Symbiosis Centre For Corporate Education

Symbiosis Centre For Corporate Education
Symbiosis Institute Of Business Management
KTI, Batch XI, Oman
Brand Management

Chapter. No. Topic Page No.
Part A
1 Basic Understanding of Brand 1
2 Basic Understanding of Product 4
3 Brand Extensions 8
4 Brand Identity 11
5 Brand Positioning 13
6 Brand Re-Positioning 19
7 Family or Umbrella Brands 23
8 Differentiation: The Context Of Pop Vs. Pod 25
9 Sensory Identity 30
10 Unique Selling Proposition 34
Part B
11 Brand Identity – Article by David Aaker
12 Corporate Brand by Aaker
13 Kevin Keller’s Brand Equity

1. Basic Understanding of Brand
According to the American Association (AMA), a brand is a “name, term, sign,
symbol, or design, or a combination of them, intended to identify the goods and
services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of
A more contemporary understanding of a brand can be understood from the following
A product is something that is made on a factory; a brand is something that is bought
by a customer. A product can be copied by a competitor: a brand is unique. A product
can be quickly outdated; a successful brand is timeless.
– Stephen King WPP Group London in Aaker 1991
Evolution of Brand Concept
The concept of brands is in no way a new concept since it is known that already in
ancient Egypt brick makers marked their bricks with unique symbols to identify their
products and trademarks did probably evolve in medieval Europe when guilds used
markings to i.e. assure the consumer of the products quality. Brand names became a
concept first during the sixteenth century when whiskey distillers began shipping
barrels with the name of the producer burned, or “branded”, on top of each barrel so
that the customer could identify the distiller but also prevent substitution with cheaper
products, similar to the functions the brands carry even today. The idea to add or
replace the producers name with a symbol or other words emerged during the eighteen
century in order to differentiate the products from competitors and to make the product
easier to remember, even this much like today. (Farquhar 1989)
The evolution of the modern brand management concept can be credited to P & G
which ushered in branding in the early twentieth century with the launch of several
soap brands to cater to different types of customers which actually competed with each
Differences between a Product and a Brand
A brand is more than a product, because it can have dimensions that differentiate it in
some way from other products designed to satisfy the same need. These differences
may be rational and tangible – related to product performance of the brand – or more
symbolic, emotional, and intangible – related to what the brand represents.
At the simplest level, whenever a marketer creates a new name, logo, or symbol for a
new product, he or she has taken the first steps towards creating a brand.
According to Kapferer (1997), the brand can be identified not as the product but as
what gives the product meaning and defines its identity in both time and space. This
definition separates the brand from the trademark where the trademark focuses on the
product as an object or performed services and the promises they are expected to live
up to, whereas the brand emphasises on immaterial or tacit factors such as associations
and identity (Uggla 2002, Aaker 1995)
However, at a broader level, a “brand is a product or service whose dimensions
differentiate it in some way from other products or services designed to satisfy the
same need. These differences may be functional, rational, or tangible – related to
product performance of the brand. They may also be more symbolic, emotional, or
intangible – related to what the brand represents.
Branding is endowing products and services with the power of brand. It’s all about
creating differences between products. Marketers need to teach consumers “who” the
product is – by giving it a name and other brand elements to identify it – as well as
what the product does and why consumers should care. Branding creates mental
structures that help consumers organize their knowledge about products and services in
a way that clarifies their decision making and, in the process, provides value to the
David A Aaker, in his book Managing Brand Equity states:
“A brand is a distinguishing name and/or symbol (such as logo, trademark, or package
design) intended to identify the goods or services of either
one seller or a group of sellers, and to differentiate those goods or services from those
of competitors. A brand thus signals to the customer the source of the product, and
protects both the customer and the producer from competitors who would attempt to
provide products that appear to be identical.”
Whereas a product simply performs a task for the user, a brand gives a value over and
beyond the product’s functional purpose; in some sense it does make the product seem
better. The functional benefits of a brand are easy to identify. How does the product
perform? What does the product do to satisfy intrinsic needs? What are the nonfunctional benefits of the brand which are more difficult to recognise in industrial
It is clear from the above discourse that:

A product interacts with consumers at a physical level
A brand however interacts with consumers at two different levels – physical and
psychological. It fulfils both the physical as well as psychological needs of the

Benefits of Branding to Consumer

Identification of source of product
Assignment of responsibility to product maker
Risk reducer

Search cost reducer
Promise, bond, or pact with maker of product
Symbolic device
Signal of quality

Benefits of Branding to Manufacturers

Means of identification to simplify handling or tracing
Means of legally protecting unique features
Signal of quality level to satisfied customers
Means of endowing products with unique associations


Source of competitive advantage
Source of financial returns

Brands can particularly reduce the risks in product decisions. Consumers may perceive
many different types of risks in buying and consuming a product:

Financial risk: The product does not performup to expectations.
Physical risk: The product poses a threat to the physical well- being or health of
the user or others.
Financial risk: The product is not worth the price paid.
Social risk: The product results in embarrassment from others
Psychological risk: The product affects the mental well-being of the user.
Time risk: The failure of the product results in an opportunity cost of finding
another satisfactory product.

Salient Aspects of Branding
1. Differentiation
For branding strategies to be successful and brand value to be created, consumers must
be convinced there are meaningful differences among brands in the product or service
category. Brand differences are often related to attributes or benefits of the product
itself. Gillette, Merck, 3M, and others have been leaders in their product categories for
decades, due, in part, to continual innovation.
2. Associations
Branding endows products and services with the power of differentiation through a
number of associations such as product benefits, values, beliefs, personality traits etc.
Marketers need to teach consumers “who” the product is – by giving it a name and
other brand elements to identify it – as well as what the product does and why
consumers should care.
3. Mental Structures
Branding creates mental structures that help consumers organize their knowledge about
products and services in a way that clarifies their decision making and, in the process,
provides value to the firm as well as the consumer.
2. Basic Understanding of Product
A product is anything we can offer to a market for attention, acquisition, use, or
consumption that might satisfy a need or want.
A product may be a physical good like a soap, cereal, tennis racquet, or automobile; a
service such as an airline, bank, or insurance company; a retail outlet like a department
store, specially store, or supermarket; a person such as a political figure, entertainer, or
professional athlete; an organization like a nonprofit, trade organization, or arts group;
a place including a city, state, or country; or even an idea like a political or social
Product Levels: The Customer- Value Hierarchy
In planning its market offering, the marketer needs to address five product levels. Each
level adds more customer value, and the five constitute a customer value hierarchy.

The fundamental level is the core benefit: the service or benefit the customer is
really buying. A hotel guest is buying “rest and sleep”. The purchaser of a drill
is buying “hotels.” Marketers must see themselves as benefit providers.
At the second level, the marketer must turn the core benefit into a basic

product. Thus, a hotel room includes a bed, bathroom, towels, desk, dresser
and closet.

At the third level, the marketer prepares an expected product, a set of attributes
and conditions buyers normally expect when they purchase this product. Hotel
guests expect a clean bed, fresh towels, working lamps, and a relative degree of
At the fourth level, the marketer prepares an augmented product that exceeds
customer expectations. In developed countries, brand positioning and

competition take place at this level. In developing and emerging markets such
as India and Brazil, however, competition takes place mostly at the expected
product level.

At the fifth level stand the potential product, which encompasses all the
possible augmentations and transformations the product or offering might

undergo in the future. Here is where companies search for new ways to satisfy
customers and distinguish their offering.
A brand is therefore more than to product, because it can have dimensions that
differentiate it in some way from other products designed to satisfy the same need.
These differences may be rational and tangible – related to product performance of the
brand – or more symbolic, emotional, and intangible – related to what the brand
Product Classifications
Marketers have traditionally classified products on the basis of durability, tangibility,
and use (consumer or industrial). Each product type has an appropriate marketing-mix
Durability and Tangibility : Marketers classify products into three groups according
to durability and tangibility:
1. Nondurable goods are tangible goods normally consumed in one or a few uses,
such as soft drinks ad soap. Because these goods are purchased frequently, the
appropriate strategy is to make them available in many locations, charge only a
small markup, and advertise heavily to induce trial and build preference.
2. Durable goods are tangible goods that normally survive many uses: refrigerators,
machine tools, and clothing. Durable products normally require more personal
selling and service, command a higher margin, and require more seller
3. Services are intangible, inseparable, variable, and perishable products. As a
result, they normally require more quality control, supplier credibility, and
adaptability. Examples include haircuts, legal advice, and appliance repairs.
Consumer – Goods Classification
We classify the vast array of goods consumers buy on the basis of shopping habits. We
distinguish among convenience, shopping, specialty, and unsought goods.
The consumer usually purchases convenience goods frequently, immediately, and with
a minimum of effort. Examples include soft drinks, soaps, and newspapers.
Convenience goods can be further divided. Staples are goods consumers purchase on a
regular basis. A buyer might routinely purchase Colgate toothpaste, Mysore
Sandalwood toilet soap, and Britannia Marie biscuits. Impulse goods are purchased
without any planning or search effort. Chocolates, candy bars, and potato chips are
impulse goods. Emergency goods are purchased when a need is urgent – umbrellas and
rain coats with the advent of monsoons, pullovers, sweaters, and shawls with the advent
of winter. Manufactures of impulse and emergency goods will place them in those
outlets where consumers are likely to experience an urge or compelling need to make a
Shopping goods are that the consumer characteristically compares on such bases as
suitability, quality, price, and style.
Examples include furniture, clothing, used cars, and major appliances. We further
divide this category. Homogeneous shopping goods are similar in quality but different
enough in price to justify shopping comparisons. Heterogeneous shopping goods differ
in product features and services that may be more important than price. The seller of
heterogeneous shopping goods carries a wide assortment to satisfy individual tastes and
must have well-trained salespeople to inform and advise customers.
Specialty goods have unique characteristics or brand identification for which a
sufficient number of buyers are willing to make a special purchasing effort. Examples
includes cars, stereo components, photographic equipment, and men’s suits. A
Mercedes is a specially good because interested buyers will travel far to buy one.
Specially goods don’t require comparisons; buyers invest time only to reach dealers
carrying the wanted products. Dealers don’t need convenient locations, although they
must let prospective buyers know their locations.
Unsought goods are those the consumer does not know about or does not normally
think of buying, such as smoke detectors. The classic examples of known but unsought
goods are life insurance, encyclopedias, and reference books. Unsought goods require
advertising and personal-selling support.
Industrial Goods
Industrial goods are those bought by individuals and organizations for further
processing or for use in conducting a business. Thus, the distinction between a
consumer good and an industrial good is based on the purpose for which the product is
Industrial goods can be classified according to how they enter the production process
and according to what they cost. The three groups of industrial goods are: materials and
parts, capital items, and supplies and services.
3. Brand Extensions
In the 1960’s and 70’s, focus was strong on product- and brand invention as a strategy
for success, but in the wake of the oil crises in the late 1970s and with an increasing
emphasis on cost reduction together with environmental and ethical issues emerging,
companies started to turn towards the idea that its resources could be reutilized and
recapitalized. The brand was realised as a strategic asset that could be the foundation
for successful business strategy. Therefore, extending or stretching the brand to include
more product items and product categories became a standard industry practice since
the 1980s as a means of getting higher return from the brands.
Brand extensions is now seen as a less expensive as well as less risky way to satisfy the
consumer’s demands and needs within several segments by providing several products
under the same brand rather than creating a new name for every new product. A “very
good” brand extension not only creates additional cash-flow but also enhances the
brand name. However, it must be stated that extending the brand is not always without
losing its original value.
Examples of Brand Extension
After becoming very successful as an instant noodle in the 1990s, Maggie has extended
into soups and ketchups etc. albeit with limited success. Saffola, after establishing itself
as health cooking oil, the brand has extended into aata, salt, oats, breakfast mixes etc.
Yamaha is active in businesses ranging from musical instruments and audio & video
products to information technology products, golf cars, media services, motorcycles,
home furnishings, auto components, specialty metals, marine engines, music education,
snowmobiles, and resort facilities. Yet, this company manage to produce a single,
unified image of quality and performance.
Siemens is a company that throughout its history has expanded their range of products
greatly. One can for instance buy mobile phones, hearing aid devices and diesel
locomotives with the Siemens brand name.
Objectives Behind Brand Extensions

Leveraging the brand to increase marketing ROI
Revitalize the brand

Block competitive moves
Increase brand’s touch points with customers
Reduced cost of new product launch
Reduce customer’s risk from a new product
Cater to customer’s variety seeking behavior
Increase the probability of trial
Increase efficiency of promotional expenditure

Types of Brand Extensions

When an existing brand name is applied to a product in one of the product
categories where the brand is present ( Line Extension)
When an existing brand name is applied to a product category that is new to the
firm. ( Category Extension)

Line extension
When a current brand name is used to enter a new market segment in its product class,
it is called Line Extension. Line extension “applies an existing brand name to a product
in one of the firm’s existing categories”
Category Extension
A category extensions is when an existing brand name is applied to a product category
that is new to the firm.
Category extension “Applies an existing brand name to a product category that is new to
the firm
A popular example on a typical line extension is Diet Coke, being Coca Cola in a
somewhat new form. Sony when launching their first cell phones conducted a category
extension, entering a new market.
Different Brand Extension Approaches

Introduce products in different forms
Introduce products to leverage the existing franchise
Introduce products to leverage the core benefit
Introduce products to leverage the Expertise of the brand
Introduce Products to leverage the Imagery and Prestige of the brand

Pre-Requisites for Brand Extensions to Succeed
1. The various forms in which a brand can exist today make building and managing
brands difficult. In addition to knowing its identity, each brand needs to understand its
role in each context in which it is involved. Further, the relationships between the
categories must be clarified both strategically and with respect to customer
perceptions. (Aaker 1995) Since different organizations and individuals with varying
perspectives and goals often handle different brand-support activities, coordination is
all the more difficult. When advertising, public relations, event sponsorship,
promotions, trade shows, event stores, direct marketing, package design, corporate
identity etc. for a single brand are often handled by separate organizations, each with
direct influence on the brand, some form of conflicts and lack of coordination must be
anticipated. (Aaker 1995)
2. To give an extended product a recognised brand name, its credibility, and its quality
associations is not always enough.There will always be a risk that even if the extension
is initially successful, it will be vulnerable to competition. It is necessary to bear in
mind that just because a brand is extendable into a new category does not
automatically guarantee success.
3. As stated, the brand name often is a key asset in a firm. However, extensions are often
evaluated on its own merits, without regard to the core brand. There is however a
possible damage to the core brand that must be considered as having an extension
failing is not usually as bad as having it succeed or survive and damaging the core
brand at the same time. This damage to the core brand can be caused by undesirable
attribute associations, decreased perceived quality, or altered brand associations. As an
extension usually creates new brand associations, some of these may be potentially
damaging to the core brand and hence undesirable (Pitta & Katsanis 1995). A transfer
of potentially negative associations from the extension to the core brand is less likely
to occur when the core brand associations are very strong and when there is a distinct
difference between the original brand and the extended product. The by the extension
created associations can also disturb a sharp image of a core brand. The danger is
believed to rticularly great when the brand’s key association is a product category, i.e.
Walkman, Xerox, and Jeep. (Aaker 1991) Factors like annibalisation of existing lines
and mixed messages from different product categories can damage the brand by
creating brand dilution (Ambler & Styles 1997), dilution is defined as a negative
change in the consumer believes (Roedder John et al. 1998). A mixed message can
even cause negative connotations in the mind of the consumer, weakening the core of
the brand (Roedder John et al. 1998).
4. It has been argued that the importance of a well-managed brand extension is of essence
since the brand names are the most important assets for most consumer-goods
companies (Quelch & Harding 1996). Brand extensions can be seen as a less expensive
as well as less risky way to satisfy the consumer’s demands and needs within several
segments by providing several products under the same brand rather than creating a
new name for every new product (Quelch & Kenny 1994). Even though the extension
of brands has become a popular strategy, it can still be somewhat of a troublesome
affaire to extend the brand without loosing its original value. Furthermore, far from all
brand extensions are successful, findings from 1997 show that 28 % of the line
extensions failed and the figure for category extensions were at dire 84 % (Völckner &
Sattler in Uggla 2002).
Pitfalls of Brand Extensions

Can confuse customers
Can encounter retail resistance
Can cannibalize parent brand sales
Can hurt parent brand image
Can diminish identification with one product category
Can dilute brand meaning

Supplies Business
4. Brand Identity
Brand identity as an expression has its roots in the research done by Kapferer in the
mid-1980s. It has slowly gained a global recognition through the insights of its
paramount importance. The need for this new concept and practice emerged in the late
twentieth century because the business environment changed.
The brand identity defines how a brand wants to be perceived by its customers. To be
able to project an image to the public, a brand must know exactly what they want to
project, well beyond the scope of their product.
Brand identity is the total proposal/promise that an organization makes to consumers.
The brand can be perceived as a product, a personality, a set of values, and a position it
occupies in consumer’s minds. Brand identity is all that an organization wants the
brand to be considered as. It is a feature linked with a specific company, product,
service or individual. It is a way of externally expressing a brand to the world.
Brand identity is the aggregation of what all an organization does. It is an
organization’s mission, personality, promise to the consumers and competitive
advantages. It includes the thinking, feelings and expectations of the target market and
consumers. It is a means of identifying and distinguishing an organization from
another. An organization having unique brand identity have improved brand awareness,
motivated team of employees who feel proud working in a well branded organization,
active buyers, and corporate style.
Brand identity leads to brand loyalty, brand preference, high credibility, good prices
and good financial returns. It helps the organization to express to the customers and the
target market the kind of organization it is. It assures the customers again that you are
who you say you are. It establishes an immediate connection between the organization
and consumers. Brand identity should be sustainable. It is crucial so that the consumers
instantly correlate with your product/service.
How to Formulate Brand Identity
It is essential for managers to ask themselves the following questions:
 What are our core values?

What do we stand for?
How do we want to be perceived?
What personality traits do we want to project?

