Page 2: The importance of brand
We usually associate the term ‘brand’ with a product that has a unique, consistent and well-recognised character eg Coca-Cola, MG, Weetabix. These brands conjure up images in the minds of consumers. Large organisations work hard to raise the power and status of their brands and guard them carefully against unlicensed use or unfair imitation.
A brand usually carries a logo or trade mark by which it is recognised. Many shoppers can easily identify a Heinz can or a Kellogg’s packet, for example, and it is the brand which is drawing them towards the product. Developing a corporate brand is important because a positive brand image will give consumers, and other interested stakeholders, confidence about the full range of products and activities associated with a particular company.
The product range and service package associated with a company must fit with the corporate brand. This fit will come through product quality and performance, as well as in the consistency of advertising and packaging, and in customer service. Company image is not confined to product branding. All of the organisation’s activities need to be carried outand presented in a consistent and desirable way. This will help to create a strong positive image of the company.
‘Image’ is an amalgam of an individual’s personal experience of a company or product, plus whatever he or she has read or heard from other sources. Advertising can help create or re-shape an image, but personal experience and the comments of other users represent the reality behind the image and, as such, are even more powerful. Organisations therefore need to work very hard to create brand identities which are not only visible in terms of products, logos, company uniforms etc, but which are also built into practical actions of the company and its workforce eg how the company handles and responds to complaints and to crises.