Page 1: Introduction
Few consumers buy products at random. This is particularly true for durable products, such as washing machines, freezers and cars, which are likely to be kept for a long time. Branding is a form of product differentiation which quickly and effectively communicates a lot about a product and helps reduce the random nature of product selection by the consumer. A brand comprises a range of features which identify the products of a particular organisation. This could be a name, sign, term, symbol or other creative element.
Branding helps consumers to identify closely with products which satisfy their needs and provides them with a deeper understanding of the qualities and characteristics associated with the product. In terms of their perceptions, branding provides consumers with a clearer picture of what the product offers.
The success and popularity of brands change with time. Over different periods and for different reasons, some brands become more popular and have a better image than others. With an increasing number of well-differentiated brands in today’s market-place, it is important for organisations to evaluate the distinctive qualities of their brands and use these qualities to develop each brand’s success.
Skoda is an example of a brand whose popularity has gone up and down like a roller-coaster in its 100 year history. From the heady days of the 1920s, when it produced the Hispano-Suiza - the Rolls-Royce of cars in those days - to its lowest point of communist domination, and in the UK where the brand suffered the darker side of British humour.
As the strength of many other brands in the motor industry increased, the Skoda brand became weaker - representing outdated and negative brand perceptions. Today, however, this is no longer the case; the brand is enjoying a renaissance.