By answering these questions the brand identity will provide a direction, purpose
and meaning for the brand. Brand identity expresses both tangible and intangible
characteristics of a brand. That is, everything that makes the brand to what it is. It
also reflects the roots and heritage of the brand, giving it its unique authority and
legitimacy within the territory of precise values and benefits.
Brands are alive and must have some degree of freedom to be able to match the
diversity on the modern market. A clear brand identity will facilitate the work to
understand what parts that is free to change and what needs to stay. Brand identity
should, like any identity, represent the characteristics that will persist over time
and reflect the soul and vision of the brand.
The identity structure
Brand essence is an expression that is commonly used by companies and
advertising agencies. Kapferer’s analysis concludes that it derives from the desire
to summarise the identity and positioning.
Kapferer and Aaker have divided the brand identity structure into two categories;
the core identity and the extended identity. The core identity is the brand essence
that will remain over time while brand positioning and communication strategies
may change.
The core identity is also central for the success and meaning of a company and should
have a unique and valuable character.
Extended Brand Identity
Core identity does not contain all the details for every function of the brand
Identity and therefore needs to be complemented by the extended identity. The
Extended identity contains the elements that fulfil the whole picture of the brand
Positioning. This can include a brand’s marketing program and other external brand
positioning strategies.
Therefore, the core identity can be described as timeless while the external identity is
more dynamic and complements the core identity when the market conditions change.
In order to obtain maximum brand strength, the scope of brand identity shall be
broad rather than narrow. The trust should be built up for the long-term rather than
short-term and there shall be both internal and external focus in the brand creation
Components of Core Identity

Core Values
Vision & Mission
Belief System

Core Values
Core values can be described as terms that guide the path of a brand within an
organization. The values mirror a way of how to act within a company in terms of e.g.
product development, communication and serve as a common path for the organisation.
However, even though the core values have an external meaning
they shall not be directly used in the external communication as slogans or similar,
because that might harm their real significance. Instead, they shall serve as an internal
base that indirectly can affect the external communication. It is important that the
whole organisation understands the meaning of the core values. If they do so, it is
possible for the core values to transform into a way of acting that influence the
behaviour of the whole organisation. Thereby, the values can serve as a connection
between the soul of the organisation and the identity of the customers.
The core values define a brand’s strengths, show how it wants to treat people and how
it needs to behave to deliver its mission statement and achieve its vision. It consists of a
brand’s guiding principles. For example, the principles of honesty from a key element
of the core values of Tata brand.
Core Values are a set of characteristics that identify the physical, character and personality traits
of the brand, similar to the attributes that allow us to consistently identify individuals
Brand values are the key behaviours or virtues of the brand that need to be expressed day in and
day out. The values are interdependent and work together to drive the DNA/essence of the brand.
They represent a clear articulation of the belief system of the brand. They are a call to action for
everyone responsible for the brand.
It is important that the whole organisation understands the meaning of the core values. If they do
so, it is possible for the core values to transform into a way of acting that influence the behaviour
of the whole organisation. Thereby, the values can serve as a connection between the soul of the
organisation and the identity of the customers.

True core values are values that are strongly rooted in the organisation and its culture.
Besides this, they are also perceived as credible by the customers in the long run. (Urde,

2009) The internal as well as the external demands on the core values are constantly
changing. Therefore shall core values be viewed as dynamic entities and the only way for a
company to achieve them is through action. (Urde, 2001) This implies that the core values
have to be proven over and over again. (Urde, 2009)
 Aspirational core values are like the true core values already internally rooted in the
organisation and its culture. The values have however not yet been established in the minds
of the customers.
 Potential core values are established as credible among the customers but are not internally
rooted in the organisation. For management it is about communicating these values internally
as well as externally.
 Hollow core values are not internally rooted in the organisation and not perceived in the right
way among customers. These values have no meaning and have probably been used because
they “sound good”, but all they actually do is harming the communicational efforts. There is
a risk of losing
Vision & Mission
A brand’s vision represents the original spark for creating a brand, the raison d’etre or reason for
being. The vision is the “why” of your business. Your mission represents the expression of what
your company will do. (how the why of the vision will be expressed). The mission could be less
lofty than the vision, relating more to what you promise to accomplish for your clients. Knowing
why you exist as a brand—beyond making money—inspires your plans and drives your actions,
as well as others.
Belief System
Core Values prominently encompass the belief system, which guides the approach to doing
business. For instance, let’s say you are a fitness professional, and you value customer
relationships, integrity, confidentiality, and helping people to achieve their goals. These values
would be seen throughout your business and might be reflected in how you not only market, but
how you handle your customer interactions.
Apple brand’s core values of innovation, simplicity and ease of use are seen throughout all of
their product development and marketing.
5. Brand Positioning
In the 1960s, overheated competition was forcing the companies to think of newer ways of
creating differentiation between their brands and those of the competing firms. The earlier
practice of creating differentiation on the basis of product features, advantages and benefits was
proving to delivery diminishing results. The conventional Points of Differentiation ( PODs) were
increasing not working to win and retain customers.
It is in this backdrop that an unknown adman named Jack Trout first coined the term positioning
while writing an article for Industrial Marketing magazine. By Trout’s own admission: the earth
didn’t tremble and the event went unnoticed.
Trout subsequently teamed up with another little-known advertising executive, Al Ries, to write
a book on the still obscure concept. And a decade after it was first postulated, Trout’s basic
premise that brand battles are won and lost not in the market but in the mind of the
consumer was eagerly lapped up by marketers, turning the book into an unexpected blockbuster.
Ries and Trout proceeded to churn out a series of hits, including Bottom-Up Marketing, Horse
Sense, Marketing Warfare and The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing. An impressive body of
work ensured the duos’ elevation to the pantheon of great marketing thinkers, right up there with
Reeves and Theodore Myopia Levitt.
Critics harped that the pair tended to oversimplify issues, but nobody ever accused them of being
dull or conventional which partially explains their success in acquiring the kind of devout fanfollowing that one normally associates with rock bands.
Positioning was the first concept in marketing which effectively dealt with the problem of
communicating differentiation in an over-communicated society. With this approach, a company
got a tool for the first time to create a ‘position’ in the prospect’s mind, one that reflected the
company’s own strengths and weaknesses as well as those of its competitors. Positioning gave a
tool to marketers to get into the consumer’s mind and stay there.
Brand Positioning as a Concept
Positioning reflects the “place” a product occupies in a market or segment. A successful position
has characteristics that are both differentiating and important to Consumers. Positioning is
inextricably linked with market segmentation.
You can’t define a good position until you have divided the market into unique segments and
selected your target segments.
The Brand Positioning Components Involve Identifying Perceptions That a Brand Should Own
In The Minds Of Its Target Market.
Positioning is the pursuit of differential advantage. Brands can create franchises of loyal
consumers only when they are seen to be different in some way which is persuasive for the target
Well Known Examples of Brand Positioning
7 -Up which was struggling in the market had to overhaul its strategy altogether using colas as a
frame of reference. 7-Ups’ advertising announced that it is a un- cola soft drink. This strategy
helped 7-Up to get a position in the consumer’s mind. Years later it could become the third
largest soft drink after Coke and Pepsi. One does not get this un-cola idea inside a 7-Up can. One
finds it inside the cola drinker’s head. It can be said that positioning is less about the product
features and more about creating and maintaining a unique position in the consumer’s mind.
Like 7-Up example cited above, several well-known brands have established very strong brand
positions over the years:

Wal-Mart positions its brand around low prices and value;
McDonald’s brand positioning centers around wholesome family eating;
The Ritz-Carlton brand revolves around its promise of luxurious short stays;
Volvo’s positioning gravitates around safety.

Each of these brands generates a strong emotional bond, the foundation of which is built on
delivering on two or three key aspects of the overall promise time and time again. Wal-Mart’s
price rollback program and local price tailoring by its store managers ensure that Wal-Mart
constantly offers the lowest price in the market. McDonald’s consistent operating platform
designed around cleanliness and throughput, time waiting in line, and promotional partnerships
ensures a satisfying, family-oriented visit time after time. The Ritz-Carlton’s combination of
distinctive properties, operational platform, and frontline service approach delivers a consistent
message to the customer that he stayed in luxury
Positioning Strategies
Positioning is defined as a battle for the consumer’s mind. That battle, given today’s brand
clutter, seems to have developed into a full-scale war. In this cluttered market, where there are
more than 150 brands of soap, 90 brands of toothpaste and 200 brands of edible oil, how does
one position one’s brand in a manner that is meaningful to the consumer, who is at the receiving
end of all that visual and verbal communication?
Marketers long ago learnt that positioning a brand merely on product attributes would not help
much except in the early stages of the category itself or if the brand was the first mover within
the category. For, if your soap lathered well, any number of the hundred-odd other brands could
lay claim to the same. So along came ‘image positioning’ which led to soaps that bonded the
family together, those that kept you eternally young, soaps that were the beauty secrets of film
stars and those that made you irresistible to the opposite sex.
One of the techniques used in positioning has been to bring out the concept of ‘distance’ and
dissimilarity between brands in the ‘perceptual space’ of the prospect and to uncover the many
opportunities for such perceived differentiation based upon the capabilities of the product and its
antecedents Positioning puts in the hands of the brand manager an entire array of differentiating
strategies. He must judge which of these strategies can help him locate a niche in the market
where his brand may be perceived by his target segment as unique and where it will hold a
competitive advantage.
These strategies revolve around different aspects of the brand
1. The position of a brand is the perception it brings about in the mind of a target
2. This perception reflects the essence of the brand in terms of its functional and nonfunctional benefits in the judgement of that consumer.
3. It is relative to the perception, held by that consumer, of Competing brands, all of
which can be represented as points or positions in his or her perceptual space and
together, make up a product class.
Three key research issues must be addressed in order to arrive at Positioning:
1. What is your current position?

What does the “space” look like and what are the most Important dimensions in the
What are the other products in that space and where are they?
What are the gaps, unfilled positions or “holes” in the category?
Which dimensions are most important?
How do these attitudes differ by market segment?

2. What position do you want to have?
Some of the positioning opportunities for a product include:

Finding an unmet consumer need or at least one that’s not being adequately met now
by competition
Identifying a product strength that is both unique & important
Determining how to correct a product weakness and thereby enhance a product’s
appeal. (e.g., legitimate “new & improved”)
Changing consumer usage patterns to include different or additional uses for the
Identifying market segments, which represent the best targets for a product

3. How do you create a new positioning?
Creating a new positioning can come from two sources

Physical product differences
Communications finding a memorable and meaningful way to describe the product
(e.g., calling 7-Up the “Uncola”). As Ries and Trout point out, “Positioning is not
what you do

to a product; positioning is what you do to the mind of the Prospect.”
Key Steps in Brand Positioning
1. Determine the Product Class :- It is the analysis of the structure of the market and
selection of the product class where a brand will compete. Brands not only compete
within a product class, they compete with brands of other product classes as well.
Consumers want solutions to their problems and they are prepared to extend their
shopping list from one product class to another. Nestle while introducing Maggi noodles
had to decide whether to place the new product as a meal or as a snack. That time
Nestle’s largest market for noodles was in Malaysia where it was positioned as a primary
diet. They were tempted to situate Maggi as a meals item in the consumers mind. Later
positioning logic prevailed upon them. They decided that the brand has to be perceived as
a quick nutritious wholesome snacks item. Now the success of Maggi is for everyone to
see. India has now become the second largest market of noodles only after Malaysia for
this large multi- national company.
Therefore the first step is answer the following questions about your product class:
 What benefits consumers expect from this product class?

What is the hierarchy of benefit in order of their importance to the consumers?
To what extent they are getting these benefits from the existing offerings?
Whether they would like a particular benefit in greater or lesser quantities?

Answer to these kinds of questions help the marketing strategist to decide on the functional
and non-functional promises the brand should hold before the target segment.
A technique usually followed to answer the above questions, a technique called Laddering is
Laddering Technique to Explore Position of a Brand
There are many ways in which one can position a consumer brand such as soap or shampoo.
But, obviously, in order to make it work, the positioning platform adopted has to be one that
the consumer can relate to. And here is where a technique like benefit laddering can come to
the rescue.
What is benefit laddering? The technique is based on Gutman’s means-ends theory which
focuses on the linkages between the attributes that exist in products (the ‘means’), the
consequences for the consumer provided by the attribute and the personal values (the ‘ends’)
that the consequences reinforce. To put it simply, it means that consumers seek certain
attributes in products and these attributes lead to certain ‘consequences’ (benefits) for them.
And when the consequences matter to them, over time they learn to choose products which
possess those attributes that lead to the relevant consequences.
Thus an atta that makes rotis that stay soft could lead to the following: Understanding these
linkages between product attributes, their consequences and their ultimate consumer ‘values’
are important if one has to arrive at a positioning that the consumer can relate to. How are
these linkages arrived at through benefit laddering? The interviewing technique consists of a
series of probes that aim at understanding why a particular attribute is important to the
consumer. Thus, if one were to talk of hair oil, the question on attributes that consumers seek
in hair oils could result in a variety of answers — fragrance, non-stickiness, presence of
herbal ingredients, colour, packaging, price and so on.
After having enumerated the attributes the next stage involves taking each attribute one by
one and understanding why it is important to the consumer. Thus if one were to consider
‘non-stickiness’ and the consumer was asked why non-stickiness was important to her in a
hair oil, the response could be ‘so that my hair does not look and feel oily’. Then again she
would be asked why that was important to her. The response could be ‘so that I can keep the
oil in my hair for 3 to 4 days’. Again, why is that important? ‘So that my hair grows well.’
And why is that important? ‘So that I look good’ and so on. The process continues till the
responses begin to get repetitive or till the consumer is not able to think further.
The best example of a brand where the consumer has been moved up the benefit ladder is
perhaps Close Up. Today, the brand has moved several rungs up the ladder with selfconfidence leading to situations unimaginable, some aspirational, some not!.
Obviously the technique calls for a very different calibre of interviewer who can ask probing
questions without sounding obtrusive or judgmental. The greater the skills of the interviewer
in eliciting responses, the richer the output of the research. And although the technique is
used widely in qualitative focus group discussions, the strength of the laddering technique is
that it actually superimposes this qualitative research technique of skilled probing into larger
sample sizes.
Thus, one can actually determine the number of times one particular attribute led to a
particular consequence and the number of times that in turn led to another. So at the end,
one arrives at a network of such linkages or an HVM (Hierarchical Value Map) that
identifies the more dominant linkages that exist.
2. Fine tune Consumer Segmentation: – After deciding the product class the next logical
step is to identify the target market. Should they concentrate on the up-market or the
down-market? Should they concentrate on the adolescents or on the thirty-plus category?
Sheetal, the one store, hot spot of Bombay, focuses n the up-market young buyers.
3. Find out the Consumer Perception of the Competitors Brands :- Here perceptual
mapping exercise are done to know the perception of the consumer on the competing
brands. It helps the manager to find out where his brand could be located in the
consumer’s mind in relation to other brands. The closer two brands are in the map, the
more similar they are perceive to be by the consumers.
4. Explore Your Brand’s Alternative Positions: The Benefits Offered by the Brand :-
what are the different positions your brand can occupy in such a way that the product
features will be able to support the same and which will have acceptance of your target
6. Brand Re-Positioning
When the social environment reshapes consumer behaviour, it becomes imperative for brands
to carry the core message with a contextual difference; as happened with Cadbury’s when
brands like Amul and Campco were launched. This exercise requires change in brand
positioning is referred to as brand repositioning.
Consumers are evolving constantly. Today’s young adults will disappear and soon the little
ones will take over as the primary audience. As the preferences and the likes of this audience
may vary, it would again be time to innovate, devise a different set of solutions apt for that
audience. Whatever be the changing attitudes and preferences, there will be one constant
factor. Positioning and repositioning, which would help the brands stay put.
As organisations re-engineer themselves to be more productive, they also need to reposition
their products if they want to stay ahead in the marketing war game.
Consequent to the changing parameters, both tangible and intangible, if the products do not
respond and reorient themselves to the new environment, they run the risk of becoming
The point here is that however much financial wizardry an organisation might deploy,
however much R&D they get into, however much technology they enjoy, unless brand
building takes the front seat with clear-cut strategies that predispose the product behaviour,
the chances of creating a winner is quite remote.
The name of the marketing game is therefore repositioning your brand and thereby, the
competition. When the stakes are high and when you are not able to take the competition
head-on, the only way to survive and build on an equity is through repositioning.
In the branding process, market positioning is not a fixed, inflexible or static process. It is a
dynamic activity that constantly changes. It must be reviewed regularly, relative to changing
competitive set and new changing customer attitudes and beliefs.
Remember, when you move from your existing branding position to a new position, be sure
you do so from a position of strength – in other words, don’t throw the baby out with the bath
In the 1980s, Onida, the consumer durables brand, relied on envy as a selling pitch. By the
nineties, it was about the technological superiority of its products.
Now, Onida has changed tack again: “envy” is back, though without the trademark devil of
20 years ago.
Like Onida, there are several brands re-assessing their identities as competition transforms
markets with chameleon-like regularity. It would be no exaggeration to say that repositioning
has become the Indian brand managers’ most potent marketing weapon.
In 1998, there were 148 toilet brands in the Indian market. Now, this number has increased
to 235-odd brands. It’s no surprise that the bigger soap brands like Lifebuoy and Cinthol have
repositioned themselves in recent times.
More competition is one part of the story; the other is the manner in which brands can remain
relevant with changing market conditions.
If marketers believe that frequent repositioning is crucial for a brand to stay alive, they don’t
always know what works. Consider the biggest challenge a brand under repositioning faces
— retaining its core values.
Onida is a brand that managed to stick to these ground rules. Even as the other big Indian
brands in the television segment — Videocon and BPL — are struggling for market share,
Onida has clawed its way back to number three after being lower down the order in the midto late- nineties.
When Onida was launched in the mid-1980s, colour televisions were a luxury, giving
customers a sense of pride. Onida’s positioning reflected these sentiments and hence the
baseline “Neighbour’s envy, owner’s pride”.
To profile this, Onida came up with the mascot of a devil (played on TV by model coordinator David Whitbread) whose arrow-tipped tail became the signature on Onida ads.
For a while, this worked and the strong brand recall kept Onida among the top three TV
brands. As penetration of colour televisions increased substantially, pride of ownership was
no longer an engaging proposition.
As the communication was no longer relevant, it was reflected in the market share, which
plunged to 15 per cent in 1996-97 from 20 per cent in 1991-92.
Clearly, Onida needed something new without jettisoning its plank of wicked humour.
Thus, in the late nineties, Onida commercials emphasised product attributes like sound clarity
(crucial because Indian consumers play their TVs loud). The ad of a man enjoying a songand-dance routine on television while his wife decamps with the chauffeur was one such.
The ads, though widely recalled, failed to provide Onida with leverage. There were two
First, product parity was an emerging issue in the consumer durables industry. Merely talking
about technology wouldn’t work unless the brand acquired a premium image.
Second, the previous commercials were for individual products like the KY Thunder or Black
series. So, Onida needed to project a single benefit to bind the individual propositions.
Also, the new proposition needed to be extended to other durables like DVDs and airconditioners. This was crucial from a competitive viewpoint too; Samsung and LG had
managed to achieve these objectives with their “Digitall” anD “health” propositions
In mid-2003, Onida dug into research for an answer. Interaction with 15 – 20 focus groups
indicated that while “envy” was still associated with Onida, its definition had changed from
the 1980s, when it was an in-your-face attribute.
In the current context, the consumer did not like to be projected as seeking envy. But if envy
was a by-product of the brand it did not matter. Hence, Onida’s modified positioning —
“Onida may cause envy”.
To mitigate this perception the company showcased its new-age products like DVDs and flat
screen televisions in its commercials. According to the research, if brands caused envy in the
1980s, it was products that did so in the 1990s.
So, Onida made its products the centrepiece of every ad. For example, in an ad for Onida
DVD players, a dog starved for attention, scratches the CD to prevent its owner from viewing
it.If Onida’s devil enjoyed star status initially, the music channel MTV got it wrong in its first
shot at the Indian market. When MTV was launched as a stand-alone channel in the mid-
1990s (prior to this, it was aired on a two-hour slot on Doordarshan), a limited number of
viewers favoured an all-international music channel.
This contradicted the dynamics of the media business where numbers are crucial to attract
ratings and hence, advertising revenues. MTV realised it was out of tune with India.
As a result, in 1997 everything from music to promos to the veejays was overhauled — 70
per cent of the music played was converted to Hindi and the channel promos sported the
made-in-India label.
For instance, series like the “lift man” or “Gaseous Clay” overshadowed internationally
acclaimed promos like Beavis and Butthead.
MTV also used the baseline “Enjoy” as opposed to other previous aggressive appeals like “I
want my MTV”, “Do you get it?” and so on.
The result — a TAM media research report across the six top metros (Mumbai, Delhi,
Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad) rates MTV as the number one music channel
for 229 weeks out of the 249 weeks (January 1999-October 2003) in the age group of 15 to
34 years.
MTV’s makeover worked because it was simply rectifying bad mistakes it made at the
beginning. But what do you do when there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with your
positioning but the market stagnates?
This is an issue that Cadbury struggled with Cadbury Dairy Milk (CDM), its flagship brand.
CDM was always positioned as an expression of parental love.
By the early 1990s, the chocolate market started stagnating. For Cadbury, this was a serious
issue because chocolates account for 74 per cent of the company’s turnover (and CDM would
constitute roughly half of that).
In 1995, CDM expanded its target audience from children to adults. From encouraging adults
to buy a CDM pack for their children (“Cadbury says it better than words”), the brand was
repositioned as the “Real taste of life”, which addressed adults in a different way: it talked
about setting free the child in you.
While many brands have managed to get their repositioning right the first time, some brands
are still trying to strike the winning combo. One example is the toilet soap brand, Cinthol.
The biggest repositioning of the brand took place in 2001, when it started to face perception
This was mainly because of endorsements by macho male celebrities like Vinod Khanna and
Imran Khan in the 1980s.
But back in the 1980s this made sense as the man was the decision maker for buying products
like soaps. When this responsibility shifted to the woman in the 1990s, GCPL was caught on
the wrong foot.
As a result, Cinthol’s market share slipped from 4.4 per cent in 1997-98 to 2.3 per cent in
volume in 2001-02.
To be sure, Godrej’s efforts at softening the image had begun in the mid-1990s, when
Ambience D’Arcy (now Ambience Publicis), creative agency for the brand till 2001, shifted
the brand communication to “body confidence”, extending it to female users.
To squarely target female users, GPCL also launched the Scent Fresh range of soaps with
floral extracts in 1997. However, after a lacklustre response, the range was withdrawn.
In 2001, Cinthol was repositioned as a unisex brand to bring urban women into the fold,
followed by launching a variant — Cinthol Skin Fresh, with orange extracts.
To reinforce the brand’s new proposition, a female mnemonic was added to the packaging.
This created a new — and opposite — problem for Cinthol in that it alienated male
customers. Then, the brand was extended to deodorants, again targeted at women.
7. Family or Umbrella Brands
When a group of products are given the same brand name, it becomes a case of family
brand/umbrella brand. In this case, different products of the company are marketed under one
brand name.
The examples given below are details of some family brands.

