Brand influence

Brands can influence its owner’s assets and earnings, assessment by investors and the share value in stock market. Great brands may have higher intangible value than the physical assets. Brands are also valued by the knowhow, technology, resources, agreement, patents, distribution, widespread reach or global appeal.

Hundreds of long established brands worldwide have disappeared from market, due to their spectacular betrayal of trust with their consumers.

With development, many brands are finding it difficult to please the most discriminating customers. The brand owners have to continuously find ways and means for rebranding, innovations at all stages, to keep the consumer’s commitment, enthusiasm and experience.

In service industry, apart from its promises and delivery, most important factor is, the employees, at all stages, to provide distinctive and memorable experience. Continuous staff training plays a very important role in this category’s brand management. Satisfied, energetic, excited employees support brand commitment to the customers. Employee’s business and social skills, their relationship building, helps to sustain the loyalty and engagement.

It is important for brand owners to; a) protect their brands by registering the trademarks, in all the countries where they want to launch. b) respect, recognize and honor all the stake holders, whoever they are. c) recognize the brand as the single, most important investment, and not a cost. Build your brand, your most important financial asset, understand and utilize its full potential.

Brand Power

Brands are known for their role in creating an indelible impression, intrinsically striking power with the consumer.

16th century and before, branding was a sign of burning the livestock skin with heated iron, for identification among cattle farmers and traders. Branding was being done by thumbprint or symbol, on wet clay, for the potter’s trademark identity.

In 17th and 18th century, logos were embossed or printed upon fine porcelain, furniture, tapestries, gold and silver objects, to indicate their origin or quality. ‘Red triangle’ was the first known trademark registration in 1876 in UK.

In 19th century, branding was being done for several objects; appliances, instruments, machines, beverages, food products, toiletries, insurance services, photography, FMCGs, tourism, all kinds of products and services. Among first branding agencies known were JWT, NW Ayer.

With introduction of mass communication, improved transportation, telecom, broadcasting systems, internet etc, power of brands was controlling the world economies.

A brand become distinct by its name, type face or font, graphics, visual distinctiveness, color (s), symbol, numbers, signature, shape, packaging, smell, advertising jingles, tagline or slogan. All these elements should maintain consistency, combination of harmony. But most important factor remains, is the name. With time, its possible to change everything but the name continues constant, like the northern star ‘Caesar’.

Only under extreme, rare situations, a brand name can be changed. In some countries language,  a name can mean donkey, stupid or an abuse, therefore the name should change, whereas all other features should remain same. Name can also be changed, if ownership changes or collaborations done.

A brand symbolizes it’s owner’s promise to fulfill its customer’s expectations, whatever features added or deleted to its subtitles.

 

Your brand should always outshine competition

If your buyer does not perceive your brand value, whatever you have done to build it, is a waste. All strong brands should be visibly different, to attract buyers at the display

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shelf, engage them, forcing to pick, feel, experience and buy.

All humans are attracted, influenced, by beauty and elegance. Among the stimulants, touch, hear, taste, smell and sight, most important is viewing. That is why visually attractive websites draw more viewers, to engage. Content, though equally important, comes later.

Manage your brand like your other physical assets, carefully selecting the ideas, feelings, to enable it inspire the buyers. You must decode your branding design as a concept and tool to achieve your brand purpose, perspective, balance, positioning, protocol and the property.

All consumers have a habit of doing things repeatedly, subconsciously or consciously, resulting in their taste, preference, habits, behavior and personality, as if they are building their property. This ultimately leads to be recognized as their identity and equity. The essence of these thus,  becomes its proprietary.

Effective branding strategy is to decide to underplay, phase-out its weak property and to build a strong one. You must occasionally do brand mapping, to clearly sell out what your brand should or shouldn’t do, to enhance and interpret its property.

Importance of sales persons in any organization.

Motto of a sales person is: ‘selling is living’. Nothing happens in the world unless somebody sells something. Even Taj Mahal requires selling, as tourists have choices to visit many places.

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In today’s times of internet, exceptional sales persons are not enough to drive sales, unlike old times, when they were the most important link between a company and the consumer. They used to select prospects, make calls, chase opportunities to bring sales. They had all the talent, were regarded with respect in society and career. In modern times talent is not enough. It’s the market which dictates what to buy. Marketplace should have proactive customers, competitive choices, buying capacity and offers or promotions or give aways. Market conditions should also be favorable, to influence sales potential.
A Turkey can always fly in a hurricane. Ups and downs of economy are in nobody’s hands, but a good sales person can find ways and means to ride the waves of market and bring revenues.
Most important parts of a vehicle to run, are its tires. You can’t get speed, however hard you press the accelerator, on weak tires. So is importance of sales persons, for any organization. If motivated enough, they can create sales opportunities, from nowhere.

