The product survives throughout life, starting from their introductory stage to their peak stage, up to their declining stage. When they reach the declining stage, their survival depends on the management. Good and effective management together with the required resources, can renew the brand making it to live longer than its maker does. The brand can be improved to meet the current technological advancement and survive in the market for infinite time (Catty 2009 p. 203). This essay would be explaining how one could maintain the continuity of a brand and the risks that can result in it dying from the market.
On May this year, the Coca-Cola company was celebrating the 125th anniversary of its brand. The company was appreciating various collaborators throughout the period, and the customers who are lovers of the brand. The CEO of the Coca-Cola company Mr Muhtar confessed that the brand had reached that far because of the customers who accept and love the brand, and that is why there can refresh the world for that long (Business News).
Brands are not for companies or the advertising firms, but they are for the customers to test and see whether they are for them or not. Brand communication is also very essential. For instance, it is very entertaining, and attractive on how Coca-Cola brand is advertised to the market. It is left clear in every consumer’s mind the value of Coca-Cola brand. Once the name of a product enters the mind of a customer, it turns to be a brand. When a certain brand becomes friendly to a customer, this relationship determines the survival of the brand in the market. For instance, Maruti is a brand name that has existed in the market for a very long time, because its customers accepted it from the beginning and have much trust in it (Lancaster & Witney 2006 p. 112). When Maruti produces any vehicle, it becomes acceptable by customers, and many fall for it as they have a trust that it is the best product that can serve their purpose. Due to the continued trust and acceptance by the customers, this brand may continue infinitely and survive more than its maker survives. A product can die after its life cycle in the market, but the brand can survive forever as afar as the customers are accepting it.
On May 22, this year in New Delhi, the marketing General Manager of Maruti Suzuki, Mr Shashank said that the company maintains its brand value by use of specialised distributors, who sell their parts in the open market where the customers can choose the best parts that cannot harm cars’ performance, and hence maintain their best reputation. The marketing manager also insisted that the company does not sell its parts outside its dealership, to protect the customers from buying fake parts. This was a good show of promoting brand equity (Business News)
Brand management is another aspect that can maintain a brand in the market for quite a long duration. It all depends on the management team that is taking care of the brand. For instance, the brand management of Coca-Cola brand has been doing excellent work in improving the brand. Customers may be so much willing to maintain their loyalty, but they also need the advancement of the brand. The physical change of the brand can enhance its survival in the market. Several brands keep on changing physically. The brand management should ensure that the brand is taking some positive moves as technology advances (Batley 2008 p. 43). For instance, brand management may change the colour, appearance, and be the general image of the brand. Brands like Coca-Cola and Nike have evolved over a long duration due to the continued changes, like adding more products that ensure freshness and long life.
Some brands have survived in the market for more than 100 years. Such companies include Well-Fargo brands, and American Express and they are still strong in the market serving the customers (Quiry 2009 p. 805). This does not justify that; these brands do not face challenges in the development. Just like other companies that have died, these brands have been facing challenges. If a brand happens to die, the same brand can raise and evolve despite the limitations that it may encounter. The product life cycle is another aspect that determines a lot the survival of the brand in the market. During the different stages that the product passes through in the process of development, some strategies are applicable in every stage. If a company or the department that is required to take action in the product life cycle fails to do the right thing, the brand may lose its fame. According to the PLC proponents, the process of product lifecycle creates some opportunities for the company to maximise the profits and discover the challenges as well as solving them.
When the product is declining in its product cycle, the market can take serious actions to control the product from going down completely. For instance, in 1994, when Cadbury snacks were declining, the marketers decided to reposition the brand and remain in the market. The marketer may apply some strategies like reducing the prices and the expenses related to the products to maintain the lower price of the product in the market. Through lowering the product price, an opportunity of this product to compete with the rest in the market is increased (Saudagaran 2009 p. 57). In 1998 when the MacDonald brand reached the decline stage, a strategy of lowering the prices was applied. If the product happens to compete with the rest successfully during the hard times in the market, there is a high probability of the product to evolve and rise again and continue surviving in the market.
One way of improving brand equity is through establishing the brand personality. Brand personality is the attributes that a customer can relate himself or herself with the brand. Through the creation of a reliable set of features, a company can increase brand equity. Brand personality adds the value of the brand in addition to the functional advantages to the user (Radebaugh 2009 p. 324). The brand personalities are five different types, such as the level of sincerity, how competent the brand is to its competitors, the level of excitement that the customer obtains from the brand and sophistication. If the customers find that the brands have some personalities similar to theirs, there is a high likelihood of those customers to purchase goods of that brand. For a marketer to succeed in ensuring the continuity of the brand, he or she should communicate the brand’s personality correctly to the intended consumers. In several cases, the brand personality can very much assist in representing and institutionalising the values and beliefs of a culture.