Amul brand covers a whole range of products such as butter, milk, chocolate, ice creams
Britannia brand covers a wide range of biscuits, bread and bakery products and dairy
Maharaja is the family brand name for the products such as Mixer- grinders, electric
irons, electric kettles, water heaters and other.
Videocon is a family brand name for a variety of products of Videocon Corporation. Its
TVs, VCRs, refrigerators, washing machines and air conditioners go under the Videocon
brand name.
Godrej is another family brand. Several product lines of the company and several

products in each of the lines go under the brand name Godrej. The products include
locks, steel cupboards, office furniture electronic typewriters, desktop printers,
refrigerators, air conditioners etc. The company also uses separate brand names for some
other lines. In soaps, it has individual brands like Cinthol and Ganga. In detergents, it has
individual brands like key and Biz.
 Johnson is another family brand. The company Johnson & Johnson sells many of its baby
care products under the Johnson brand name — Johnson Baby Powder, Johnson Baby
soap, Johnson Baby Shampoo etc.
Family branding/umbrella do not mean that entire product mix of the company should go
under single brand name. A company may resort to different branding approaches for
different product lines.
Pre-Requisites for Umbrella Branding

All the products covered under the brand name should have the same core value
All the products covered under the brand name should fall within the same usage
category. For example, the umbrella brand of Britannia stretches to cover various food

Benefits of Family branding
It is convenient to adopt a family brand for related products. Promotion of such products
becomes easier and less expensive under a family brand. But the company in such cases has
to ensure that all the products offered under the family brand maintain the same standards of
quality. If one product in the group becomes a low quality product, it will affect the entire
range of products under it. In other words, in family branding, there is a composite
responsibility among the products coming under the brand.
A major benefit in giving family brand name is that advertising and promotion effort can be
combined for all the products falling under the family brand; the advertising budget can be
stretched over several products. For example, Johnson and Johnson, with a wide product
range in the baby care segment and medicare segment runs an ad campaign every year to
promote its products.
The same campaign takes care of all diverse products of the company. It is the Johnson brand
name that is advertised and all the products get covered. The campaign lasting for new
months every year ensures high recall value for all Johnson & Johnson products. Another
advantage is that under family branding, new product launch becomes easier and cheaper.
New products would enjoy a ready recognition and market set-up retailers too would find it
easier to push new products under a popular on-going brand name.
8. Differentiation: The Context Of Pop Vs. Pod
Most successful marketing strategies are built on differentiation: offering customers
something they value that competitors don’t have.
However, while offering something new/different to the marketplace, the firm has to
ensure that it fulfils the core need. The following diagram demonstrates this in visual
terms. As you can see, the large circle in the middle of the diagram represents the core
needs of the market (points-of-parity) and the smaller circles represent new features or
benefits (points-of-difference).
Therefore, the brand needs to have many points-of-parity (that is, it must be seen to offer
a relatively similar solution), but it needs to have something unique or different about it
(points-of- difference).
Points-of-difference (PODs)
Points of Differentiation (PODs) are attributes or benefits consumers strongly
associate with a brand, positively evaluate, and believe that they could not find these
attributes and benefits to the same extent with a competitive brand.
Strong, favorable, and unique brand associations that make up points of differences may
be based on virtually any type of attribute or benefits. Examples are FedEx (guaranteed
overnight delivery), Nike (performance), and Lexus (quality)
However, Point of Differences must be accompanied by Points of Parity ( POPs) in
every market offering for it to be acceptable to consumers. Without a fair blend of
POPs, the PODs may not work.
Points-of-parity (POPs)
Associations that are not necessarily unique to the brand but may be shared by other brands
i.e. where you can at least match the competitors claimed bets. While POPs may usually not
be the reason to choose a brand, their absence can certainly be a reason to drop a brand.
While it is important to establish a POD, it is equally important to nullify the competition by
matching them on the POP. As a late entrant into the market, many brands look at making the
competitor’s POD into a POP for the category and thereby create a leadership position by
introducing a new POD.
POP are associations that are not necessarily unique to the brand but may in fact be shared
with other brands. Points of Parity are brand associations that are essential for any market
offering to be legitimate and credible within a certain product or service category. In other
words, they represent necessary but not necessarily sufficient conditions for brand choice.
Consumers might not consider a travel agency truly a travel agency unless it is able to make
air and hotel reservations provide advice about leisure packages, and offer various ticket
payment and delivery options.
Category points-of-parity may change over time due to technological advances, legal
developments, or consumer trends, but they are the pre-requisites for any brand.
According to Keller (2003) points-of-parity are associations that are not unique to
the brand. Instead, they are shared with other brands and hence, this relates to associations
that are “ necessary – but not necessarily sufficient – conditions for brand choice.
To cite an example, for a resort targeted at families with dependent children a swimming
pool and playgrounds will probably act as points-of-parity as these facilities are necessary,
albeit not sufficient, in the quest to pull guests to the resort. Points-of- difference, on the
other hand, have much in common with the notion of unique selling propositions (USP).
Keller defines points-of-differences as “attributes or benefits that consumers strongly
associate with a brand, positively evaluate, and believe that they could not find to the same
extent with a competitive brand” and furthermore, he argues that “consumers’ actual brand
choice often depend on the perceived uniqueness of brand associations”. In a destination
branding context this means that choice of destination relates more to the destination’s unique
points-of-difference than to the points-of- parity shared with others destination brands. For
instance, in a resort vacation context, points-of-parity versus points-of-difference thinking
means that lovely beaches are necessary, but not sufficient to attract tourists. Hence, a
destination must offer something “beyond” nice beaches in order to stand out from the
standard destinations, i.e. it must possess destination specific points- of-difference.
The Principle of POD – POP Trade Off
As shown in the following diagram, there is a distinct trade-off between the ability of the
firm to communicate points-of-parity and points-of-difference. This is because consumers are
likely to only remember a few elements about the product. .Ideally, an organization would
like to communicate everything about all of their products, but that is just not practical given
the interests of the consumer and the vast array of marketing messages being sent out.
Therefore, firms need to strike an appropriate balance and to position the product within the
product category as having sufficient points-of- parity, while highlighting one or two pointsof-difference.
What to emphasize – POD or POP?
While firms do need to balance their emphasis between points-of- parity (POP) and points-ofdifferentiation (POD) there are occasions when a firm should more heavily emphasize one of
these elements. The following table outlines the circumstances when a greater emphasis is

Situation What to emphasize
When the firm is a ‘me- too’
In this case, being a weaker competitor, the goal is to
piggyback on the success of the
market leader by highlighting many points- of-parity
When the firm as a
market leader
This is the reverse situation from the one above. To
maintain market leadership, the brand/product needs
to be seen in as superior/different in key ways, thus
highlighting the need to focus on relevant
When the firm enters an
established and mature
In this case, the likelihood of switching is
relatively lower, so points-of-difference are required to
break their habitual loyalty
When the firm and is a fast
growing market
Fast-growing markets have primary demand (that is,
first-time customers to the market), therefore points
of-parity positioning will should be quite successful in
capturing new customers
When there is a diversity of
needs, even when looking at
fairly narrow market
When there is significant diversity of consumer
needs, a points-of-difference positioning should
ensure that reasonable market share is generated
In a target market where the
firm already offers multiple
To reduce the risk of cannibalization of sales, the firm
would need to have more emphasis on points-of
In a relatively price
sensitive market
Our goal in this case would be to provide additional
benefits, in order to reduce the importance of price
in the decision.
Therefore, a points-of-difference positioning emphasis
would be required

How to Create PODs
Creating strong, favorable, and unique associations as points-of- difference is a great
challenge. However, there are several brands which have met this challenge successfully for
decades. The examples of IKEA is a case in point: Swedish retailer IKEA took a luxury
product home furnishings and furniture and made it a reasonably priced alternative for the
mass market. IKEA supports its low prices by having customers self-serve, deliver, and
assemble the products themselves. IKEA also gains a point-of-difference through its product
IKEA built its reputation on the notion that Sweden produces good, safe, well-built things for
the masses. It has some of the most innovative designs at the lowest cost out there. It also
operates an excellent restaurant in each store (rare among furniture stores), offers child-care
services while the parents shop; offers a membership program entitling members to special
discounts on their purchases beyond the normal low price and mails out millions of catalogues
featuring the latest furniture.
Conventionally, most companies concentrate only on their products or services in search of
Points of Differences (PODs). In fact, a Company can differentiate itself every point where it
comes in contact with its customers–from the moment customers realize they need a product
or service to the time when they dispose of it. If companies open up their thinking to their
customer’s entire experience with a product or service–the consumption chain–they can
uncover opportunities to position their offerings in ways that neither they nor their
competitors though possible.
The selection of a brand’s points of difference begins with its competitive strengths and
insight about consumers’ motivations for using the category and/or brand. The goal is to find a
feature or benefit that distinguishes the brand from competitors in the same category and that
is valued by consumers. When the point of difference is a benefit (rather than a product
feature), the claim is strengthened by providing reasons to believe the benefit claim.
Consider the problem of differentiating an everyday consumer product, such as a toothbrush.
For many people, brushing is a ritual to which they pay relatively little attention. As a
consequence, many brushes are used well past the point when their bristles are worn and are
no longer effective. Toothbrush maker Oral-B discovered a way to capitalize on this
widespread habit. The company, by introducing a patented blue dye in the center bristles of its
tooth brushes, found a way to have the brush itself communicate to the customer. As the
brush is used, the dye gradually fades. When the dye is gone, the brush is no longer effective
and should be replaced. Customers are thus made aware of a need that previously had gone
unrecognized. So far, the idea sounds like something out of Marketing 101. What gives it
particular value is that the need can be filled only by Oral-B’s patented process. The company
turned differentiation into a competitive advantage.
Fast-food chain Subway offers healthier meals than other quick-serve restaurants because its
sandwiches have fewer grams of fat. Here, the healthier benefit is supported by an attribute
“reason to believe”: fewer grams of fat. Although attributes can offer a compelling way to
support a benefit point of difference, in many cases they are readily imitable. For this reason,
brand positions often rely on image to provide a rationale for a benefit point of difference—
the type of person who uses the brand and the type of uses it has. Nike, for example, has used
professional athletes to support the brand’s claim of superior performance in athletic shoes
rather than relying on attributes such as unique technology in product design. Image is also
used when a category’s attributes are not relevant to consumers. The endorsement of
celebrities such as Mariah Carey, Kim Kardashian, or Paris Hilton provides consumers with a
reason to believe that a particular brand of fragrance will enhance their personal appeal.
Leading brands typically adopt the benefit that motivates category use as their point of
difference, whereas “follower” brands choose a niche. Tide, the leading detergent, is simply
superior at cleaning clothes.
Follower brands make narrower claims: Cheer cleans clothes in cold water and Wisk is strong
against stains.
In choosing a point of difference, brand managers usually prefer benefits that reflect an
existing consumers’ belief. For example, Honey Nut Cheerios developed a strong brand
franchise by capitalizing on consumers’ beliefs that honey is more nutritious than sugar (it is
not) and that Cheerios is among the most nutritious brands of cereal. If, however, a brand is
distinguished on a benefit or belief that consumers have not yet accepted, efforts can be made
to change consumers’ opinions. Prompting such change is generally more costly than adopting
accepted consumer beliefs about benefits, but it is possible. Along these lines, Listerine
mouthwash was successful in overcoming consumers’ negative perceptions of its taste by
convincing consumers that the unpleasant taste indicated that it was working to kill bacteria
and combat bad breath.
For most brands, a single benefit serves as the point of difference. This enables the marketer
to convince the consumer more simply and easily of the benefit’s importance when making a
brand choice.
However, there are several circumstances in which a position is based on multiple benefits.
When competitors are each focusing on a particular benefit, a brand might compete by
claiming to do it all. In the soap category, Ivory is positioned as offering superior cleaning,
Dove as providing better moisturizing, and Zest as ensuring greater deodorizing. When Lever
2000 was launched, it was positioned as the bar soap that does it all. This placed Lever 2000
in its own category as the one that offered all the benefits, with the other brands being lumped
together as incomplete. As a result, Lever 2000 enjoyed rapid growth in the bar soap market.
Multiple features are also used to position a brand on the basis of its value. A value position
may be represented by the following equation:
Value = Functional Benefits + Psychic Benefits Monetary
Costs + Time Costs
This equation is conceptual, with the benefits of a brand presented in the numerator and the
costs in the denominator. Value is enhanced by increasing the benefits and reducing the
Assessment of POD Attributes & Benefits
The assessment of consumer desirability criteria for PODs should be against:

Whilst when assessing the deliverability criteria for PODs look at their:

9. Sensory Identity
Consumers first try and differentiate a brand based on its logo, colours, packaging etc.
Therefore a company needs to ensure that these visual or sensory elements are designed
distinctly from their main competition. These elements should be able to help a consumer
identify a brand and get a basic idea about how it may be different from its main competing
These visual or sensory elements which help the consumer identify and differentiate a brand
or known as Sensory Identity. The examples are arches of McDonald, the chubby girl of
Amul, Blue-yellow uniforms of Jet Airways, the cartoon characters of Vodafone.
Manufacturers have long known about the impact of engaging all the senses. From
Brylcreem’s “A little dab’ll do ya” radio jingle in the 1940s, sound has played a key role in
branding. In 1995, Intel expanded its “Intel Inside” campaign with a four-tone melody that
helped cement a positive image in consumers’ minds. Designers at Oxo—maker of handheld
kitchenware—won’t release a new measuring cup to manufacturing unless it feels right to a
wide range of users. Crayola is very protective of the smell of its crayons, and with
justification, as smell is the sense that evokes the strongest emotions. (The brain’s olfactory
bulb, which detects odors, fast-tracks signals to the limbic system, which links emotion to
However, such efforts are no longer enough. Valuable though these sensory identification
elements are to a company’s branding initiatives, they still tend to be used largely in isolation.
The team that manages a product’s texture or aroma is not likely to interact with the
marketing group responsible for the product’s visual identity—the logo, packaging or print
ads, for example. Now, though, a discipline called sensory branding can harness a range of
stimuli such as scent, sound and texture in a systematic fashion to help organizations forge
stronger emotional connections with their customers. Singapore Airlines, for instance, has
become a master of the discipline, tailoring the effect of the scent on its hot towels to the
impressions created by the quality of the in-flight video and by the flight attendants’ sarongstyle uniforms. The Westin hotel chain’s “Sensory Welcome” program ensures that the music
playing in its public spaces matches the mood created by the fragrance used in its lobbies.
And PSA Peugeot Citroën runs a Human Factors and Perception Department that seeks to
better specify the sensory properties of its vehicles so the automaker can more precisely meet
its customers’ expectations.
Increasingly, branding is being associated with elements beyond graphical stimulus that
characterize a specific brand; that is, its logo, colors, images, icons, characters and even a
peculiar smell or sound associated with it. Sensory Identity includes uniforms of employees,
counter designs at the point of sales and service, the tring-tring sound of Britannia ads. More
and more companies are employing stimuli such as scent, sound and texture to build stronger
emotional connections with the customer and drive preference for their brands.
Traditional marketing, as well as other related disciplines have somewhat reduced branding to
a purely visual expression. Without other components of a brand, sensory identity alone
cannot help a brand become a leader. Traditionally, firms have only explored the visual
identity of the brand focussing on its logo, colour, packaging, signages etc. More and more
companies are now exploiting the advantages of branding to a higher level, thus obtaining
significant economic benefits, a solid market position and competitive advantages over its
competition. This is being done by exploring other sensory aspects of brands such as
conveying uniqueness through sound, smell, touch and feel etc
Colour, typefaces, imagery, words, humour, wit, art, sound, animation, symbols are some of
the domains of a brand’s sensory identity. The expertise of a brand expert lies in making each
of these elements distinctive, own able and memorable.
Until today, the most important variable used by brands to generate recognition and develop
an identity in the market is the sense of sight. We can appreciate logos, corporate colors,
characters and other graphical tools with which one can identify a specific product. It’s rare a
person who does not recognize the Apple logo, the golden arches of McDonald’s, the white
wave on the red background of Coca-Cola, etc. These elements, so far, are the epicenter of
all business strategy in most corporations. However, this is changing. A study described in the
book “Buyology – Truth and lies about why we buy” (Lindstrom 2009) showed how brands
like Marlboro, suffering the brunt of the ban on advertising on many places of the world,
decided to invest in the atmosphere of bars and nightclubs with motifs of their brand identity:
images of horses and beautiful landscapes on the displays of such centers, mountain-shaped
seats, images of racing cars (Marlboro is known for its sponsorship of this important branch),
among others.
Perhaps the second most used variable by marketing and advertising is the sense of hearing.
Corporations realize that visual objects are not sufficient to influence the consumer purchase
decisions and decide to provide new features to their products and brands. Certainly we all
recognize the famous Nokia tune, the specific Intel notes at the end of each commercial, the
Airtel ringtone of an incoming call, not to mention a few jingles. Messenger alert sounds,
even the sound coming out of the doors of many car brands such as GM or Chrysler is
designed to be unique and generate acknowledgement in our mind. Finally, many of the
sounds derived from the use of certain particular product begin to be taken advantage of
overused to contribute to a consumption experience and therefore an enhanced recall and
consumer association.
A few examples are: Textured book covers, labels and some printed shirts, forms that are
better adapted to our hands in bottles of mayonnaise, sauces, beverages; plush, furry fabrics
pleasant to the touch, not to mention the mobile devices and sensitive touch screen tablets so
common today. No doubt brands recognize our singular sensitivity and natural tendency to
feel our environment as a means of interaction and involvement with it.
There are medicines with a pleasant taste for children, and bubble gum flavored toothpaste.
However, the involvement of the sense of taste in business strategies has come out of their
habitat to start their “baby steps” in unexpected areas: pencils and other office supplies (for
those who like to bite incessantly), as well as toys and clothing with flavor for toddlers.
The human nose can distinguish over 10,000 different odors, besides being the most sensitive
of the senses; it has a tremendous evocative power of memories and experiences over the
years. Carrefour has even patented a smell for its retail outlets.
Recent Examples of Applications of Sensory Identity
Owners of the new Peugeot 207SE hatchback will soon experience the results of new sensory
branding initiatives by PSA Peugeot Citroën. The car’s ventilation system includes
dashboard-mounted cartridges that feature different scents. The “fragrance diffuser” system is
just part of the work of the French automobile maker’s Human Factors and Perception
department. The department draws on experiments based in fields such as cognitive
psychology to determine, for example, what a top-of-the-range fabric feels like or what a
“good” door-closing sound sounds like. Other car companies are pushing deeper into sensory
branding areas: Ford is working on tactile elements to try to create a “Ford feel” for all its
vehicles, taking its cue from companies such as BMW which already ensure that the
placement of control levers and the materials used for their surfaces combine to create a
differentiated tactile sensation.
Financial Services
Citizens Bank has paid close attention to the experience it wants its customers to have. Its
branches have been redesigned to feel friendlier, more casual and more approachable, using
colors, shapes, textures, and text elements to do so. But the visual aspects are only part of the
bank’s sensory branding effort. Citizens have developed a soundtrack to expand its sensory
branding efforts: a six-hour playlist that is upbeat in tone, mixing instrumental and vocal
music to ensure cross-generational appeal. In the ATM lobbies, the volume is set a little
louder to ensure that customers enter a space filled with music. On a different note, JCB,
Japan’s largest credit card issuer, uses a long-lasting scent on its Linda brand of cards aimed
at women customers. The cards aim to engender strong customer loyalty and open up a wide
range of partnership opportunities for JCB.
The Westin hotel chain is well down the sensory branding path with its Sensory Welcome
program now being rolled out across all of its hotels worldwide. The program is used to create
a relaxed mood in the hotels’ public spaces, blending carefully modulated sound—a
customized soundtrack—with infused scent and the appropriate visual notes in its interior
design. Indeed, the company’s White Tea fragrance has hit such an emotional chord with
guests that it is now being sold separately as a line of products by the hospitality provider.
Westin has already struck the right note in terms of tactile branding: Its Heavenly Bed and
Heavenly Bath products are sold through the company’s in-room catalogue, its branded
website, and through Nordstrom department stores.
Samsung, the consumer electronics giant, has begun using scent that resembles honeydew
melon in its retail spaces. In its flagship store in New York City, the intensity of the scent,
pumped out from hidden devices in the ceiling, varies from one part of the space to another
depending on the connection that Samsung is trying to make at that point. One magazine
quotes a visitor explaining: “I love the smell of technology. It smells stimulating.” And mens’
clothing retailer Thomas Pink is well aware of the power of scent: The company ensures that
each of its stores is redolent of fresh starched linen.
Singapore Airlines is perhaps the best example of sensory branding in action. Fly first class on
the airline and you’ll have a first-hand opportunity to experience its use of scent, visuals,
sound, touch, and taste working in concert. The airline’s print ads and posters will have
prepared you for the visual elements—in particular the batik sarongs of the flight attendants.
Entering the cabin, it will be hard to miss one of the carrier’s signature aromas: the flight
attendants’ perfume. En route, you’ll catch the scent of the hotel towels handed out after a
meal of Singapore chicken rice whose flavor is also designed to mark out the distinctiveness
of the airline.
10. Unique Selling Proposition
A unique selling proposition (USP) is a description of the qualities that are unique to a
particular product or service and that differentiate it in a way which will make customers
purchase it rather than its competing brands. This has been the most effective tool in the hands
of brands to create the perception of difference about a brand.
A few examples of USP are:

“ Two minute” Maggie Noodle ( USP around fast to cook product attribute)
“ Instant Print” HP Digital camera

Unique selling proposition (USP) is a concept developed by advertising executive Rosser
Reeves in his 1961 book entitled Reality in Advertising. Reeves argued that a unique selling
proposition consists of three elements:
1. Each advertising message should make a proposition to potential customers that they
will get a specific benefit if they purchase this specific product.
2. The proposition must by unique because it either is not offered, or cannot be offered,
by your competition.
3. The proposition must be persuasive enough to cause a significant amount of consumers
to purchase the product.
After the concept of USP was introduced by Rosser Reeves to help marketers establish
superiority of their product through unique features and benefits, it has been one of the most
talked about terms in marketing. Traditionally, marketing experts used to insist that every
product and service had to have a USP, at least one unique feature that could be distilled into a
60-second sales spiel, the equivalent of a single written paragraph.
According to the writings of Mr. Reeves, the USP was supposed to give an ad campaign a
little extra jolt. Something that would impel the consumers across the line of indecision to
preference and, ultimately to loyalty. Back then “Unique” referred to an inimitable feature of
the brand and (back then) that usually referred to a rational aspect or feature of the product or
Methods of Creating USP
 By offering the lowest price. John Lewis, a British department store, used to claim that
it was “never knowingly undersold”. Its USP established it as the cheapest vendor
(under certain prescribed conditions) of the items that it sold. But this is a rocky route
to success, particularly at a time when there are firms prepared to sell (temporarily) at
well below cost just to establish turnover. This was the case with many early internet
retailing experiments. Moreover, buyers who base their purchasing decisions on price
alone are often disloyal.

Customers continue to go to John Lewis for many reasons other than its price promise.
By offering the highest quality. This is the Rolls-Royce approach to selling.
By being exclusive. In the information age, this is an increasingly common type of
USP. More and more firms offer a unique packaging of information or knowledge.
By offering the best customer service. Domino’s Pizza became the bestselling brand in
the United States on the basis of its USP: “Fresh, hot pizza delivered in 30 minutes or
less, guaranteed.” It did not promise high quality or low price, just fast delivery. A
side benefit of a USP like this is that it compels the firm’s employees to try that bit

harder to achieve the promise. A firm that fails to fulfil the promise in its USP is
condemned to a short future if it cannot quickly come up with a new one.

By offering the widest choice. This is particularly appropriate to niche markets. A
specialist cheese shop, say, can claim to offer a wider selection of cheeses than anyone
By giving the best guarantee. This is particularly important in industries such as travel