What is personal brand?

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Everything in world can be branded; sludge drifts, stone, river, monument, forest, city or country. Then why not the person? By self branding a person can get better recognisation, image, impression and value to help him in career or business. But he has to do consistent effort to package himself and do the required marketing.

Personal branding is a continuous process to maintain perception in minds and hearts of target audience. Film stars endorse only the brands associated with their image. Similarly TV news readers, builders, doctors, architects or lawyers are known for recall of a particular feature. Donald Trump used his name with his buildings and real estate. In India cricket and film celebrities use their image to enhance value of real estate.

Personal branding is self positioning of an individual to benefit him or his organization. Due to growth of internet, identity of an individual can be created online which may be true or false, as most viewers or readers may not know the real person. Celebrities, politicians, personal coaches, gym instructors, food bloggers, fashion critics use social media presence, likes, sharing, tagging, fan following to gain popularity and revenue. Best example of personal branding success is Narendra Modi and the worst, Rahul Gandhi.

Your brand is the way society or social media perceives you. In digital age personal branding is more important than ever before, as its authenticity can be verified by Google search. Name website helps. Every updated status, post, tweet, connections, school, college, alumni activities, colleagues, friends, employers, job position, everything contributes to your brand

Consistency of crafting and shaping supports the person. Like products or services, people too have USP. Skills, talents, attributes, strengths builds your brand in person, on paper (your profile) or online. This process develops your mark. Video CV can do it fast. Corporate then seek and pay you for your knowledge, reputation and expertise.

Personal branding can be described as the links to your value preposition, strong message by which your target audience differentiate and audits your value, personal attributes and passions. You should do your introspection to isolate and elevate yourself among your peers by clearly communication your specialty.

Personal branding therefore is ; a) clear communication of unique promises of the value you offer b) revolution of the method by which you manage your business or career c) identifying what makes you unique, relevant, compelling d) your capability in using your image to meet your goals. Benefits of personal branding are better resilience, wealth creation, self respect, control, power, differentiation, visibility, clarity.

Franchising success formula

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After several years of experience in franchising, I strongly believe that only the people with right expectations, balance minds, temperaments and high ambitions should enter into this business.

Franchising requires spare money to invest, besides very strong motivation. It does not come packaged in a secured box. One has to struggle daily, do everything right, to explore and engage more customers, increase business volumes and save on expenditure wherever possible.

A franchisor should choose his partners very, very carefully, to strengthen his network, to archive long term goals. The contract always favors the franchisor, and why not, its his vision and years of labor which creates his brand and invites investors to buy in his business. But the terms should be simple, straight forward, transparent, win-win for both. After all the investor is contributing his hard earned money and trust in a new business. When contract is signed it becomes 100% responsibility of franchisor to ensure that his partner becomes expert in all intricacies of the business systems and procedures for his fast ROI.

Franchisor must discourage those he does not find with right skills or temperament and should not look for financial strength only. In franchising there is no place for false ego or pride. This is a system where everyone from top guy to the frontline sales person, should be courteous, humble and strictly follow the company norms.

What is retailing?

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The definition: ‘commercial transaction in which a buyer intends to consume the good or service for personal, family or household use.’

Oxford dictionary : ‘The sale of goods to the public in relatively small quantities for use or consumption rather than for resale’.

Retailing involves selling of products and services to end users at homes, work places, for personal or group usage. All types of markets, shops, malls, departmental stores, kiosks, vending machines, tele marketing companies, mail order catalogs, door to door sellers, fairs, cooperatives, insurance companies, post offices, banks, spas, physicians, courier companies, portals, come in this category. Retailers are the most important link for delivery of goods from manufacturer to distributor to consumer, through supply chain.

Retailers have the responsibility of explaining the features and advantages of products or services to the customer. They are required to have complete knowledge of products, prices, merchandising, display, competition, storage, packaging, billing and above all, their customers. They are a community who know their market and the psychology of their buyers very well. They may not be technically qualified or highly educated, but they have the expertise of many years in dealing directly with the customer.

World’s largest retail market is in USA, employing 30% manpower, directly or indirectly. Worldwide, retail attracts 11% of all new jobs, more than manufacturing or any other sector.

