be long term growth instead of short term results as branding is a long-term holding, a virtual corporate asset, while marketing communications are relatively short-term investments.
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