Kellogg on Branding: The Marketing Faculty of the Kellogg School of Management

Philip Kotler Also available in audiobook: Download our app for free listening.

Regardless of your attitude toward marketing, the traditional way of doing it is going down in history as ineffective and costly. Mass advertising is starting to get the label off, and embrace a full-scale transition that is more cost-effective for the digital age.

Top managers indicate that in order to create quality strategies at scale, you must neglect the pretentious and conventional marketing method. The Kellogg School of Management focuses on research and incentivizes craftiness to produce individuals who can later develop into real linchpins in the top global companies.

Without further delay, let’s delve into the essence of this brand-building hypothesis.

Design, Build and Understand Branding

The central premise of this eye-opening book revolves around the concept of revolutionizing the marketplace. As it turns out, any brand should bring its ideas into line with consumers’ preferences and demands.

As a token of determination and diligence to succeed in an overly competitive market, the business must answer three critical questions:

  • Who should we target?

  • What goal does the product/service allow them to achieve?

  • Why should someone prefer our brand over other businesses that offer comparable deliverables?

If you want to rise to the occasion and showcase your skills, there are plenty of aspects that you must take into consideration.

Sidestepping the frame of reference and not integrating it into the point of difference can prove to be costly! As an overlooked element, it helps businesses to hatch a plan on how to help the consumers satisfy their cravings and accomplish their objectives.

These two processes combined underpins the vision of building a sustainable brand by utilizing fortification or other methods. Through leveraging industry’s best practices, any brand can achieve better positioning and instigate entry barriers.

In these circumstances, the brand design comes to the fore as one of the key elements in the categorization of products. To get the big picture, the process is subdivided into 5 equally essential steps:

  • Step 1: Understand that branding is nothing but a concept that incites the categorization of products.
  • Step 2: Label a few categories that will grease the wheels of the brand concept when used by consumers.
  • Step 3: Don’t forget to pay exclusive attention to all the elements in the design process. Top your competitors by including product category name, logo, brand name, visual illustrations, symbols, verbal lexicon, etc.
  • Step 4: Assess the effectiveness of each and every design, and consider adding alternatives.  
  • Step 5: In an impartial manner, try to determine whether the brand concept applies to the features contained in the products.

Generally speaking, in the digital age, there’s no clear distinction between market behavior and human behavior. That’s why the author implies that only astute managers who are geared up with the right mindset understand the social, political and ethical attributes integrated into branding.

How to Build and Leverage Your Brand

For the sake of creating ironclad strategies, successful brands try to influence the learning process. These concepts have a central feature in the newly established mechanism also known as “the buyer learning”. Without paying too much attention to the status of these entries, top-notch brands unleash the same level of proficiency from pioneers to late entrants.

Evidently, the pioneers absorb the role of masters because they can shape the categories, create their own unique brand or even impel their competitors to back down. Despite the early advantage, pioneers may face challenges down the road.

Late entrants can seize the moment by fully exploiting their rigidness in terms of implementation, to the degree that the learning process can be modified from scratch. Relying on one product category can be a recipe for disaster.

Brands that allocate both time and energy on the continuous expansion are inclined to broaden their network. To get a bird’s eye view of the thesis presented here, you need to parse three guidelines prior to committing to “brand evolution.”

  • Take one step at the time
  • Help consumers to understand the brand expansion
  • Evaluate the effects of expansionism on the parent brand

Building one strong brand is just part of the story. Setting the basis for successfully managing a portfolio of brands is an entirely different level. In other words, getting good results springs from a formidable portfolio of brands not from single branding procedures.

Brand Advertising and Relationship Branding

Apparently, not even the most exceptional product can reach its peak without marketing efforts to back it up! By all means, effective advertising consists of relevancy and utilizing the right channels. The perfect copy must incorporate humor, as a way of advocating for a conversational engagement.

This will give you the upper hand to forge a strong bond with the other side by emphasizing the common interests that the brand and consumers have. Trying to get emotional is yet another “tool” at your disposal.