Walmart & Mc Donald are among the top companies which have revolutionized the way people shop or eat. These 2 companies alone have contributed a lot in making USA, a super power. According to Warren Buffet, retailing has helped maximum in financial well being of American people.

Though online buying is growing with unprecedented or unexpected speed worldwide due to convenience of shopping, physical (brick and mortar) stores are unavoidable because it is there only, where one can touch, feel, taste, compare and experience a product or service, before residing to buy. This also involves fun and excitement therefore, is called as ‘retail therapy’ which is not possible in online shopping.

Retailing has 2 important terms, market and goods or services. Detailed explanation of retailing should be: ‘transaction of goods or services between seller and customer as single unit or small quantity to meet the needs of an individual or his family or colleagues, for direct consumption’.

What is franchising?

Franchising is an innovative marketing concept, more efficient method of doing business. It is a strategy to ‘acquire and keep’ more customers. It is a refine marketing system to maintain better brand image of products in the minds of consumers. Through this network, the brand gets better identification, easy and assured delivery into consumer’s hands. It is a strategic alliance between manufacturer and retailer, by which they can dominate the markets and enjoy better brand loyalty.

Through this worldwide proven and growing system, brand owners can utilize their resources, operating systems and ongoing marketing support, to optimum level. In this system are fewer errors, is more economic and profitable for both partners working as a team, committed for a common cause, sharing tried and tested methods, for better returns on investments.

Both, franchiser and franchisee share the responsibility of quality, consistency, convenience to ensure repeat business, enhanced brand value. Once franchisee signs the agreement, he becomes the independent co-owner, as he ‘buys’ the brand for an allotted territory, though for a prescribed period only.

The franchiser can build chain of stores to distribute and sell his good without investment or liability but he has an enormous responsibility of maintaining his brand strength and consistent support to his partners. Both are responsible, reciprocating successes to each other. The franchiser has direct stake in this business format instead of employees, who may not contribute that much loyalty, as in case of distribution system or company owned stores.

Growth of franchising is much faster than any other method such as manufacturer to retailer or wholesaler. It is a continuing a relationship in which the franchiser provides a licensed privilege to do business and assist to provide training, merchandising, management for a fee,  commission on sale or royalty from the franchisee.

Franchising is more comprehensive and successful formula and format involving standardization, consistency, uniformity, conduct, business planning, marketing strategy, operating standards, locations, appearances, image building, quality control, for better buyer satisfaction.

Franchising is a kind of commercial and legal marriage, win-win relationship by which the franchiser gets fast business expansion, whereas franchisee replicates established business process speedily, at lower risk.

 

What is marketing?

Marketing is an action or a business of selling or promoting a product or service which includes the market, research, advertising, distribution and sale to end user. It is a method, science as well as art of communicating value of the product to consumers.

Marketing is a management process that involves understanding of consumer behavior, market segmentation, target markets, to move goods upto the consumers by coordination of 4 elements a) identification, selection, development of product b) determination of its price c) selection of a distribution channel upto end user and d) implementation of a promotional strategy.

 

Marketing is about consumer needs and their satisfaction. Marketing discovers, arouse, creates demand. Marketing process includes everything done to deliver the product into potential user’s hands, planning, packaging, pricing, distribution, advertising, PR, selling.

Marketing in brief is, the science and art of exploring, creating, delivering value to satisfy the needs of a target market for profit. Marketing is in fact a mission, to raise the quality standards of living, worldwide.

Difference between Branding and Marketing

A brand is the driver of sales, whereas marketing is a cost center. Branding is what a product or service is,  and marketing is what it’s owners do, to place it into users hands. Marketing is a tactic by which one actively promotes a product or service. It is a process to communicate the message to end user to buy, because it is better or cheaper than competition.

Branding is a strategy which precedes and underlines any marketing activity. Branding is like makeover of a lady to attract attention of onlookers, declaring to all ‘here I am, look at me, like me, talk about me to your friends, approach me and express desire to own me’.  Marketing can only contribute to strengthen a brand.

By marketing effort, one may motivate a customer to buy a particular product but, it’s brand loyalty that inspires the consumer to buy again and again, for many years, even lifetime. Marketing activates buyer where as branding advocates. Branding gets maximum share of one time investment, whereas marketing needs ongoing expenses to effects sales. Effective marketing reinforces brand image and value. A brand is the essence, a promise, that a product or company delivers or is experienced by the user.

Once a brand comes to maturity level of development, it becomes an umbrella under which various products or services can be offered.