However, the brand’s decision to sack Australian workers and move operations overseas has negatively affected its brand equity. In order to further enhance its brand equity, BONDS is also required to innovate further the way its competitor aussieBum is. Finally, it needs to further develop and strengthen its brand positioning rather than relying on its heritage. Customers must also be assured that the brand is “Australian” as the Country-of-Origin and “Made In” effect can have a huge impact on the brand equity of BONDS. Table of Contents 1.Introduction 3 2.Brand positioning and values 5 3.Brand characteristics 7 4.Customer Benefits 8 5.Brand Communities 9 6.Brand equity 10 8.Reflection 14 1. Introduction BONDS is an underwear brand based in Australia that has become a national icon and has existed for over 98 years. Initially targeted at men’s underwear, the company aims at providing “shorts, trunks and low rise” underwear (Dugg.com.au, 2003-2011). Therefore, the main product initially was underwear in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. Both conventional and contemporary styles are offered by the company to ensure high level of comfort to its customers. The company’s iconic product was The Chesty Bond. Over the years, the company has expanded its product range to including clothing including sportswear and maternity clothing. As of today, BONDS offers not just underwear but clothing for kids, women and babies. As far as the customers of BONDS are concerned, the company focuses on individuals who have a highly active life or work in occupations resulting in high levels of sweating (Dugg.com.au, 2003-2011). Keeping this in mind, the fabric used in the underwear has high absorption capacity that keeps the underwear area dry for long periods of time. (Dugg.com.au, 2003-2011) The elastic bands used on the underwear specifically cater to customers’ need for comfortable fitting and expandability. One of the major competitors of BONDS is aussieBum which produces is underwear in Australia. In 2009, aussieBum’s sales increased by an astounding 40% in the midst of the sacking of Australian workers by BONDS (Stephenson, 2009). The company’s decision to move its operations to China have strengthened the sales of its competitor-aussieBum (Stephenson, 2009). This is because aussieBum’s marketing strategy focuses on highlighting the fact that its products are “Made in Australia”. Therefore, aussieBum’s recent advertisements that bear the slogan “Australian made by choice” have capitalized on the loss of customer faith in BONDS after it decided to sack Australian workers (Stephenson, 2009). Another major competitor in Australia is Aldi which is a discount supermarket chain in Australia offering the convenience of online shopping. Aldi’s fairly high geographical distribution in Australia along with a diverse product range makes it a strong competitor for BONDS (Euromonitor International, 2012). Furthermore, local department stores such as Kmart, Target and Myer continue to serve as competitors for BONDS given their own-label brands, low prices and ability to cater to a wide variety of customer segments including women and children. Furthermore, these departmental stores benefit from the high customer traffic from customers who come to shop for everyday use items such as grocery. Therefore, chances are high that customers would prefer to buy underwear and other clothing from these department stores due to the convenience they offer.