To put it differently, you must evoke excitement and passion in order to stimulate feedback. What these individuals know about the brand serves only as an entry point to engage with them, and solicit their views.

Managing relationships with the target audience is often seen as a symbol of mass customization. With no intention to add fuel to the fire, it’s needless to say that most brands out there are mass-orientated. Steps in, CRM!

Customer Relationships Management stands as a bulwark against mass-marketing and embodies each interaction between the company and the customer. As a highly accessible way of handling various preferences, it leans on data to anticipate potential twists in the process.

The subsegment processes of CRM are as follows:

  1. Develop and identify subsegments
  2. Put a weight on each subsegment by associating it with a goal
  3. Design contacts and devise an implementation strategy
  4. Evaluate the outcome

In the middle of the journey, a brand must vouch for the services rendered, and tackle the inept handling of the challenges to gain a competitive advantage. Whereas understanding the engrained desires of the customers becomes an everyday obsession for the brand.

Brand Driven Organization Through Services Branding

Customer expectations must be met by sharing valuable information, and in doing so, the business becomes a branding-machinery. Keeping them abreast of all changes is a good way of monitoring their reactions regarding the product/service offered.

Prior to conquering the world with a brand-new idea, one must opt for building a product or launching a service. The disparity between these two separate elements must be taken into account by understanding the following undeniable truths:

  • The intangibility of the services
  • Services are not a disposable commodity but a process
  • Their heterogeneity nature

It comes as no surprise that internal branding also deserves a place on the high table with the other execution strategies. The code of conduct endorsed on an organizational level can make or break the company, therefore, it’s vital to opt for full-scale integration.

The author cannot emphasize enough the importance of conducting strategic employee-assimilation. Hence, it’s pretty straightforward to identify the first-class brand assimilation programs. With the segmentation taken care of, the author presents the three-phase structure:

  • Phase 1: Strategic Development
  • Phase 2: Foundation Building
  • Phase 3: Implementation

In reality, many things can deflate the morale of the employees and even endanger the successiveness of the internal branding programs. Embedding the procedure in the broadcast is one of the biggest culprits but not the only one.

Having the same set of resources allocated for both external and internal branding can aggravate the problem even further. Also, seductive ads and messages used on both fronts can put the cohesion into question.

To sum up, branding services can be backbreaking work, metaphorically speaking, but it’s not impossible to do it successfully.

The Key to Building a Megabrand

Going from zero to hero is not a piece of cake. Nonetheless, in a race against time, NetZero managed to come out on top by adapting while sustaining the core of the brand. It all happened in just 5 short years! The internet marketing landscape had no other choice but to praise this newly formed company which blazed a trail for others to follow.

Another key element to success is unquestionably the frame of reference. Neglecting and underestimating its effects can cost you dearly. Brilliant marketers are aware of the power emerging from the frame of reference and pay heed to its features to improve brand positioning.

The author singles out yet another critical element to brand-domination – Name. It may seem a little out of the blue, but finding something that will stand out as being memorable and unique can give you the edge.

How to know which name would be suitable?

The author claims: A brand name must be able to stand the test of time! Do we need to say more? The more iconic, the more value it generates for the business as a whole.

Having the wind at your back gives new impetus for going global. However, before embarking on such a journey, you must assess the consistency of the brand by analyzing the pricing, distribution and positioning on the local markets.

In addition, bear in mind that the pricing strategies must be in tune with the local competitors and the demand. Don’t even think about creating a global system, while totally disregarding the price elasticity.

This leads us to the next revelation that every brand must give the impression of purposefulness for each market segment.

Final Notes

Even if you have the means to chew everything down to the last bone, the hardest step will always be to move on after a setback. Building a brand and market authority requires ingenuity and mostly sacrifice on behalf of all people incorporated in the process.

Launching the brand and executing post-launch strategies can be more comfortable if bad policies do not obstruct the internal branding programs. You should expand your portfolio, think globally but act locally!

12min Tip 

Don’t be afraid to take control of the brand building structure. See what works before making up your mind!

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