and catalogue selling, where customers pay for something upfront and then have to
hope that what they think they have bought is eventually delivered. For examples,
Federal Express (FedEx) dominated the package shipping market with the following
USP: “Federal Express: When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.” The
deployment of this USP allowed Federal Express to emerge as the dominant leader in
the industry, taking market share rapidly, and also increasing its sales and profits.
Limitations of USP
When Rosser Reeves first proposed the USP many decades ago now, the world was a very
different place. Products still had the potential to actually be different, advertising was largely
confined to mainstream channels and brands were, for the most part, identifiers. But with the
evolution of best-practice manufacturing, the fragmentation of channels and the increasing
development of brands, the USP is now almost redundant.
Over the last three decades, the limitations of USP have become evident. Uniqueness is
rare, and coming up with a continuous stream of products with unique features is, in
practice, extremely difficult. The unique selling proposition is therefore now being
practiced as a tactical, short term tool of creating competitive advantage. The USP is just
what it says
– a proposition that no one else is promoting at the time. It’s a short-range competitive
tactic. It may not take competitors a long time to discover that a particular USP is helping a
marketer boost market share, and another little while to counteract that USP with an
offering that’s even more attractive.
Creating and communicating a
brand identity
The case of Somersby
By Tobias Laue Friis
Supervisor: Anne Gammelgaard Jensen
Department of Language and Business Communication
Aarhus School of Business
Aarhus University
The thesis starts with an introduction. The introduction briefly explains the role of brands in
modern society, by focusing on how they are recognised and given meaning by the consumers.
Furthermore, the introduction presents the key concept of the thesis, brand identity, and provides
the thesis with its problem statement, which is as follows:
The objective of this thesis is to establish how Carlsberg can create and communicate a brand
identity for Somersby Cider on the British market.
Having introduced the key concepts, the thesis continues with theory.
In the theory chapter the thesis establishes the brand identity planning model by David Aaker as
the framework for the thesis. An analysis and discussion of the model will later be conducted
based on the works of several other branding experts, including Philip Kotler, Kevin Lane Keller
and Jean‐Noël Kapferer etc., and relevant communication theory.
In structure and method an outline of the organisation of the thesis is created. By relying on the
brand identity planning model as a framework the thesis will be divided into three stages, which
will be explained, analysed, discussed and implemented on the Somersby case to different extend
throughout the thesis.
The delimitation focuses on each stage of the thesis and emphasises the features, which will not
be performed within each stage. Moreover, it underlines certain stand points and points of view,
which are important for the overall understanding of the thesis.
The first stage of the theory is named brand identity theory and starts with a definition of brand
identity. It then follows the framework of the brand identity planning model set forth in the
structure and method chapter.
The first stage starts with an introduction to the brand identity system and continues with an
explanation of the subjects based on David Aaker’s theories. All the subjects within the system are
continuously analysed and discussed via the implementation of relevant concepts from the
scholars presented in the theory chapter.
After the explanation, analysis and discussion of the concepts in the brand identity system, the
first stage of the thesis initiates the same procedure on the brand implementation system. The
thesis continues to follow the same framework as in the previous chapter, but slowly moves the
focus and the theoretical use towards the communicational aspects of the problem statement.
Similar to the brand identity system, this chapter implements a methodical approach of explaining,
analysing, and discussing the concepts, in order to bring clarity to the subjects and show how
theory and ideas are conceptualised.
The second stage of thesis is built on the IMC process model by Pickton and Broderick. The
chapter differs from the others in the thesis, as it emphasises the communicational nature of the
brand identity concept. The chapter demonstrates how the brand identity creation process can be
converted into a communication process by using the IMC process model. To perform this process,
the chapter relies on various aspects from the works of Pickton and Broderick, while
simultaneously following the framework created by the brand identity planning model.
The third stage of the thesis contains the implementation of theory to the Somersby brand. Based
on the framework used and theoretical analysis performed throughout the thesis, the chapter
systematically follows the brand identity planning model’s three stages and simultaneously
creates and communicates the Somersby brand identity through the results of the previous two
chapters. The chapter starts with a short brand analysis based on various market and consumer
reports. This analysis identifies the target audience of Somersby and provides insight to the British
consumer needs and trends.
In the following parts of the implementation of theory chapter the salient elements of the brand
identity are chosen and eventually communicated via a various brand position statements.
The thesis’ final stage is the conclusion based on the findings and evaluation of the thesis.
Word count: 54.040
1. INTRODUCTION………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 4
1.1 THEORY……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 5
1.2 STRUCTURE AND METHOD …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 7
1.3 DELIMITATION…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 7
2.2 BRAND PERSPECTIVES AND CATEGORIES………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 9
2.2.1 BRAND AS PRODUCT ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 9
2.2.2 BRAND AS ORGANISATION…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 10
2.2.3 BRAND AS PERSON……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 10
2.2.4 BRAND AS SYMBOL……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 11
2.3 BRAND ESSENCE………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..12
2.4 CORE IDENTITY…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………13
2.5 EXTENDED IDENTITY …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………13
2.6 VALUE PROPOSITION …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………14
2.6.1 FUNCTIONAL BENEFITS ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 15
2.6.2 EMOTIONAL BENEFITS………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 16
2.6.3 SELF EXPRESSIVE BENEFITS………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 17
2.7 CREDIBILITY…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….18
2.8 CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….18
2.9 THE BRAND IMPLEMENTATION SYSTEM………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..19
2.9.1 BRAND POSITION …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 20
2.9.2 SUBSET OF THE BRAND IDENTITY………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 20
2.9.3 TARGET AUDIENCE……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 21
2.9.4 ACTIVE COMMUNICATION …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 21
2.9.5 COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 22
4.1 THE BRAND ANALYSIS – IS THERE FOOD FOR THE BRAND IDENTITY?…………………………………………………………………………………………………23
4.2 THE IDENTITY OF SOMERSBY………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………25
4.2.1 ELEMENTS OF THE CORE IDENTITY ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 27
4.2.2 ELEMENTS OF THE EXTENDED IDENTITY……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 28
4.2.3 BRAND ESSENCE STATEMENT……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 29
4.3 SOMERSBY VALUE PROPOSITION …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………30
4.3.1 FUNCTIONAL BENEFITS – THE FIRST STEP …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 30
4.3.2 EMOTIONAL BENEFITS – THE SECOND STEP ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 31
4.3.3 SELF EXPRESSIVE BENEFITS………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 31
4.4 THE RELATIONSHIP……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………32
4.5 THE SOMERSBY BRAND POSITION – THE BRAND IDENTITY MESSAGE…………………………………………………………………………………………………32
5. CONCLUSION ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….34
6. BIBLIOGRAPHY ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..35
1. Introduction
In modern society brands have become an essential part of most people’s life.
When consumers think of a product, they think of a logo, a design or maybe a shape. These
visual features are then connected to a brand, which in some cases is connected to an
organisation or a company. Whether the brand is connected to a parent organisation or not
consumers will have specific associations and feelings about it. The feelings and associations
can be hard to explain and consumers often rely on human attributes to explain how they
view the brand. Because of this, modern brands are described, not by their tangible and
intangible elements, but by their human personality. Consumers, in other words, look upon
brand as having a human identity.
Brands are on the bottom line not human, but they do have an identity. The brand identity is
what makes a brand unique. When consumers in modern society think of products, most of
them actually think of brands. Imagine you are thirsty and want a refreshing drink. Most
consumers in this situation will think of the product class, refreshing drinks, and mentally
assess which brand identity will most efficiently fulfil their needs and motivation the best.
The process of assessing this is the process of comparing brand identities. Consumers will
always choose the brand identity that most efficiently can fulfil their needs.
This fact is the cornerstone in brand identity theory. Modern brands try to create a brand
identity that will attract the highest amount of consumers to the brand. They spend millions of
dollars in the process, but how can brands be sure that the created brand identity will
recognised and accepted by the consumers, which it is targeting?
This is the main question of this thesis. To answer it the thesis will use the implementation of
the Danish brand Somersby on the British market as an example. Somersby is a cider product
containing 4, 7 % alcohol owned by Carlsberg Group. The brand was introduced on the Danish
market in the spring of 2008.
Problem statement: The objective of this thesis is to establish how Carlsberg can create and
communicate a brand identity for Somersby Cider on the British market.
1.1 Theory
The thesis will rely on the brand identity planning model (Aaker, 2002:79) by David Aaker to
provide the theoretical framework. The model has been chosen, because it is the only
cohesive model providing tools and theories on all aspects regarding the creation and
communication of a brand identity. David Aaker is
acknowledged as one of the leading scholars
within the field of branding. He is the author of
multiple articles, over ten books related to
branding and his works are cited in practically
every recent book written on the subject of
Furthermore, David Aaker is the Vice Chairman of
the Prophet Brand Strategy and Professor
Emeritus of the Haas Scholl of Business, University
of California Berkeley. (Aaker, 2000: 351)
The brand identity planning model (BIPM)1, which
will provide the framework for this thesis, is
divided into three stages that will be
systematically explained and analysed in the
To perform this task the works of several other
scholars will be used. The thesis will rely on noted
experts within the field of branding such as Philip Cutler, Kevin Lane Keller and Jean‐Noël
Kapferer to provide the primary material needed to perform this activity. The three scholars
have been chosen, because they are recognised as expects in the field of branding and due this
have multiple theories, models and ideas, which can be used to analyse and discuss the work
of Aaker. The three scholars, mentioned above, will be supported by experts from consumer
behaviour, such as Abraham Maslow, and other branding scholars including Leslie de
Chernatony and Malcolm McDonald. To provide expert knowledge from the field of marketing
communications, the thesis will further rely on the works of David Pickton & Amanda
Broderick and the IMC Process model (Pickton & Broderick, 2005:7) to analyse the
communicational aspects of the creation of a brand identity.
1 From this point referred to as ”BIPM”
1.2 Structure and method
The thesis will use the BIPM (Aaker, 2002:79) by David Aaker as a framework. The main body
of the thesis will consist of three stages, which will continuously build and rely on each other.
Each of the stages will to some extend be explained, analysed, discussed and implemented to
the case of creating and communicating a brand identity for Somersby on the British market.
The dominant stage, in the thesis, will be the second: the brand identity system. Due to this,
the analysis, discussion and implementation of the case in the two remaining stages will be
inferior to the second.
The thesis will take its departure point from a definition of brand identity. The definition will
be followed by an explanation and analysis of the second and third stage of the BIPM. After the
theory of brand identity has been analysed, the IMC Process model (Pickton & Broderick,
2006:7) will be introduced and analysed with concept of brand identity in mind. The following
stage of the thesis will implement the theory presented earlier on the Somersby case. The
implementation will start by a short consumer analysis to establish the market and target
segment. The analysis will be based on two reports from the Institute of Alcohol Studies and
an industry report from 20082.
In order to create the brand identity and communications, the remainder of the thesis will be
devoted to the implementation of theory on the Somersby case.
1.3 Delimitation
The thesis will view Somersby as an individual brand and not as a brand extension of
Carlsberg. The thesis will also not address the current brand identity of Somersby and will
essentially view it as a new brand without any brand identity.
The thesis will focus on the creation and communicational aspects of a brand identity for the
brand Somersby. Due to the size constrains of the thesis, the three stages of the BIPM can not
be equally thorough. The strategic brand analysis will not be performed to its’ full extend and
will only function as a tool to demonstrate the features of the British consumer market and to
define the target audience.
2 The industry report from 2008, which is used as a source in the thesis, was at the starting point of the thesis the most
current report on the British cider market. On the 7th of May 2009 a new report was published.
In the brand identity implementation system, only the first stage will be analysed and
implemented. The thesis will provide insight to how a brand identity is most effectively
communicated, but will not provide an execution scheme for implementation.
The thesis will not discuss the marketing subject of pricing or the semiotics subjects of
designing symbols. Moreover, the thesis will view Somersby as separate from Carlsberg and
not discuss the concept as umbrella branding, brand extensions etc. (Kotler, 2006:296)
2. Brand identity theory – an analysis of the brand identity
planning model.
To analyse how a brand identity is created, it is relevant to know what a brand identity is. The
concept of brand identity is widely used, due to this there is not an established sentence,
which defines what a brand identity is. The definition, which will be used in this thesis,
describes the brand identity as:
“a unique set of brand associations that the brand strategist aspires to create or
maintain. These associations represent what the brand stands for and imply a promise to
customers from organization members.” (Aaker, 2002:68)
The following stage in this thesis will systematically explain and analyse the BIPM. The first
stage of the BIPM will not be addressed in this part of the thesis, but will be explained prior to
the implementation of theory. In the last stage of the BIPM only the first section “Brand
position” will be addressed.
2.1 The brand identity system – choosing the attributes, values and
relationship of the brand.
The brand identity system consists of brand essence, a core identity and an extended identity,
which are influenced by four perspectives.
Each of the four perspectives has a number of categories. In total there are 12 categories,
which influence the brand identity system. Although all categories have relevance for brands,
virtually no brand has associations with all 12 categories. Below the perspectives are the
value proposition, the concept of credibility and the brand consumer relationship. (Aaker,
The purpose of the brand identity system
is described by Keller as the quest to
communicate the answers to four
questions related to the brand identity:
Who are you? (Core and extended identity)
What are you? (Core and extended
What about you? (Value proposition)
What about you and me? (Brand‐customer
Each answer communicates a part of the brand
identity to consumers. The fulfilment of all the
questions will ensure that the brand identity has
been successfully communicated to the audience. (Keller, 2008:59‐61)
2.2 Brand perspectives and categories
2.2.1 Brand as product
The first of the four perspectives is the brand as a product. This perspective consists of six
categories; product scope, product attributes, quality/value, uses, user and country of origin.
The brand as product perspective is often over emphasized by managers, because it is linked
to the brand choice criteria and the use experience. To avoid falling into, what is called, the
product attribute fixation trap (Aaker, 2002:72) managers must remember to distinguish
between the product and the brand. This can be done by utilising multiple perspectives to
ensure that the identity does not become one dimensional. The brand must be more than a
product, which can be copied. A cider is basically a cider. The points of difference do no only
lay in the product attributes, but in the brand identity. The categories function as indicators of
product class or industry and help the brand position itself as a brand in a specific industry or
by user, uses etc. (Aaker, 2002:78‐82)
2.2.2 Brand as organisation
The second perspective is the brand as an organisation. The organisational attributes are
more enduring and resistant to competitive claims than the product attributes. It is possible
to copy a product, but very difficult to copy an organisation. The categories in the brand as an
organisation perspective are organisational attributes and local vs. global. The organisational
attributes are, unlike the product attributes, often intangible and gives the brand credibility in
the mind of the consumers by communicating specific organisational values, which the
product can not. (Aaker, 2002:115–136)
2.2.3 Brand as person
The third perspective is the brand as a person. This perspective has two categories named
personality and brand customer relationship. The notion of the perspective is that like a
person a brand can have specific personalities and based on them form relationships form
relationships with consumers.
The personality is, generally speaking, the human characteristic of the brand. By having a
specific personality a brand can appeal to certain demographics, lifestyles and human
personalities and through them communicate with consumers, who find the traits pleasing or
desirable. The categories in the perspective are used to communicate with consumers, but
also by consumers to communicate. Consumers often use the brand personality to
communicate their own or a personality, which they desire to the public.
The second category of the perspective, the brand customer relationship, describes the brand
as a friend. And just as friends have different personalities, the relationship between them
differs. (Aaker, 2002 141 –158) The relationship between brand and consumers can take
various forms, such as a committed partnership, a childhood friendship or an arranged
marriage. (de Chernatony & McDonald, 2001:131)
2.2.4 Brand as symbol
The forth and last perspective is the brand as a symbol. The perspective consists of two
categories; visual imagery/metaphors and brand heritage. According to Aaker anything that
represents a brand can be a symbol.
Symbols do only over time create a connection to a specific brand. Because of this, it is
desirable to have a symbol, which can serve as an element that can communicate product
class to the consumers. (Wheeler, 2003:2‐6) A symbol is also more powerful, when it involves
a metaphor or characteristics, which can contribute in the value proposition. The brand
heritage is only relevant when a brand has been established for an extended period and will
therefore not be explained further in this thesis.
The process of creating a brand identity is the process of deciding which categories shall be
the most salient for a brand, meanwhile ensuring that the brand identity is implementable
and can be communicated to the market and consumers. This process of identifying
perspectives and categories is described by Nilson as the process of choosing general values,
who apply to all brands within the industry and the specific values, which separate the winner
brand from the average. (Nilson, 2001:75‐82)
The general values can be compared to category points of parity as they are shared by most
brands within an industry. (Kotler, 2006:312‐313)
Finding specific values are difficult, mainly due to the ingenuity of most modern brands, but
never the less necessary as they provide a unique set of characteristics and a distinct brand
profile in the consumers mind. (Nilson, 2001:75‐82)
When choosing the perspectives and categories of an identity a brand is choosing points of
parity and difference between itself and the competition. Bearing this in mind, it is crucial to
remember that the perspectives and categories must be of relevance to the consumers. The
consumers must be able to see a connection between the brand, the product and the industry
if they are to understand and form a relationship with the brand based on the identity. The
perspectives must be distinctive and emphasise the difference between the brand and the
competition, if consumers are to accept them. Furthermore, the identity must be believable. If
brand identity does not offer compelling reason to choose the brand over competition,
consumers will look upon the brand as average and the mission of creating a strong identity
will fail. (Kotler, 2006:315)
The next chapter of the thesis will feature an explanation and analysis of the concepts of
brand essence and core and extended identity.
2.3 Brand essence
The brand essence concept is not present in all of Aaker’s theories. In his book “Building
strong brands” the concept does not feature. I have however chosen to implement it in this
thesis based on the usability of the concept and the fact that other scholars such as Kapferer
(Kapferer, 2008:197) and Keller (Keller, 2008:125) draw upon and use it in their respective
Brand essence does according to Aaker represent the spirit of the brand and should be
timeless. If the brand essence is timeless, it will be transferable to brand extensions and
resonate with consumers as long as the brand lives up to the essence it proclaims to have.
According to Aaker, the brand essence should capture the aspiration aspects of all the
associations with the brand and state it in a word or a sentence; the brand essence statement
(Aaker, 2000:45‐48)
Kapferer also uses the term brand essence, but does so in a different way than Aaker. Aaker
describes the essence as the spirit of the brand. Kapferer states that “it stems from a desire to
summarise the identity and/or positioning.” Kapferer further describes brand essence as a
concept asking three questions: What do you sell? What key value does the brand propose and
stand for? (Kapferer, 2008:197) The difference between Kapferer and Aaker’s interpretations
of the brand essence concept stems from the usage of it in their respective models. Aaker
views brand essence as a statement showing the spirit of the brand. The brand essence is, in
other words, not a tagline to be communicated to the public, but a word or statement to
resonate with consumers and be the driving force behind the value proposition. “It is as the
hub of a wheel linked to all of the core identity elements.” (Aaker, 2000:45)
Kapferer views brand essence as a possible way to summarise the results gathered by using
his identity prism (Kapferer, 2008:183). However, both do agree that the brand essence
concept has managerial utility and can, if used right, be effective to describe higher order
ideals, benefits or entire brands. (Aaker 2000:45‐48) (Kapferer, 2008:197‐199)
2.4 Core identity
The core identity is the sphere where the most salient elements of the brand identity are
found. All elements in the core identity should reflect the strategy and values of the
organisation/brand. The elements should furthermore differentiate the brand and resonate
with consumers. This creates the prober focus for both the consumers and organisation and is
easily communicated to the public. According to Aaker the core identity is the most likely to
remain as the brand travels to new markets or extends to new products. (Aaker, 2000:43‐45)
Because of this the core identity should, similar to the brand essence, be timeless, but unlike
the brand essence, it should include elements that makes the brand unique and valuable in a
market perspective. In other words, the core identity should provide answers to introspective
questions: What is the soul of the brand, what are the fundamental believes and values that
drive the brand and similar question regarding the organization behind the brand. (Aaker,
2002:85‐87) The difference between the brand essence and core identity are difficult to
explain, but put in simple terms the brand essence is a concept or a philosophy. The core
identity is made up of tangible and intangible elements, that in a less abstract and efficiently
way can be communicated to describe the brand.
2.5 Extended identity
The extended identity includes the elements, which are not in the core identity. Because of
this, the extended identity has a broader perspective and provides texture and more
completeness when brand implementations are to be considered. Moreover, the extended
identity contains useful features as brand personality and brand delimitation, which can not
be comfortably implemented in either the brand essence or core Identity. (Aaker, 2000:45)
Because of the ambiguity of the core identity and brand essence, the extended identity is
essential in providing addition detail and associations to consumers. By enabling consumers
to access more tangible elements the brand can use the extended identity to increase the
number of associations with the brand. (Aaker, 2002:87‐89) The most powerful aspect of the
extended identity is the personality of the brand. The personality is defined as a set of human
characteristic, which are associated with the brand.(Aaker, 2002:141) The personality as a
concept is compiled from all the associations affiliated with the brand, the organisation etc.
Having a personality that the target audience can associate with or aspire to be will enable the
brand to utilise the value proposition communication tools and establish a strong overall
The brand personality should be reflected in the products made available to consumers. In
this way the consumers can express their personality trough the brands. Grant McCracken ads
valuable insight to this concept by stating that consumers prefer brands whose personality
correspond to the person they are or want to become. (Aaker, 2002:153)
The following chapters of the thesis will, similar to the previous two, systematically explain
and analyse the concepts of value proposition, credibility and the brand customer
2.6 Value proposition
The next step in the BIPM is the value proposition. This concept is created by the brand
identity and is explained by Aaker as “a statement of the functional, emotional, and selfexpressive benefits delivered by the brand that provide value to the customer. An effective value
proposition should lead to a brand­customer relationship and drive purchase dimensions.”
(Aaker, 2002:95)
The value proposition is an essential concept in the BIPM. This is proven by the fact that
almost every scholar within the field of branding has theories or strategies similar to the value
proposition. Nilson i.e. states that real brands need to have strong values. By having strong
values brands will have commercial power and stay in the minds of the customers for a long
period of time. (Nilson, 2000:50) The role of the value proposition, in a brand identity, is
basically to fulfil the needs of the consumers. Saatchi and Saatchi have presented a theory on
the evolution within the role of brands, which explains that brands in the past only were
required to fulfil the functional benefits. As time progressed and the use of branding grew,
brands had to move up the Maslow Hierarchy of needs and fulfil the emotional needs. In
present time, brands have moved to the top of the hierarchy and must fulfil the self expressive
needs as well as the two prior. The evolution in branding has moved from fulfilling the
functional and rational needs to the spiritual and emotional needs. (Pringle & Thompson,
The value proposition theory is seemingly based on the theory of Maslow’s hierarchy of
needs, which expressed the basic motivational factors of individuals. Maslow’s theory implies
that there are basic needs, such as physiological and safety needs, similar to the functional
benefits, which must be fulfilled before trying to satisfy the personal and intangible fulfilled by
the emotional and self expressive benefits. (Solomon, Bamossy, Askegaard & Hogg, 2006:98‐
Another theory, that can be implemented into the value proposition, is described by de
Chernatony and McDonald in the book ”Creating powerful brands” and states that brands
essentially satisfy needs. The theory lists three needs. The first being, similar to Aaker’s, the
functional, but unlike Aaker’s theory de Chernatony and McDonald classify brands according
to the consumer needs they fulfil. The brands in the functional category satisfy externally
generated consumption needs. The second type of brand, symbolic brands, solves the needs
for self enhancement, role position and ego identification. The third category is experiential
brands that satisfy the desire for pleasure and cognitive stimulation. (de Chernatony &
McDonald, 2001:77)
If a brand identity is to be successful and strong enough to capture the target market, it must
be able to provide benefits within various categories. They best way to do this is, according to
Aaker, to link the brand to compelling benefits whenever it is possible. (Aaker, 2000: 51)
In his book strategic brand management Keller lists six types of branding feelings. (Keller,
2008:69) Not all of them are implementable in the value proposition, but they do offer a
different perspective on emotional and self expressive benefits. The six feelings are divided
into two groupings. One of experimental and immediate increasing the level of intensity
(emotional benefits) and one containing the feelings, which are private and enduring (self
expressive benefit). (Kahle, 1988:35‐41)
2.6.1 Functional benefits
The functional benefits are characterised by being based on product attributes, which provide
a functional benefit for consumers. The functional benefit has direct links to consumer
decisions and if a brand can create a dominant benefit, it can dominate the market category.
(Aaker, 2002:95‐97) The functional benefits are characterised as the key tangible features the
brand performs. (Aaker, 2000:48) The tangible features are the basis of the value proposition
as they are the only benefits, which can be objectively assessed. (Nilson, 2000:77)
The functional benefits in the value proposition have the problem that they very often fail to
differentiate the brand and limits the opportunity of brand extension. (Aaker, 2002:96) This
failure can be prevented by incorporating elements that are not related to the product into the
functional benefits. By incorporating elements from different perspectives and the core and
extended identity a brand can ensure that the functional benefits are not only the sensation of
consuming the product, but also attributes related to the organisation as quality or the
symbols such as the brand name. Furthermore, brands should link themselves to compelling
functional benefits whenever possible.
The functional benefits are extremely important in the value proposition, since they are the
basis on which the two other benefits build. Most consumers consider the functional benefit
first when they purchase a brand. If a brand simultaneously offers emotional and self
expressive benefits it will be more compelling to the consumer. Because of this, a brand can
never have too many functional and tangible benefits. Benefits that are of no relevance will
simply be ignored. (Nilson, 2000:78)
2.6.2 Emotional benefits
The emotional benefits are, unlike the functional, intangible and relates to the ability of a
brand to evoke feelings from consumers during the communication process between the two.
By doing this, a brand can add richness and depth to the process of using or interrelating with
the brand. (Aaker, 2000:49) The emotional benefits are often tied to the functional, hereby
meaning that the functional benefit provides the consumers with the tools to reach the
emotional benefit. (Aaker, 2002:97‐99) Studies have showed that brands benefit
tremendously from fusing two benefits together. By having both functional and emotional
benefits brands will therefore be more effective in communicating with consumers. (Agress,
Nilson looks upon emotional benefits in a different scope. He describes emotions as subjective
and impossible to touch or asses. Nilson further emphasises that brands must not assign too
many emotional values and benefits to themselves, as they will create confusion in the
consumer’s mind. (Nilson. 2000: 78‐79) However, it is nearly impossible to control the
emotional benefits since they are subjective, but in BIPM the brand identity does have a
significant impact on the benefits, which consumers might feel the receive through the brand.
The emotional benefits will according to Aaker be in coherence with the brand essence, core
and extended identity as the benefits work as the promise the brand offers to consumers. The
delivery on the promise is a key factor in creating and communicating a credible brand
identity. If the brand fails to deliver, it will not be credible and not live up to the expectation,
which it has given consumers and therefore the brand identity creation process will fail.
2.6.3 Self expressive benefits
Consumer behaviour researcher Russell W. Belk once stated that: “We are what we have.”
(Belk, 1988:139) This notion is the cornerstone of the self expressive benefits. Aaker
expresses it as follows: “A self­expressive benefit exist when the brand provides a vehicle by
which the person can proclaim a particular self image.” (Aaker, 2000:50‐51) The brand
becomes a way to fulfil the self expressive needs of a specific consumer or as de Chernatony
and McDonald states it: “Brands serve as expressive devices, people therefore prefer brands
whose image is closest to their own self image.” (de Chernatony & McDonald 2001:122) In
other words consumers are looking for a brand that offers them the opportunity to
communicate who they are or want to be. To gain the understanding consumers must
examine the brand identity and evaluate if the self expressive benefits are satisfying. The self
expressive benefits are at the top for the Maslow hierarchy of effects.
The emotional benefits can in some cases be closely linked to the self expressive benefits, as
the feeling of safety a consumer has in a Volvo closely resembles the values expressed by
driving it. (Aaker, 2002:99‐101) The self expressive benefits are similar to what Keller calls
the need for social approval. (Keller, 2008:69‐71) Both describe the usage of a brand as a way
to gain acceptance and project a certain image to others. The self expressive benefits are
important in the brand identity, because they offer points of difference at the highest level of
the Maslow pyramid and enable the consumers to express themselves through the brand. A
problem with the self expressive benefits is that in order for people to recognise a consumer
through a brand, they will have to recognise the brand’s identity. In some cases, the brand has
not yet been introduced to the market, so this recognition is impossible. Because of this, new
brands will have to rely on particular elements as sufficient motivation and hope the
personality of the brand will shine through.
2.7 Credibility
Aligned with the value proposition is credibility. Credibility is essential in the process of
creating brand identity. If the brand elements and value proposition are not correctly chosen
and efficiently communicated the brand identity will not be perceived as credible by the
consumers. (Aaker, 2002:103) The credibility is connected to the choice of elements in the
brand identity. If the elements have fulfilled the three standards set forth by Kotler, (Kotler,
2006:282) the consumers will believe in the brand identity and the communications that
originate from the brand. Furthermore, the credibility of the brand is important if brand
extensions are created. If the extensions contain the brand name they will receive their
credibility from the identity, which was created for the original brand and product. The brand
plays in important role as it is the sender of all communications involving the brand. To
ensure that the communications are believed, the brand can rely on the brand personality to
convey the messages. An attractive and trustworthy brand will have more credibility than
others. (Pickton & Broderick. 2005:56‐59)
2.8 Customer relationship
The last feature of the brand identity system is brand customer relationship. It is highly
relevant for a brand to build a positive relationship with customers. The relationship can stem
from either the value proposition or from the core or extended identity. Regardless which
feature the relationship relies upon the most productive relationships emerge when the brand
is regarded as an entity, either being an organisation or a person. This acknowledgement
allows customers to view the brand as a personality and enables them to build a relationship
similar to that of two humans. (Aaker, 2002:103‐104) The concept that both brand and
consumers communicate with each other is known as two way communication and implies
that both consumers and the brand can react if the relationship is not satisfactory. (Pickton
&Broderick, 2005:96)
The relationship between brands and consumers requires constant attention since it is always
evolving. Fournier states that the relationship between brand and consumers must be
interdependent and collectively affect and define the relationship. (Fournier. 1998: 2‐6) The
notion that both the brand and the consumers affect and define the relationship is based on
the idea that brand behaviour affects the personality and thereby the relationship. (Aaker.
2002: 159‐168) If the behaviour of the brand is not coherent with the brand identity and the
communicated personality, the relationship will change in the mind of the consumer. Because
of this, it is crucial that the brand is consistent and delivers on its promises. This can be
accomplished by having established symbols, values etc. and a coherent and consistent
2.9 The brand implementation system
The third stage of the BIPM is designed to create a brand implementation system. The system
contains three phases, which function in continuation of each other.
While the previous stage of the BIPM
analysed the creation of a brand identity
and communications that originate from it,
this stage will establish how the brand
identity is communicated to the consumers.
In this chapter I will continue to follow the
framework set forth by Aaker. This chapter will
use theory to clarify how a brand identity can be
communicated, but it will not address the creation of a specific communication or advertising
The chapter will focus on the first category of this stage in the BIPM. The second category,
execution, and the rest of the model will not be analysed due to content constraints and
limited relevance to the purpose of the thesis.
2.9.1 Brand position
The first phase, brand positioning, is implemented when the value proposition core and
extended identities has been firmly established. In brand position the communication
objectives are developed and executed. The brand position is defined as “the part of the brand
identity and value proposition that is to be actively communicated to the target audience and
that demonstrates an advantage over competing brands.” (Aaker, 2002:176)
The brand position is created by four sub categories which each have an individual purpose in
the communication process.
Aaker is not the only scholar, who puts great emphasise on positioning. The concept is
essential in most aspects of marketing theory and options on implementation are numerous.
One of them, the de Chernatony and McWilliam
matrix (de Chernatony & McDonald, 2001:373‐378),
is very useful in collaboration with Aaker. The
matrix differentiates between functionality
(functional benefits) and representationality values
(emotional and self expressive benefits). In the
matrix theory a brand will try to position itself
according to brand identity, value proposition and
what the target audience needs. The goal of most
brands will be to have both high functionality and
representationality. By having this position the
brand can appeal to a larger segment group. (de
Chernatony & McDonald, 2001:373‐378)
The brand position is essentially a tool to develop more relevant and effective advertising,
what ever form that might take. The position is the starting point for the advertising
campaign, as it emphasises which elements will be the most salient in the communication
process. (Nilson, 2000:130‐133)
2.9.2 Subset of the brand identity
The first category related to brand position uses the created brand identity to decide the
elements, which will be the most salient in the communication process. In doing so, some
brand positions become concise statements developed on the basis of the identity. However,
the statement is not the same as the brand identity, but rather an intrinsic reflection of the
most relevant aspects of the identity in the mind of the consumers. (Aaker, 2002:176‐179)
The importance of the connection between what is communicated and the brand identity can
not be stressed enough. As was established in the previous chapter, it is essential that the
brand identity, value proposition etc. is coherent with what is being communicated. If not the
brand customer relationship will never blossom.
2.9.3 Target audience
The second category which creates the brand position is the target audience. The brand
position must be targeted at a specific target audience to be successful. This target audience
can be a subset of the target segment or be divided into a primary and secondary audience.
The brand position will differ depending on each approach, but should ensure that the
position does not antagonize any of the audience groups. (Aaker, 2002:179)
The communications are aimed at a specific target audience and not the entire market. The
importance of knowing with whom you are communicating is best described in “Integrated
marketing communications” by Pickton and Broderick: “Identifying target audience is
fundamental to good marketing communications.” (Pickton & Broderick, 2005:10‐15) If you do
not know with whom you are speaking, how can you know what to say?
2.9.4 Active communication
The third feature in creating the brand position is the notion of active communication. Active
communication is associated with brand image and how this image can be shaped or
depending on the situation possible changed. The use of active communication means that
there will be specific communication objectives focused on changing or strengthening the
brand customer relationship.” (Aaker, 2002:180)
The idea, that the brand identity must be actively communicated, may sound trivial. But if a
brand relies solely on the brand identity and value proposition to passive and silently
communicate itself, the brand identity will not be correctly decoded by the consumers. To
generate the desired brand image brands must actively use communication tools to portray
the created brand identity.
2.9.5 Competitive advantage
Last the brand position should demonstrate a competitive advantage. This point of superiority
should be generated from the value proposition and resonate and differentiate the brand from
competitors. (Aaker, 2002:181‐182)
By demonstrating points of difference and superiority brands can access not only other target
segments, but also attract consumers from other brands and industries to the brand. The
points of difference are the most salient factors in choosing between various brands and by
emphasising the uniqueness of the brand identity, a brand can create more brand equity and a
higher perceived value in the mind of the consumers.
3. The IMC process model – the process of communicating an
The thesis looks upon the process of creating a brand identity and the process of
communicating it as intertwined. By creating a brand identity a communicational message is
also created. To demonstrate how the brand identity functions as a communicative tools it
will be implemented in the IMC process model. (Pickton & Broderick, 2005:7)
The IMC process model is divided into three elements; the marketing communications
context, image and brand management and customer/audience management. Due to content
constrains this chapter will focus on the marketing communications context to illustrate how
the theory affects the creation and communication of the brand identity. (Pickton & Broderick,
When applying brand identity theory to the marketing communication context, the sender
becomes difficult to identify. Depending on the view taken, the sender can either be the
organisation behind the brand, the brand itself or a personality, fictive or real. In this case, I
will look at the brand as the sender.
In order for the message send to be believed, the sender must have credibility. The brand is, in
this case, new and will not use the credibility of the parent organisation. Because of this, the
brand must create credibility through its brand personality. The more expert, attractive and
trustworthy the brand personality appears, the more credibility the sender will have. Due to
this, it is essential that the brand personality has the features mention above.
To communicate the brand identity the brand must encode the message with signs, which can
easily be decoded by the receiver. The process requires the brand to choice between an icon,
index or a symbol. In doing so the brand must ensure that the choice has denotative meaning,
which can appeal to all consumers and a connotative meaning aimed directly at the target
audience. This forces the brand identity to contain elements that can provide both types of
meaning and can function as all three types of signs. (Pickton & Broderick, 2005:48‐53)
The choice of media will not be performed in the thesis. It will only be mentioned that the
media, in which the message is send, should provide the necessary tools to reduce the amount
of noise and ensure that the receiver can decode the message. (Pickton & Broderick,
The intended receiver of the brand identity message is the primary target audience, but due to
the nature of communication other segments of the market will receive the message. This fact
further emphasises, that the brand identity must be versatile enough to convey its message,
not only to the primary target audience, but also contain features, which can be denoted by
other segments.
Having clarified and analysed the theory used for the creation and communication of a brand
identity, the thesis will now implement that knowledge on the Somersby case by choosing the
elements in the identity, designing the value proposition, relationship and brand position.
However, before this can be done the first part of the BIPM must be conducted.
4. Implementation of theory – the Somersby brand identity
4.1 The brand analysis – is there food for the brand identity?
The brand analysis is the initial stage of the brand identity planning model and consists of
three categories; Customer, competitor and self analysis. Each serves a specific purpose of
providing information and tools to effectively understand all the factors, which influence the
creation of a brand identity.
In this thesis only the consumer analysis will be conducted.
The customer analysis investigates four
factors; trends, motivation, unmet needs and
segmentation. (Aaker, 2002:189‐193) Trends
are defined by Kotler as a “direction or
sequence of events that has some momentum and durability… and reveals the shape of the future
and provides many opportunities.” (Kotler, 2006:77)
The motivation of the consumers is to fulfil certain functional, emotional and self expressive
benefits, which can be viewed in the Abraham Maslow Hierarchy of needs. (Solomon,
Bamossy, Askegaard & Hogg, 2006:98‐100)
The benefits are often industry related. In the market Somersby will be operating in the
benefits are personal reward and relaxation, self expressive benefits and price/quality
The unmet needs are the focus point of brands, as they provide opportunities for points of
Segmentation is the way in which the market is divided into consumers group, by either
seeking similar benefits or having similar unmet needs. (Aaker, 2002:189‐193)
The trends in the British market call for innovation. Consumers are experimenting with
flavour, drinking methods and the occasions in which cider can be implemented. The off trade
market for cider is growing and consumers are calling for cider brands that can be used for
various occasions. The increase in the off trade consumption of cider is a chance for Somersby
to differentiate itself from brands with longer heritage and associations with drinking in pub
etc. By offering other uses and occasions for cider to be consumed, Somersby can access new
market segments and fulfil unmet needs of consumers, who are looking for a different
context/atmosphere for cider drinking.
The image of cider has moved from being a low class to a modern and trendy product.
Because of this, cider has a premium image and the consumers expect and demand premium
brands and quality.
The consumption of alcohol among women is increasing and it is expected that more women
will consume cider. The market does not provide many brands with women features, which is
the unmet needs of most women. Women are looking for brands that offer a different view on
cider and portray values, which are different that those dominant in present brands. This is
the opportunity, which Somersby must capitalise on. By appealing to the benefits sought and
unmet needs of the consumers, Somersby has the chance to establish itself as superior to the
dominant brands on the market. Somersby must establish the brand as the leader among
consumers, whose needs are not being fulfilled and furthermore create a brand identity,
which can communicate with the consumers and provide them with the benefits and needs
they desire.
The target segment of Somersby will be women and other cider consumers, whose needs are
currently not being satisfied by the market. The target segment will be the consumers seeking
a brand offering a different view on cider as a product and as an industry. Furthermore, the
target segment will be consumers, who are attracted to brands with softer values and
premium quality. (Industry report Cider/perry ‐ United Kingdom, 20083) (Drinking in Great
Britain4 & Women and alcohol5: Institute of Alcohol Studies)
4.2 The identity of Somersby
Having established the target segment the process of creating the brand identity can now
The second stage of the BIPM implies that in order for a brand to have texture and depth it
must consider the brand as a product, as an organisation, as a person and as a symbol. The
categories of these four perspectives are what eventually will be implemented in the core and
extended brand identities. The usage of the correct perspectives and brand elements will help
clarify, enrich and differentiate the identity in the mind of the consumer. (Aaker, 2002:78)
There is no fixed number of elements, which a brand must posses. Some brand only use one
element, but typically the brand identity will require six to twelve elements in order for it to
adequately describe the brands aspiration. (Aaker, 2000:43)
Aaker does not provide a tool to segments which perspectives and categories should be in the
core and extended brand identity. He merely provides the perspectives from which the
categories should originate. In order for me to choose the elements, which will be in the
specific identities I have relied on the finding from the brand analysis and various theories.
The following paragraphs are based on a subjective process of evaluating which elements I
deem appropriate for the brand identity and that I believe Somersby Cider can successfully
communicate to the primary target group and the rest of the British consumers.
Based on the information from the brand analysis the primary target group was defined as
women, who were not satisfied with the current cider brands or did not associate cider as a
product with women features or with the ability to be used in a context, which they saw
To attract this segment to the brand, the identity should therefore utilize this information in
the process of creating the brand identity. However, the brand must not be come a mere
reflection of what the consumers what. As Kapferer states it; “a brand should not pursue the
ideal consumer brand ideal since it is often incompatible and eventually will cause the brand to
regress to an average brand and in the end loose its identity completely.” As consumer ideals
change continuously the brands core identity must be timeless. (Kapferer, 2008:188‐200)
According to Kapferer Somersby must therefore not emphasise the women segment to much.
By having multiple associations the brand will be able to have women as the main target,
while still communicating and resonating with the rest of the consumers. Bearing that in
mind, the elements chosen in the identity must also be implementable in the communicational
process described in the IMC process model.
So which perspectives, categories and elements will be efficient in creating a strong brand
identity for Somersby?
4.2.1 Elements of the core identity
According to Aaker one of the common mistakes when creating a brand identity is having a
limited brand perspective. By having only a limited number of perspectives the brand will
have lesser associations and thereby the communicative message, which the brand identity
conveys will reach a smaller segment. To prevent this Somersby will follow the guideline just
presented and have various perspectives in the identity.
The strategic brand analysis showed that consumers where experimenting with product
