Brand Building in the New Media Environment
- Brand and brand building model
- The definition of brand
- Brand building model
Figure 1 Customer-based brand equity pyramid
Figure 2 Subdimensions of Brand Building Blocks
- New media environment and brand building
2.1 The Internet advertising
2.2 The Internet versus traditional advertising methods
Figure 3 Effects comparison of TV and the Internet
- Further research
How to combine each channel and allocate the budget effectively
Ethical issues during branding
Aaker and Joachimsthaler (2000) claim that ‘Branding has become a key marketing priority for most companies’. because of ‘the growing realization that brands are one of the most valuable intangible assets that firms have’ (Keller and Donald (2006). Branding strategy in this new business environment became important for the firms. As of now, there are lots of platforms for firms to advertising and build a brand, typically can be split into two categories- traditional method and the Internet method. This essay will illustrate the brand-building model regarding how firms could build their brand and how to use traditional and Internet advertising platforms, then provide corresponding applications as well as further research suggestions on future branding.
1. Brand and Brand Building Model
1.1 The Definition of Brand
The American Marketing Association (Keller, 2013) define a brand as ‘a name, term, sign, symbol, or design, or a combination of them, intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of competitors’. It is the brand that distinguishes a product from the others which has the same properties, nature, and functions. As Dechernatony, L. (2006) suggests ‘brand is clusters of functional and emotional values. Functional values contain security, creativity, convenience, simplicity, and adaptability, while emotional values might include integrity, dignity, friendliness, conservatism, and independence.’ Functional values can be imitated or surpassed by competitors soon, but emotional values are hard for other companies to copy it. It is undeniable that brand is a crucial resource for a company, all companies will do their best to build their own brand, make their brand competitive in the market, and stand in an invincible position.
1.2 Brand Building Model
What makes a strong brand and how do organizations could build a strong brand, then customer-based brand equity (CBBE) could be introduced to solve these two the most frequently asked questions.
Building a strong brand contains 4 steps, each of which relies on the goal of successfully achieving the previous step, they are:
(1) Brand Identity. To create brand salience, or awareness, organizations need to make sure that the brand stands out that customers are aware of the brand and can recognize it. Furthermore, organizations should assure customers’ perception is consistent with brand identity.
In this step, organizations need to know who your customers are and understand how they perceive the brand, and if there is any gap between the brand and the customer in terms of customers’ needs and segmentation, especially need to demonstrate how the brand will fulfill their needs.
(2) Brand Meaning. To identify what your brand stands for. The two blocks in this step are “performance” and “imagery”. “Performance” refers to how well the product meets the needs of customers on an extrinsic level. While “Imagery” defines how well the brand meets the needs of customers from a social and psychological perspective. Ideally, the brand has to meet or exceed the needs of the customers in order to build customer loyalty.
In this stage, the company should identify how to translate the needs into high- quality products? What is the product experience you want your customers to have? How does it differentiate from the existing products?
(3) Brand Response. Customers’ responses to the brand divided into two categories, “judgments” and “feelings”. Consumers will judge the quality of your products, and what are the advantages of your brand compared with competitors, whether your brand really meets their needs and whether they love and trust your products, and so on. As the figure 2 shows there are six positive brand feelings- warmth, fun, excitement, security, social approval, and self-respect.
In this step, organizations should think about how they can improve products’
quality and enhance brand celebrity, identify the key advantage over the competitors and what kind of emotions you are going to focus on etc.
(4) Brand Relationship. The brand “resonance” is at the top of the brand equity pyramid because it is the most difficult and desirable level. When your customers have a deep psychological connection with your brand, you get the brand’s resonance. Keller divides resonance into four categories: Behavioral loyalty- includes regularly repetitive purchases; attachment- means that customers like your brand or product, and community- means that customers feel that they connected with the brand associated community; active participation indicates that even if customers do not purchase, they will often pay attention to brand dynamics and participate in activities such as brand forums, following your brand on social media.
In this step, organizations need to enhance behavioral loyalty and keep consumers feel a sense of belonging, strengthening the bond between brands and customers.
The important thing is that organizations should accomplish each step incrementally, the latter steps cannot be achieved without the former steps. According to Keller (2013), the blocks on the left side of the pyramid represent a more “rational” brand building route, while the blocks on the right side of the pyramid represent a more “sensible” route. If organizations wish to build a strong brand, they have to reach both sides of the pyramid.
Figure 1 Customer-based brand equity pyramid
Figure 2 Subdimensions of Brand Building Blocks
The source from Keller Strategic Brand Management: Building, Measuring, and Managing Brand Equity, 2013
2. New Media Environment and Brand Building
The concept of CBBE is that the power of a brand lies in what customers have learned, felt, seen, and heard about the brand over time (Keller, 2013). Advertising is one of the marketing methods that could increase brand awareness and brand acquisition. In the past, there is only firm-to-customer advertising, customers receive ads passively, it is one-way communication. Nowadays, firms and consumers can interact on the Internet, the communication way expanded to firm-to-customers, customers-to-firms, and consumers-to-consumers.