Mostly, customers make purchasing decisions depending on individual brands. On the other hand, companies spend much time and money, in different channels to advertise their brands, to influence the customers. For instance, customers behave positively on cars that are from Germany, shoes produced in Italy, and electrical appliances from Japan. The first dimension of brand personality is sincerity that most consumers describe it as down to earth personality and very honest. When a marketer is advertising his or her brands, he or she should try to match the brand personalities with the target group. A specific attribute can be of help to the brands if it is set to the right group of customers.
There are some countries where there is a culture of happiness and excitement; those are the best customers to be targeted by such brands. Unfortunately, in some places, there is always fight, and violence and the issue of happiness and excitement are past forgotten. Another form of dimension is competence, whereby the customers relate this dimension with intelligence and success. For instance, there are intelligence firms that even if the country is undergoing tough financial times, they still get some consumers through the use of this form of dimension (Gordon 2005 p. 821). An example of such a firm is Charles Schwab. Companies also have the brand personality of sophistication, whereby the consumers relate it as charming and fit for the upper-class people. For instance, the Chanel brand is a charming brand, which has managed to remain in the market strongly for a long time. In addition, when a company is dealing with cars, the personality of status and prestige is very important. The final dimension is ruggedness, and the consumers have proved to adopt to this personality very positively, especially those people who like to look good publicly. There is always a need for the marketers first to do enough research on the customer’s personality, so as to determine the best brand personality for the target consumers.
Sometimes, the existence of a certain brand may be very successful but may disappear through mergers and acquisitions. These acts have benefitted several companies in various ways. Two or more companies may decide to merge their brands or make acquisitions due to several reasons. Companies may decide to merge because of marketing and management failures, financial reasons, and thirdly to fight the competition. If the companies can merge to fight the competition that can be a very healthy practice as it would make the newfound brand to emerge successfully with less competition. For instance, Grace Bros was a company whose management decided to acquisitions with Coles Myer group, and the brand name Grace Bros got a new brand name as Myer in 2004. This acquisition made the brand name Grace Bros to disappear completely (Stokes & Lomax 2008, p. 280).
According to a business journal of (2010), the vice president of Alternative channels of Western Union company Mr David, recommended the action of his company to acquire the Custom House, and confessed that the expertise of both companies would do wonders to the brands of western union. He claimed that the customers would have much to enjoy from their brands.
This brand name disappeared but in favour of another brand, which is also a healthy way of conducting business. Another company that experienced acquisition was the Compaq computers in 2002 for $ 25 million by Hewlett Packard because of the need for product development. Before the acquisition, Compaq computers were among the leading brand in the personal computing industries. Compaq computers were also the company with the highest market share in the whole industry but were overtaken by Hewlett Packard since 2010 (Aaker 2000 p. 98). It is not obvious for the company to succeed immediately after a merger or acquisition, but the company must take some time to bring the ideas together and to adopt a new strategy on how to handle the new challenges. The acquisition of Compaq and Hewlett Packard was a successful one as HP was able to utilise the ideas and the products of Compaq for its benefits, and this has moved the HP at a very competitive edge as a market leader in the personal computing industry.
In conclusion, it is true that brands do not have finite lives as they live an image and value in the customers’ mind. Not all the brands that can survive in the market due to some reasons, but with careful brand management, there is a surety of its existence. Brands play a great role in the market as they help the customers to define where their satisfaction is, and to differentiate different products. Brand loyalty and product development are very important in positioning the product in the market (Hansen & Lars Bech 2003, p.315). Whether a brand is a leader in the market or it is a niche, this does not guarantee it for survival in the market. All in all, the greatest responsibility is in the hands of the marketers to communicate well with the customers on the importance and values of the brand. Once the customers get the right information and become convinced, there is a high probability of brand continuity. Most companies, through their marketers, try to communicate with the market about the brands through the brand personality dimensions. Marketing is the most important aspect of ensuring the continuity of the brand. If marketing is done well, it improves the brand equity and hence survival. The survival of the brand in the market has made some companies like Blue jet Airway to survive and enjoy profit for a long time.
Aaker, D. (2000) Brand Leadership. London, Simon and Schuster.
Batley, D. (2008) Marketing Tactics, London, CCH Publishers.
Catty, J. (2009) Wiley Guide to Fair Value Under IFRS. New York, John Wiley and Sons.
Gordon, S. (2005) Intellectual property: Valuation, Exploitation, and Infringement Damages. New York, John Wiley and Sons.
Hansen, F. & Lars Bech, C. (2003) Branding and advertising., New York, Copenhagen Business School Press.
Lancaster, G. & Witney, F. (2006) Marketing Fundamentals. Michigan, Butterworth Heinemann.
Quiry, P. (2009) Corporate Finance: Theory and Practice. New York, John Wiley and Sons.
Radebaugh, L. (2009) International accounting and Multinational Enterprise. New York, John Wiley & Sons.
Saudagaran, S. (2009) International Accounting : A user Perspective. Michigan, CCH Publishers.
Stokes, D. & Lomax, W. (2008) Marketing: a brief introduction. New York, Cengage Learning.