usage and flavours, but where still attracted to the simplicity of cider. Carlsberg Group who
owns Somersby has innovation as one of their key values. (Carlsberg Annual Report,
2008:226) To meet the requirements of the market and ensure the audience of the
commitment to meet their wishes and unmet needs, innovation should also be a virtue of
Another element in the core identity is premium. The cider industry is presently viewed as
modern and trendy. Due to this, most brands are sold at a premium price. By incorporating
premium in its core identity Somersby will have credibility on the market and address the
concerns some target segments might have about the quality of the brand. Furthermore, the
premium identity will be transferable to consumers showing that premium people use the
Somersby brand. Premium is similar to innovation a notion, which the organisation behind
the Somersby brand can embrace, since it produces premium beer. (Carlsberg Annual Report,
2008:297) Premium can hail from any of the four brand perspectives in the brand identity
system. This is the strength of the concept, as it enables Somersby and consumers to utilise it
in associations and communications. There is the danger that premium will position the brand
as snobbish with segments. Because of this it is important that the perceived quality and the
value for money is high and that the communication sends the message that Somersby
provides equal opportunities to for the consumers to feel premium.
The next element in the core identity is commitment. Commitment is chosen because it has
multiple areas of use. It can originate from the brand as an organisation or from the brand as a
personality perspective. Somersby is committed to innovation and premium, but also to the
consumers and the market. Continuous commitment will show the consumer that Somersby
does embrace its identity and deliver on the promises made. Commitment is also connected to
safety, which is concern for many consumers.
The last element in the core identity is a product attribute from the brand as a product
perspective, which can remain timeless and be present in every future Somersby product. It
should be the answer to what Somersby is: fresh and fruity.
4.2.2 Elements of the extended identity
The extended identity captures the personality of the brand and expresses the features, which
are too marginal or controversial to be in the core identity.
The first element in the extended identity is experimental, which is associated to innovation in
the core identity. Experimental is a powerful world and illustrates that Somersby is not afraid
to push the boundaries of cider and the usage of the brand. By having experimental in the
extended identity the brand can access segments, which normally would not use cider, but
like to experiment with new product/brands and moreover sustain the attention of the
consumers by introducing new concepts to a market, which seems to engulf most new
features. Experimental can not only be part of the brand as product and brand as organisation
perspectives, but also be associated to the brand personality as an open person, who is not
afraid to try new thing. Experimental should always be considered with the core identity in
mind, as it defines what kind of experimental person or brand Somersby is.
The third feature in the extended brand identity is versatile. This word describes the brands
versatile nature and the many occasions for uses and users. The brand can adapt to changing
environments and challenges, while still remaining true to the core identity. Because of this, it
is both a brand as product and a brand as a person perspective.
The personality of the brand is exciting, yet trustworthy. Somersby must underline that the
brand is exciting, but still trustworthy and versatile enough to entrust with any assignment.
Exciting will be tied to the occasion/uses. Somersby will be synonymous with exciting
occasions or simple an event consumers look forward to. All the elements of the brand
identity will contribute to and be part of the personality, but the two most dominant in the
communication process will be exciting and trustworthy.
Another element in the extended brand identity is fun and relationship. The brand must
project the seriousness of the core identity, but also show that the brand is entertaining and
will provide consumers with an exciting relationship, that continues to evolve. Similar to the
identity, the relationship must emphasise the excitement of the usage and the calmness that
the brand will deliver on what it promises. The relationship must be based on trust, two way
communication and benefit mutually.
The last element is part of the brand as a symbol perspective and contains the Somersby
logos, design etc. The element must capture the brand identity in icons, which can be decoded
as part of the Somersby brand.
Due to the nature of the thesis logos etc.
will not be thoroughly examined or
created as the process could be a thesis in
4.2.3 Brand essence statement
The creation of a brand essence
statement for Somersby must be
conducted. Since there are multiple views
on what a brand essence statement is, I
have implemented both Aaker and
Kapferer notions in the creation of the
essence statement:
“Drinking at its’ premium.”
Drinking at its premium emphasises that Somersby is a premium brand, containing premium
ingredients, owned by a premium organisation. Furthermore, it is for made for premium
people and to make people feel premium. The brand offers a premium drinking experience
and a premium relationship with customers.
The brand essence is transferrable to brand extension and more important timeless.
Consumers will always look for a premium drinking experience and Somersby must be
associated with this concept. The core identity further emphasises the brand essence by
stating that Somersby is “committed to premium innovation”. The brand essence statement
can function as the theme of the Somersby brand, both internally and externally, as it is the
mission of Somersby to provide customers with a premium drinking experience.
Together with the core and extended identities, the brand essence statement answers the
questions presented by Keller of who and what Somersby is.
4.3 Somersby Value proposition
Having chosen the elements of the core and extended identity and composed a brand essence
statement, the next step is to design the value proposition and the promises, which Somersby
will communicate to the target audience.
4.3.1 Functional benefits – the first step
The functional benefits are often only related to product attributes. In order for Somersby to
differentiate itself, the functional benefits will not only focus on product attributes, but
implement elements from other perspectives as well. Elements such as innovation, exciting
and the versatile nature of Somersby are tied to the product attribute and enhance the
functional benefits of the brand. The multiple elements will generate more association and
enable the brand to access more segments through the communication.
“Refreshing Somersby is a modern and exciting fruity alcoholic drink for any occasion”
This benefit must then spearhead the brand identity communication, as it will be the
functional benefits that will initially drive the consumers to the brand.
4.3.2 Emotional Benefits – the second step
The emotional benefits of Somersby build on the functional benefits and ads a second level to
the brand customer relationship. The notion implies, that the emotional benefit is reached
trough the functional benefits. The emotional benefits must utilise the elements in brand
identity and not provide feelings, which are undesirable or unrelated to Somersby. The
emotional benefits should be versatile and contain both denotative and connotative meaning
to ensure that the communication can reach different segments, while still focusing on the
primary target audience.
“Somersby provides a feeling of pleasure and satisfaction with oneself while simultaneously
evoking feelings of excitement and fun.”
The communication of the emotional benefits is connected to the functional. The
communication must proof to the consumers that only Somersby can create these feelings. By
having the feelings portrayed as a result of the functional benefits, Somersby can capitalise on
both and enforce the brand identity.
4.3.3 Self expressive benefits
The self expressive benefit is the third step of the Somersby value proposition. The self
expressive benefits are, in this case, interpreted as what Somersby would like to communicate
through the consumers. It is important to emphasise that it is not what consumers try to
portray through Somersby. The self expressive benefit is at the highest level of the Maslow
hierarchy and is what Somersby want their consumers to be recognised as. It is so to speak,
the Somersby personality brought to life.
“Somersby identifies you as an innovative and premium person as exciting, refreshing and
trustworthy as the brand itself.”
In order for Somersby to ensure that the communication is correctly decoded, it must
emphasise the self expressive benefits in the brand identity communication i.e. by having
people, who are portrayed or known to have these values in the communications.
4.4 The relationship
The relationship provides and communicates the answer to the final question set forth by
Keller; what about you and me? To ensure that the relationship is considered mutually
beneficial and safe, Somersby must emphasise the commitment element in the brand identity
to ensure that the relationship is seen as consistent, while still being experimental and
innovative. This can be accomplished by having established symbols, values etc and a
coherent and consistent positioning. The relationship between Somersby and consumers will
reflect the value proposition, but be based on the core and extended identities.
The relationship should be based on trust. The trust the consumer has in Somersby’s ability to
consistently deliver on the promises made in the brand identity and the value proposition,
while still providing an exciting atmosphere and premium drinking experience.
The relationship should be similar to the relationship consumers would have with the friend,
which they rely on when they want to have a premium time. Depending on how the
relationship was initiated, de Chernatony would either call this form of relationship a
marriage of convenience, compartmentalized friendship or a childhood friendship based on a
nostalgic attachment influenced by the experiences with the brand. (de Chernatony &
McDonald, 2001:131)
4.5 The Somersby brand position – the brand identity message
The purpose of the brand position is to enable managers to create a brand position statement,
which is defined earlier as “the part of the brand identity and value proposition that is to be
actively communicated to the target audience and that demonstrates an advantage over
competing brands.” (Aaker, 2002:176) This statement is generated from the four categories
within the brand position stage. In order for the brand position statement to be created the
four categories must first be addressed.
In choosing the most relevant aspect from the brand identity and its value proposition, it is
important to remember that they must demonstrate an advantage and resonate with the
target audience at which they are to be actively communicated. Since the primary target
audience has been established as women, it seems logical to focus on the features, which the
strategic brand analysis showed where not being satisfactory satisfied. From the core identity
the two elements to be communicated are the commitment of Somersby and premium nature
of the brand. The two elements are to be connected to the versatility and the brand
personality from the extended identity and finally, to use all the tools available, the functional,
emotional and self expressive benefits from the value proposition. By choosing the specific
elements above, Somersby has generated the points of difference, which will demonstrate the
brand advantage. Based on the communication of these elements, Somersby will communicate
the brand identity and ensure that the brand identity is correctly decoded by the audience,
which it reaches.
However, to do this the brand needs a brand position statement, which will communicate all,
which was established above.
The brand position is not limited to one particular strategy, but implements features from
multiple, such as positioning by brand user, by attributes, by quality etc. (Pickton & Broderick.
2005:428‐431) It is important to remember that the position statement is aimed at a specific
target segment and not all receivers in the IMC process model. The position statement will
only portray the brand identity in a way relevant to the primary target audience. Based on
this, it is recommendable to have position statements for the entire market as well
The brand position statement aimed at the primary target audience for Somersby is:
“Innovative Somersby’s exciting and refreshing quality cider is the drink for premium women
committed to fun relationships and occasions.”
The statement should place Somersby at the top of the ladder when women think of a
refreshing alcohol drinks. By positioning themselves at the top of the brand ladder and in the
upper right corner of the Chernatony & McWilliam matrix, Somersby will be a brand that
offers functional, emotional and eventual self expressive benefits to the consumers. The
chosen elements will then be the main features in the communication strategy, which will
convey the message of the brand to the receivers.
The position statement aimed at the receivers outside the primary target audience will be
more general and state that:
“Refreshing Somersby is committed to offering exciting cider with versatile usage, which always
brings satisfaction and premium quality.”
The development of the brand position statements marks the end of the brand identity
process in this thesis.
5. Conclusion
This thesis set out to establish how Carlsberg could create and communicate a brand identity
for the Somersby brand on the British market. This mission proofed more difficult than
anticipated. The analysis of the BIPM and the IMC process model combined with the
implementation of theory, the creation of the Somersby brand identity and brand identity
message showed that the process of creating and the process of communicating a brand
identity are difficult to separate. They are in fact intertwined and interdependent. Any change
in the brand identity creation process will affect the brand identity communication process
and visa versa. Each particular element in the brand identity is a communicational message in
itself. If innovation was removed from the core identity of Somersby, it would affect every
aspect of the brand identity and brand identity message. If innovation was removed, the
brand identity message could not be send in an innovative way, the brand personality could
not be innovative, neither could the brand’s consumers etc. A similar affect would occur if the
brand message was not innovative. Because of this, the answer to the problem statement is
not as concrete as expected.
This thesis has analysed the major branding theories, combined them with a sender receiver
model and motivational theory and used the findings to choose the salient elements in and the
communication of the Somersby brand identity. In doing so, it has shown how the objective
set forth in problem statement can be performed. However, based on the theory of branding,
there is no way to know if other salient elements, benefits etc. would have been more effective
in this process. Based on this, it is fair to say that the creating and communicating of an
identity can not be done objectively.
To summarise this thesis has based on acknowledge branding and communicational theory
created a brand identity and shown how it can be communicated. It has shown that creation
and successful communication relies on the understanding of the consumers unmet needs,
motivation and the alignment of brand elements and benefits to create a recognisable brand
identity. The communication of the brand identity must be based on both denotative and
connotative symbols and be aimed at specific targets segments to ensure that the brand
identity, which Somersby has created, is decoded by the consumers.
“A brand identity for Somersby on the British market can be created and communicated by
viewing the concepts as one coherent and continuous process. By doing this, all aspects of the
process will be interdependent, ensuring that the identity will be recognised, not as a set of
intangible and tangible elements, but as an organic entity, which consumers can relate to.”
6. Bibliography
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Aaker, D. A., & Joachimsthaler, E. (2000). Brand leadership. New York, New York, United States
of America: The Free Press.
Agres, S. J., Edell, J. A., & Dubitsky, T. M. (1990). Emotions in advertising. New York, New York,
United States of America: Quorum.
Belk, R. W. (1988). Possessions and the extended self. Journal of Consumer Research, 15(2),
Carlsberg Group. (2009). Annual report 2008. Retrieved 05.15, 2009, from
de Chernatony, L., & McDonald, M. (2001). Creating powerful brands in consumer, service and
industrial markets (2nd edition ed.). Oxford, England: Butterworth‐Heinemann.
Eurominitor International. (2008). Cider/perry ­ united kingdom. Retrieved 04.16.09, 2009,
Fournier, S. (1998). Consumers and their brands: Developing relationship theory in consumer
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Institute of Alcohol Studies. (2008). Drinking in Great Britain. Retrieved 05.14, 2009, from
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Kahle, L. R., Poulos, B., & Sukhdial, A. (1988). Changes in social values in the united states
during the past decade. Journal of Advertising Research, 28(1), 35‐41.
Kapferer, J. (2008). The new strategic brand management: Creating and sustaining brand
equity long term (4. edition ed.). London, England: Kogan Page.
Keller, K. L. (2008). Strategic brand management. building, measuring and managing brand
equity. (3rd edition ed.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, United States of America:
Pearson Prentice Hall.
Kotler, P., & Keller, K. L. (2006). Marketing management (12th edition ed.). Upper Saddle
River, New Jersey, United States of America: Prentice‐Hall.
Nilson, T. H. (2000). Competitive branding. New York, New York, United States of America:
John Wiley & Sons.
Pickton, D., & Broderick, A. (2005). Integrated marketing communications (2. edition ed.).
Harlow, England: Prentice Hall.
Pringle, H., & Thompson, M. (1999). Brand spirit: How cause related marketing builds brands.
West Sussex, England: John Wiley & Sons.
Solomon, M., Bamossy, G., Askegaard, S., & Hogg, M. K. (2006). Consumer behaviour: A
European perspective (3. edition ed.). Harlow, England: Prentice Hall.
Wheeler, A. (2003). Designing brand identity: A complete guide to creating, building and
maintaining strong brands. Hoboken, New Jersey, United States of America: John Wiley &
Leveraging the
Corporate Brand
David A. Aaker
B rand assets are diffi adapt. The offering environment is cluttered, confused, and com- plex in part because of the proliferation of products, brands, and sub-brands. Dynamic market contexts with the emergence of new cult and expensive to develop, maintain, and
sub-categories make it necessary to adapt and stretch brands, putting additional
strain on their ability to deliver the needed support.
In this context, the corporate brand (or, more generally, an organization
brand) can be dialed up to play a more prominent role in the brand portfolio.
The corporate brand defines the firm that will deliver and stand behind the
offering that the customer will buy and use. The brand has access to organizational as well as product associations and the flexibility to play several roles
within the brand portfolio. Of most significance is its potential in some contexts
to be a master brand with a significant driver role. In fact, in the case of Dell,
UPS, Sony, Samsung, IBM, and others, it can been seen as the ultimate branded
house, where the product brands consist largely of the corporate brand plus a
descriptor. In these cases, the use of a corporate brand as a master brand maximizes brand portfolio goals such as generating leverage, synergy, and clarity.
However, the brand is well suited to play an endorser role as well, as in
Courtyard (by Marriott), MSN (by Microsoft), or Lion King (by Disney). As such,
it provides credibility that can reassure the new buyer, especially if a new technology is involved. Because it represents an organization that stands behind its
products in spirit and substance, it can also work on an emotional level by providing a valued relationship with a respected organization. Even when it represents a holding company (e.g., Berkshire Hathaway, Viacom, or Yum!), it can
Adapted from BRAND PORTFOLIO STRATEGY by David A. Aaker. Copyright © 2004 by David Aaker.
By permission of Free Press, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc. New York.
play a shadow endorser role in that some customers realize that there is a substantial firm behind the offering even if it is not visible. It can also be a vehicle
to deliver a differentiated service. The Starwood brand, which endorses several
hotel brands (Westin, Sheraton, W, St. Regis, and others), also supports a loyalty
program under the Starwood brand.
The Corporate Brand
As the brand that defines the organization that will deliver and stand
behind the offering, the corporate brand is defined primarily by organizational
associations. Of course, organizational associations may be relevant to product
brands (such as OneSource, Betty Crocker, or Chevrolet), but the number,
power, and credibility of organizational associations will be greater for a brand
that visibly represents a corporate organization. In particular, a corporate brand
will potentially have a rich heritage, assets and capabilities, people, values and
priorities, a local or global frame of reference, citizenship programs, and a performance record.
Any brand, but especially those that are struggling, can benefit from going
back to its roots and identifying what made it special and successful in the first
place. A corporate brand usually has roots that are richer and more relevant
than product brands. L.L. Bean has the New England hunting and fishing background that has evolved into an outdoor/casual living lifestyle brand. The stories
about the early roots and the Bean family help add authenticity and differentiation to the brand. The HP garage, the Wells Fargo Stagecoach roots, GE tracing
itself back to Thomas Edison days, Nike’s earliest advances in track shoes, and
the Honda engine development going back to the 1940s and 1950s all help
define these brand today and add value, especially when they are re-interpreted
in a contemporary light.
Assets and Capabilities
A firm brings to a market a perception of having assets and capabilities
with regard to its ability to deliver innovative products and value to customers.
Shisheido has knowledge and expertise
around skin care. Wal-Mart has the technology needed to deliver a wide variety of
merchandise at low prices. Singapore Airlines can delivery exceptional service. Prudential has financial assets behind it.
LeapFrog has the ability to understand the educational needs of children and
translate them into engaging, effective products.
Leveraging the Corporate Brand
David A. Aaker is Vice-Chairman of Prophet Brand
Strategies and Professor Emeritus at the Haas
School of Business at the University of California,
Berkeley. <[email protected]>
The people of an organization, especially in a firm with a heavy service
component, provide the basis for the corporate brand image. If they appear
engaged, interested in customers, empowered, responsive, and competent, the
corporate brand will tend to engender greater respect, liking, and, ultimately,
loyalty. What is involved is not so much what is done but the attitude and culture that drives those actions. The people of Avon, Four Seasons, and Home
Depot, for example, all have a distinct personality that helps to define the corporate brand. Of particular importance is the visible spokesperson—individuals
such as Bill Gates at Microsoft, Michael Dell at Dell, and Richard Branson at
Virgin—who will tend to represent and speak for the people of the corporation.
Values and Priorities
The very essence of a company is its values and priorities, what it considers important. What is it that will not be compromised no matter what? Where
is the investment made? A host of values and priorities, and combination
thereof, underlie business strategies. Some firms have a cost-driven culture that
supports a value position in the market place. Others place priority on delivering
a prestige customer experience. Innovation, quality, and customer concern are
three values and priorities worth highlighting because they are so frequently
seen as drivers of corporate brands.
Has the firm provided customer benefits by being innovative? A reputation for innovation enhances credibility. In particular, experimental studies have
shown that innovation has made the acceptance of new product offerings more
likely. However, it is not easy achieving an innovative reputation. In fact, most
firms (especially in Japan) aspire to be perceived as innovative but few really
break out of the clutter. R&D spending and a host of patents that do not result
in branded products and services will not enhance the brand. Innovation needs
to be relevant and visible. Sony has benefited from being able to capture its
innovation from a variety of categories within its corporate brand. Others, such
as Home Depot and Dell, have innovated in visible ways to bring products to
customers in different and superior ways.
Perceived Quality
Does the firm deliver on its brand promise with reliability? Is it perceived
to have quality that is high relative to its brand promise? Is it trustworthy? Does
it stand behind its offering? Perceived quality, which requires a commitment to
quality by the organization, has been shown to influence ROI and stock return.1
However, perceived quality is even more difficult to achieve than perceived
innovation. Delivering actual quality is not enough, perceptions need to be managed as well, which means that quality cues such as the thickness of the catsup,
the dress of the airline cabin attendants, or the appearance of a bank statement
need to be understood and actively managed.
Leveraging the Corporate Brand
Concern for Customers
Is the firm really concerned about customers? Does the firm care? Are
customers treated with respect? Is the customer experience a high priority?
Firms such as Nordstrom’s and Southwest Airlines have created significant
loyalty based on a visible, enthusiastic effort to please customers. Customer
concern is another value that nearly all firms aspire to have. They talk the good
talk. To gain the desired reputation, some visible, over-the-top programs (preferably branded programs) are often needed. Some legendary stories can also
help—such as how Nordstrom’s once took back a defective tire even though
they never sold tires or how a Federal Express employee once hired a helicopter
to maintain service quality.
Local vs. Global Orientation
A characteristic of the organization that can affect the customer relationship is whether the corporate brand has either a local or global orientation.
Although some corporate brands (notably Sony) attempt to do both, the more
feasible route is to position on one or the other.
Being local—striving to connect in tangible and intangible ways to the
local environment and customers—provides at least two benefits. First, it allows
customers to take pride in successful local companies and express that pride in
their purchasing patterns. It can be rewarding for an American to buy an American car or for a Kansas City native to bank with a firm intimately involved in the
community. Second, such firms can relate to the customer by providing a look
and feel and brand position that is attuned to the local culture. Lone Star Beer
is unambiguously a Texas beer and built its brand around that concept.
Being global—having global visibility, aspirations, and reach—has several
potential advantages. There is prestige attached to a brand that has made it globally. People everywhere are likely to recognize and respect the brand and, by
extension, the customer using that brand. Further, there is an implication that
if it is successful on a global stage, it must also deliver innovation and quality
products and services. One challenge is to reap the benefits of a global image
without appearing distant and bureaucratic.
Citizenship—Creating Good Company Vibes
What kind of people and values are behind this corporate brand? People
and organizations prefer to do business with those they respect and admire. Is
the organization “good people” with a perspective beyond a preoccupation of
enhancing shareholder value at all costs? Is the company concerned about the
employees, the community, education? Is it addressing social and environmental
problems? Companies such as HP and Johnson & Johnson have engendered
respect for their values that has resulted in positive attitudes and loyalty, even
during times in which their products were challenged.
A visible dimension of citizenship is concern about the environment.
Evidence from a UK study supports this, at least when the industry is visible
and the corporate brands are differentiated.2 Both Shell and BP developed an
Leveraging the Corporate Brand
environmentally friendly brand as part of their visible investment in renewable
energy sources. Esso, in contrast, took the principled position that renewable
energy was not a viable solution and, further, that the Kyoto Accords on the
environment were flawed and should be opposed. As a result, a high-profile
“StopEsso” campaign has been coordinated by Greenpeace. A subsequent poll
done by Greenpeace found that the proportion of British gasoline buyers why
say they regularly use Esso Stations dropped by 7% during the year of the
The citizenship dimension can be enhanced if it is packaged and branded.
The General Mills “Box Tops for Education” campaign, for example, has a logo
and a core program to give 10 cents for each redeemed boxtop coupon. It raised
$23 million in the 2002-2003 school year. Clorox has the “Safe Steps Home,” a
joint project with ASPCA to fight feline homelessness with programs such as the
“Adopt-A-Shelter-Cat” month.
Corporate Performance and Size
Is the firm successful? Is there a buzz around it? Is there vitality with
new products and new programs? Do the new products and services click with
the market by gaining visibility and word-of-mouth, or do they struggle? The
corporate brand performance of GE over the two decades during which Jack
Welch was CEO certainly affected the corporate brand and, by extension, the
GE brand. Success breeds confidence and positive attitudes whether it’s a football team or a corporation.
Does the organization behind the brand have substance and visibility?
The size and scope of a firm can signal both competence and staying power. Customers often sense that a large, successful firm will be around to provide service
back-up and will have an incentive to design and make good products and services. Of course, it could also be a signal for an organization that is bureaucratic,
slow, and expensive. The challenge is to make sure that the right spin is placed
on the brand by dialing up innovation and success, creating an image of being
dynamic and adaptive rather than one of being slow-moving and clumsy.
Why Leverage the Corporate Brand?
The corporate brand is special because it explicitly and unambiguously
represents an organization as well as a product. As a driver or endorser, it will
have a host of characteristics and programs that can help build the brand. It can
help differentiate, create branded energizers, provide credibility, facilitate brand
management, support internal brand-building, provide a basis for a relationship
to augment that of the product brand, support communication to broad company constituencies, and provide the ultimate branded house.
First, a corporate brand can potentially find differentiation in the organizational associations. While products and services tend to become similar over
time, organizations are inevitably very different. Wells Fargo is very different
from its competitor Bank of America in terms of style, personality, headquarters
Leveraging the Corporate Brand
location, skills, citizenship programs, and heritage. A person may be more comfortable with one organization over another, particularly if the products are similar. The challenge is to identify those organizational characteristics and make
them relevant to customers.
Second, a corporate brand can draw on organizational programs that
provide energy to product brands. Citizenship programs and major sponsorships
will usually span the organization and thus the corporate brand is in much better position to exploit these than product brands, whose link to them might be
weak. A corporate program is more effective and efficient than one that reaches
only one product class.
Third, corporate brand associations can also provide credibility. Attitude
research in psychology has shown that believability and persuasive power is
enhanced when a spokesperson is perceived as being trustworthy, well-liked,
and expert. These same characteristics are relevant when evaluating whether
a claim made by an organization is credible. A trustworthy organization will be
given the benefit of the doubt; an organization will be liked because of its citizenship activities; and an expert organization will be seen as especially competent in making and selling its products. Trust is a particularly important attribute
and it is easier to develop for an organization than for a product. One study
found that the number one attribute identified by consumers when asked to
describe the “best brands” is “the brand that I trust.”3
Fourth, leveraging the corporate brand across products and markets
makes brand management easier and more effective. Off-brand programs and
initiatives become more visible when the corporate brand is leveraged across the
Fifth, the translation of the corporate brand internally to employees must
be supported by the mission, goals, values, and culture of the organization. It is
important for employees to buy into organizational values and programs. The
corporate brand identity serves as the link between the organization and the
customer. Thus, it can play a key role in articulating these elements to employees, retailers, and others who must buy into the goals and values of the corporate brand and represent them to the customers. In the case of product brands,
there is no such supporting system.
Sixth, a corporate brand provides a message for the customer relationship
that can be very different from that of the product brand. This can be extremely
valuable for large, established brands that are perceived as reliable, high quality,
and respected but are also perceived as boring and dated. A solution is to employ
the organization brand to represent the heritage and allow the product brand to
inject energy. If the product brand involves a strong sub-brand, the sub-brand
can be the energy generator. However, if the product brand is the same as the
corporate brand (as it is for Virgin, Mitsubishi, and GE) then only a dual brand
conceptualization can achieve this.
The Budweiser brand, for example, has a rich heritage and is the market
leader within the beer category. The Budweiser corporate brand (not strictly
a corporate brand since Anheuser-Busch is the corporate brand) is assigned to
Leveraging the Corporate Brand
carry the heritage using such symbols as the Clydesdales and programs such
as the campaign against drunk driving and the beer school. The product brands,
Budweiser and Bud Light, are then freed to inject energy into the brand, find
new ways to be young and relevant and to break out of the media clutter with
very different brand building. Thus we have had the Lizards, Was-up, and other
colorful characters that appeared in extremely humorous and contemporary
advertising. Without the corporate brand presence, they would have much less
freedom to break out of the clutter.
Finally, a corporate brand provides the ultimate branded house and captures all the efficiencies of dialing up a single brand, even more so when descriptors are employed and the use of sub-brands is limited. In this case, the brand
will gain synergy and association reinforcement. Further, and more important,
limited brand-building resources will be less diluted when there is a single
mother brand. The branded house is always the preferred strategy when it is
Schlumberger, a leading oil-field services company, is one of many firms
that have dialed up the corporate brand and dialed down product sub-brands.
Over the years, Schlumberger acquired some firms delivering specialized oil field
services, each of which had extremely strong brands in their niche. The companies included Anadrill (a drilling services company), Dowell (oil well construction and stimulation), and GeoQuest (software and data management systems).
These brands became endorsed brands that continued to drive customer relationships after the acquisition and supported the traditions and cultures of the
micro-organizations within Schlumberger.
One motivation to coalesce focus around the Schlumberger brand concerned achieving efficiency and synergy. They wanted to focus the brand-building efforts to create more impact on a single brand. Within the oil field products,
there were too many mouths to feed from a brand-building perspective. Further,
the firm was in a position to leverage the Schlumberger name in other growth
areas outside of oil field services. However, the strategic direction of the firm
provided an even more compelling reason.
Schlumberger needed to change the way it operated and was perceived.
Schlumberger always stood for innovation and value creation for customers.
However, they wanted to add teamwork to the brand, to be perceived as more
of a team-oriented firm—working more closely across business units and with
customers to provide integrated solutions. At it was, they were not getting the
synergy needed and expected from the strong organizations they had acquired
and their customer image was affected. The focus on a corporate brand was one
way to signal the new direction, both inside and outside the firm, that there
would be one entity implementing the values and programs of Schlumberger.
The brand strategy aspect of the new Schlumberger involved moving the
Schlumberger brand as the new driver brand with descriptive sub-brands indicating the business units. The heritage business became Schlumberger Oilfield
Services, which now included:
Schlumberger Data Delivery
Leveraging the Corporate Brand
Schlumberger Geology
Schlumberger Geophysics
Schlumberger Oilfield Software
Schlumberger Well Construction
Schlumberger Well Completion
Schlumberger Retrophysics—Formation Evaluation
Schlumberger Wireline Services
The former business brands such as GeoQuest now appear as product
brands where appropriate, but the attention is now without question centered
on Schlumberger. Dialing up the corporate brand symbolized to the customers
and employees alike that the firm is one entity that will be implementing the
values and programs.
There is another reason to leverage the corporate brand. Creating a strong
corporate brand communicates better to stakeholders, such as prospective employees, retailers, and investors. Being familiar with a brand provides comfort.
One study showed that institutional investors based 35% of their judgment on
intangible factors such as management quality, effectiveness of new product
development, and strength of market position.4 Communicating such information in the absence of a strong corporate brand is very difficult.
Challenges in Managing the Corporate Brand
The corporate brand is indeed a powerful option to lead the charge. The
use of some sub-brands and endorsed brands can help handle situations where
the corporate brand is stretched. However, there are serous challenges to face—
staying relevant, creating value propositions, managing negative associations,
adapting the corporate brand to different contexts, and making the corporate
brand identity happen.
Maintaining Relevance
What business is the firm in? What product scope is associated with the
firm? In what product arenas does it have credibility? For what problems is the
brand a solution? The brand boundaries, which directly affect the relevance of
the brand and its potential to extend into new product-markets, depend on the
brand’s heritage and business strategy.
The heritage business associated with a brand will affect its effort to
adapt. Changing a corporate brand is like turning a large ocean liner—it will
turn slowly and require a lot of energy doing so. The difficulties that Xerox and
Kodak have had rest in part on their strong associations with copiers and filmbased cameras. In both cases, they have struggled to enter the broader world in
which digital imaging systems are dominant. Clorox faces another kind of limitation because of its close association with bleach and thus its corporate brand
cannot be linked to any of the food products made by Clorox. As a result, its role
as a corporate brand is limited.
Leveraging the Corporate Brand
Relevance is also determined by the business strategy. When it evolves
or changes, the corporate brand itself needs to be altered, and accomplishing
that task usually represents a significant challenge. UPS expanded from products
to services and from being perceived as a U.S.-based, small-package ground
delivery company to a global provider of distribution, logistics, and financial
services. Toward that end, new services and programs served to provide substance and branded differentiators behind the new UPS. IBM evolved being an
“e-business” company to “on demand,” a concept that computer resources
should be available to the user on demand and not stay idle when not being
used. Some additional examples are:
Hitachi—In late 1999, unsatisfactory financial performance stimulated a
rebranding of Hitachi. Whereas the future of the company was based on
its computers and information electronics, its image was based upon a
perception that it was largely an appliance and heavy machinery company. A program to change that was led by the tag line, “Inspire the
Sony—Sony has long been a leading electronics brand. Less known is the
fact that it is one of the leading movie (Columbia Pictures, Screen Gems,
Sony Classics) and music (Sony Music) producers. Sony’s challenge was
to expand its brand to include movies, music, and games as well as electronics so that the Sony brand became more relevant and powerful.
Creating Value Propositions
Too many corporate brands have no value proposition. They are simply
large, stable firms that can be trusted to deliver adequate products and services,
but with no point of distinction and sometimes with a hint of being bureaucratic
and ponderous. Such a corporate brand is vulnerable. A strong corporate brand
is one that will provide a value proposition that will help differentiate and support a customer relationship.
A corporate brand will work best when it delivers a functional benefit.
The benefit could be based on its strategy. Dell, with its direct model, generated
explicit benefits that included customization and access to the latest technology.
UPS, with its focus on service and systems, provided a value to anyone that
needed to improve or outsource part of its logistics. It can also be based on
other elements of the corporate brand, such as its values. Nordstrom’s concern
for its customers provides a functional benefit to shoppers, who can be assured
of a good experience. A firm with a reputation for high product quality provides
an assurance against unpleasant customer experiences.
A corporate brand can also deliver emotional or self-expressive benefits.
The local connection by a bank can generate both emotional benefits from the
experience and self-expressive benefits gained by supported the local business.
The purchase of an American-made Saturn has been shown to deliver significant
self-expressive benefits both because it is made in America and also because of
the employee’s commitment to customers is admired. Citizenship programs—
such as the political activism of Ben & Jerry’s, the breast cancer campaign of
Leveraging the Corporate Brand
Avon, and environmental effort of Toyota’s hybrid cars—can all provide selfexpressive benefits.
Avoiding Visible Negatives
The risk of leveraging the corporate brand is that the resulting brand
equity and the businesses on which it rests is vulnerable to visible negatives.
Thus, the water source contamination that Perrier faced, the Exxon Valdez
oil spill, the cigarette health problem connected to Phillip Morris, the Firestone
tire crises, and the firms’ responses affect the corporate brands. If the corporate
brand is highly leveraged— as it is at Dell, Virgin, and Toshiba—then the whole
organization needs to be sensitive to this risk in all of its decisions and actions.
When a controversy arises that endangers the brand, the accepted best
practice when possible is to admit wrongdoing or at least admit there is a problem and immediately provide a visible fix. Having a strong citizenship brand
can be very helpful in such a crisis. In the now classic case, when faced with the
package tampering of its Tylenol brand, Johnson & Johnson immediately pulled
the affected products and designed a tamper-proof package. The positive impact
of this action has lingered for well over two decades.
Managing the Brand in Different Contexts
A corporate brand may be involved in a host of product brands consisting
of the corporate brand plus a descriptor or a sub-brand. The GE brand needs to
fight the fight in jet engines, appliances, and financial services. How can one
brand, particularly a corporate brand, accomplish such multi-tasking? The
answer is that the brand identity needs to be adapted to each context so it can
win the day. This process is often not easy, however, because conflicting perspectives are involved.
There can and should be consistency across contexts. Much the core and
extended identity should work everywhere. Some items might be the same but
need to have a different spin to work for a particular product or market. Innovation at GE Appliance needs to be interpreted differently than innovation in GE
Capital. If that is not enough, it might be necessary to augment the identity for
a context. Perhaps GE Jet Engines have a technology dimension not seen in the
other GE business units.
Making the Corporate Brand Identity Emerge
The corporate brand will start with an image but will want to move that
image toward a brand identity, a set of aspirational associations for the corporate
brand to perform its assigned roles. For this to happen, the brand identity needs
to be developed. The process for doing this involves setting priorities. Which of
the aspirational associations are the most important in the short term and should
be the basis of a positioning strategy, and which will be the most important in
the long term and should guide strategic initiatives? The answers will depend in
part on questions such as:
Leveraging the Corporate Brand
What can the corporation deliver? What will be credible given current
perceptions and given the ability and motivation to actually develop and
deliver meaningful programs?
What will resonate with customers?
What will support the business strategy and the roles that the corporate
brand will be asked to play?
The identity and position of the corporate brand needs to be actively
managed. For some firms, the corporate brand is somewhat of an orphan
because the brand-building activities are not linked to short-term sales nor do
they have a natural budget source from an active business unit. One suggestion
is to establish responsibility for the corporate brand, provide resources to make
sure that the brand can fulfill its assigned roles, and create a portfolio that
Leveraging the Corporate Brand
FIGURE 1. The Corporate Brand: Challenges and Potential Impact
Corporate Brand
• Heritage
• Assets/ Capabilities
• People
• Values/Priorities
• Local/Global
• Citizenship
• Performance
• Maintaining Relevance
• Creating Value Positions
• AvoidingVisible Negatives
• Managing the Brand across Contexts
• Making the Brand Identity Emerge
Potential Impact
• Organizationally Based Differentiation
• Corporate Programs as Branded Energizers
• Credibility—Liking, Expertise,Trust
• More Effective Management of the Brand
• Support for Internal Brand Building
• Provides a Message to Supplement the
Product Brand
• Support for Communication to Audiences
such as Investors, Prospective Employees,
Political Leaders
• Provide the Ultimate Branded House
includes coordinating the brand with those that are using the brand in its various roles.
The corporate brand will be based on substance. There needs to be commitment and programs to make sure that the brand delivers on innovation,
customer concerns, or any other priorities. It is wasteful to attempt to present
the brand as something it is not or to portray the organization as attempting
to accomplish a goal that it lacks the ability or will to make happen. However,
developing and delivering on strategic imperatives is not easy for any firm,
especially when it faces economic strains.
Creating substance behind the brand is not enough, of course; the firm
must also make sure that the perceptions match the promise being delivered.
Toward that end, each target association will require an actively managed communication program.
Communicating an expanded scope or revised thrust can benefit from
employing all the assets in the brand portfolio. What extent do sub-brands affect
the corporate brand? Which sub-brands, if any, can play the role of providing
visibility and support to the corporate brand? What brand-building events can
help? One software company generated nearly instant credibility as a major
player in Europe by sponsoring one of the leading bicycle-racing teams.
When to Leverage the Corporate Brand
The corporate brand is the ultimate branded house and has all the advantages of any branded house, plus the fact that it represents an organization. In
contexts involving service, such as retailing (Sears or Land’s End) or financial
services (CitiGroup or Chase), corporate brands in driver roles will often be compelling. In these settings, organizational associations such as concern for customer service, being friendly, and being efficient are more likely to be the basis
for customer loyalty. Customers will be more likely to relate to the people and
programs of an organization rather than to its products.
However, the corporate brand is not always well suited for being a product master brand with a driver role. In general, when the corporate brand has
difficulty dealing with any of the challenges, its leverage potential will be limited
and other brand platforms will be needed. A realistic appraisal of the brand with
respect to its ability to cope with the challenges is in order. For example:
When the brand is too confining because of its product category associations, then its role will be limited. The Clorox corporate brand, for example, is confined to cleaning products and certainly can’t be associated with
the company’s food product brands, such as Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing and KC Masterpiece sauces and marinades.
When the corporate brand lacks a relevant value proposition (and thus its
equity basically rests on being large and established), a strong sub-brand
or endorsed brand or even a new brand might be needed. Dell and UPS
Leveraging the Corporate Brand
have such a value proposition embedded in their brand, but many corporate brands are not so blessed.
When the brands has negative associations, there is no point in trying to
leverage it—at least until the negative associations are changed. Bridgestone dialed down the Firestone brand in the wake of the rash of Ford
Explorer accidents attributed by some to Firestone and dialed up the
Bridgestone product brand.
There is a context in which the corporate brand’s equity and value proposition simply do not apply or become a liability, and therefore other
brands might be needed.
If the corporate brand identity will be a great asset, but it simply is not
there yet, there may be a credibility problem in relying on the corporate
brand to play a product brand driver role prematurely.
1. David A. Aaker and Robert Jacobson, “The Strategic Role of Product Quality,” Journal of
Marketing, 51/4 (October 1987): 31-44; David A. Aaker and Robert Jacobson “The Financial
Information Content of Perceived Quality,” Journal of Marketing Research, 31/2 (May 1994):
191-201; David A. Aaker and Robert Jacobson, “The Value Relevance of Brand Attitude in
High-Technology Markets,” Journal of Marketing Research, 38/4 (November 2001): 485-493.
2. “Esso—Should the Tiger Change its Stripes?” Reputation Impact, October 2002, p. 16.
3. Ed Keller, “To Regain Trust, Faking Won’t Do,” Advertising Age, February 24, 2003, p. 28.
4. Pamela Kalafut, Jonathan Low, and Jonathan Robinson, Measures that Matter (New York, NY:
Ernst & Young, 1997).
Leveraging the Corporate Brand
Kevin Lane Keller
Tuck School of Business
Dartmouth College
Customer-Based Brand Equity
 “The differential effect that brand knowledge has
on consumer response to the marketing of that
Keller, 1993
Customer-Based Brand Equity
 Differential effect
 Differences in consumer response
 Brand knowledge
 A result of consumers’ knowledge about the brand
 Consumer response to marketing
 Choice of a brand
 Recall of copy points from an ad
 Response to a sales promotion
 Evaluations of a proposed brand extension
Brand Equity as a “Bridge”
 Reflection of past investments in the marketing of
a brand
 Direction for future marketing actions or
Making a Brand Strong:
Brand Knowledge
 Brand knowledge is the key to creating brand
 Brand knowledge consists of a brand node in
memory with a variety of associations linked to
 Brand knowledge has two components: brand
awareness and brand image.
Sources of Brand Equity
 Brand awareness
 Brand recognition
 Brand recall
 Brand image
 Strong, favorable, and unique brand associations
Brand Awareness Advantages
 Learning advantages
 Register the brand in the minds of consumers
 Consideration advantages
 Likelihood that the brand will be a member of the
consideration set
 Choice advantages
 Affect choices among brands in the consideration
Establishing Brand Awareness
 Increasing the familiarity of the brand through
repeated exposure (for brand recognition)
 Forging strong associations with the appropriate
product category or other relevant purchase or
consumption cues (for brand recall)
Creating a Positive Brand Image
 Brand Associations
 Does not matter which source of brand association
 Need to be favorable, strong, and unique
 Marketers should recognize the influence of these
other sources of information by both managing them
as well as possible and by adequately accounting for
them in designing communication strategies.
The Four Steps of Brand Building
1. Ensure identification of the brand with customers and
an association of the brand in customers’ minds
2. Establish the totality of brand meaning in the minds of
3. Elicit the proper customer responses to the brand
identification and brand meaning
4. Convert brand response to create an intense, active
loyalty relationship between customers and the brand
Four Questions Customers ask of Brands
1. Who are you? (brand identity)
2. What are you? (brand meaning)
3. What about you? What do I think or feel about
you? (brand responses)
4. What about you and me? What kind of
association and how much of a connection
would I like to have with you? (brand
Customer-Based Brand Equity Pyramid


What about you and me?
What about you?
What are you?
Who are you?
Sub-Dimensions of CBBE Pyramid



Salience Dimensions
 Depth of brand awareness
 Ease of recognition and recall
 Strength and clarity of category membership
 Breadth of brand awareness
 Purchase consideration
 Consumption consideration
Depth and Breadth Importance
 The product category hierarchy shows us not
only the depth of awareness matters but also the
 The brand must not only be top-of-mind and have
sufficient “mind share,” but it must also do so at
the right times and places.
Product Category Structure
 To fully understand brand recall, we need to
appreciate product category structure, or how
product categories are organized in memory.
Performance Dimensions
 Primary characteristics and supplementary features
 Product reliability, durability, and serviceability
 Service effectiveness, efficiency, and empathy
 Style and design
 Price
Imagery Dimensions
 User profiles
 Demographic and psychographic characteristics
 Actual or aspirational
 Group perceptions—popularity
 Purchase and usage situations
 Type of channel, specific stores, ease of purchase
 Time (day, week, month, year, etc.), location, and context of usage
 Personality and values
 Sincerity, excitement, competence, sophistication, and ruggedness
 History, heritage, and experiences
 Nostalgia
 Memories
Judgment Dimensions
 Brand quality
 Value
 Satisfaction
 Brand credibility
 Expertise
 Trustworthiness
 Likeability
 Brand consideration
 Relevance
 Brand superiority
 Differentiation
Feelings Dimensions
 Warmth
 Fun
 Excitement
 Security
 Social Approval
 Self-respect
Resonance Dimensions
 Behavioral loyalty
 Frequency and amount of repeat purchases
 Attitudinal attachment
 Love brand (favorite possessions; “a little pleasure”)
 Proud of brand
 Sense of community
 Kinship
 Affiliation
 Active engagement
 Seek information
 Join club
 Visit website, chat rooms
Customer-Based Brand Equity Model
Brand Salience


Identify the Key Drivers of Brand Equity
0.17 0.66
Imagery Feelings
Brand Building Implications
 Customers own brands.
 Don’t take shortcuts with brands.
 Brands should have a duality.
 Brands should have richness.
 Brand resonance provides important focus.
Creating Customer Value
 Customer-brand relationships are the
foundation of brand resonance and building a
strong brand.
 The customer-based brand equity model
certainly puts that notion front and center.
Is a company consumer-centric?
1. Is the company looking for ways to take care of
2. Does the company know its customers well
enough to differentiate between them?
3. Is someone accountable for customers?
4. Is the company managed for shareholder value?
5. Is the company testing new customer offers and
learning from the results?
Sources: Larry Selden and Geoffrey Colvin, 2004.
Customer Relationship Management
 Uses a company’s data systems and applications
to track consumer activity and manage customer
interactions with the company
Customer Equity
 Blattberg and Deighton (1996) offer eight guidelines as a means
of maximizing customer equity:
 Invest in highest-value customers first
 Transform product management into customer management
 Consider how add-on sales and cross-selling can increase customer equity
 Look for ways to reduce acquisition costs
 Track customer equity gains and losses against marketing programs
 Relate branding to customer equity
 Monitor the intrinsic retainability of your customer
 Consider writing separate marketing plans—or even building two
marketing organizations—for acquisition and retention efforts
Customer Equity
 The sum of lifetime values of all customers
 Customer lifetime value (CLV) is affected by
revenue and by the cost of customer acquisition,
retention, and cross-selling
 Consists of three components:
 Value equity
 Brand equity
 Relationship equity
Rust, Zeithamal & Lemon, 2004
Relationship of Customer Equity to
Brand Equity
 Customers drive the success of brands but
brands are the necessary touchpoint that firms
have to connect with their customers.
 Customer-based brand equity maintains that
brands create value by eliciting differential
customer response to marketing activities.
 The higher price premiums and increased levels
of loyalty engendered by brands generate
incremental cash flows.

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