2.1 The Internet Advertising
It is common in these days that a growing number of companies set up a presence on social media, publishing information/messages and interact with consumers to achieve the objective of brand building and stimulate sales (De Vires, Sonja, and Peter, 2017). As we are living in a digital era, the Internet, social media, advanced electronic devices changed the way of communications significantly during the past decade. Besides social media, there are other varieties of ways for advertising and promotion with the Internet, like organization official website, Internet banners, rich media, online ads etc. The Internet provides the opportunity for companies to reach a wider audience and create compelling value propositions (Tina, 2013). At the same time, the Internet is empowering customers with more options and more information to make optimal decisions (Tina, 2013). In a new media environment, Keller (2009) suggests that ‘consumers not only have more choices of media to use, but they also have a choice about whether and how they want to receive commercial content’. It means consumers gain more control than before. According to Smith and McFee, the Internet provides both marketers and consumers with opportunities for much greater interaction and individualization (in Keller, 2003). Despite the internet forms have disadvantages like firms have to reply and comment on every response from consumers, inconsistent brand identity across platforms, it is a good medium to increase brand equity.
2.2 The Internet vs Traditional Advertising Methods
With the popularity of internet advertising, there are some doubt and questions toward traditional advertising methods (TV, magazines, radio, and newspaper). ‘Traditional advertising media is losing their grip on consumers (Keller, 2009). Mass media advertising is on its deathbed, and its prognosis is poor (Rust and Oliver, 1994), the new communication environment has eroded the effectiveness of mass media (O’Leary, 2003).
Does internet advertising surplus traditional ones? A research regarding television ads and Internet ads effectiveness comparison has conducted by Draganska, Hartmann, and Stranglein. They are ‘using a unique and rich data set comprising 20 campaigns across a variety of industries, the research demonstrates that Internet ads perform on par with television ads on the brand-building metrics that advertisers use and trust (Draganska, Hartmann, and Stranglein, 2014). It suggests that there is no distinguishing difference between the effectiveness of television advertising and internet advertising.
Another research that examines the relative effectiveness of traditional advertising, firm-to-customer messages and consumer-to-consumer messages on the Internet for brand building and customer acquisition efforts. This research indicates that ‘traditional advertising is still an effective medium to build a brand and to enhance customer acquisition’; furthermore, investments in traditional advertising could facilitate more positive consumer-to-consumer social messages’ (De Vires, Sonja and Peter, 2017); if firm-to-customer social messages spread across social network, it can complement traditional advertising efforts (Fulgoni, 2015).
Thus, traditional advertising and internet advertising are complementary rather than contrary. Since the brand-building is a complicated and a lengthy procedure, brand managers task is to create synergistic effects by leverage different types of marketing communications role and effectiveness, ensuring the consistent brand identity across different marketing platforms.
Figure 3 Effects comparison of TV and the Internet
The sources from Michaela Draganska, Wesley R. Hartmann, and Gena Stranglein (2014) Internet Versus Television Advertising: A Brand-Building Comparison
According to the above research (De Vires, Sonja and, Peter, 2017) ‘traditional advertising is the most effective way to influence consumers’ awareness, consideration, and acquisition’. In the first brand equity step, organizations could put more effort into traditional ones than the Internet to acquire more recognition. While, ‘Customer-to customer social messages are effective in generating sales and creating preference’, as the Internet could gain and track data timely, the Internet format can be used more in the second step of brand equity, which can help organizations increase their positive perception among targeted consumers. In third and fourth steps, organizations could pay equal attention to both traditional methods and the Internet methods, as research indicates that ‘traditional advertising could generate favorable consumer-to-consumer social messages’ and ‘coordinating traditional advertising and firm-to-customer social messages might improve firm’s performance’.
4. Further Research
There are many types of researches already done regarding brands, branding, and brand management, lots of strategies and theories available at literature for firms to refer to. But the context which we are living is changing constantly, the theory and methodology should keep pace with the trends. Hence, there are some researches need to further conducted in the future so that literature could always provide an appropriate theory for firms.
How to combine each channel and allocate the budget effectively. Since both traditional marketing communications and internet marketing communications have its own pros and cons, ranging them efficiently so as to maximize the influence is very important to firms. Moreover, it is undeniable that the organization budget is not unlimited, and there is a number of agendas needs organizations to deal with. In order to spend the budget more effectively, a trustable guide is needed. Although the effectiveness of traditional advertising and internet advertising to customer acquisition and brand recall is almost equal (Draganska, Hartmann, and Stranglein, 2014), it doesn’t mean the budget can be split completely in half. The costs for each marketing communications is different, traditional one could take a relatively long time to establish and update than internet one and it requires more expenditure. Currently, the internet formats seem more cost-effective, but ‘it is forecasted that the prices for online advertising will increase to reflect their relative performance in the potential of brand-building’ (Draganska, Hartmann, and Stranglein, 2014). Considering the advantage and disadvantage of different platforms, variable costs of different channels, how should the company combine each channel and allocate the budget to each format needs to be examined.
Ethical issues during branding. Consumers’ demagoguery or negative comments; firms’ racial discrimination and belittling other brands during the branding cause the ethical issues these days. While ethical brand and the reputation of the firm are interactive, an ethical brand will enhance the firm’s reputation and vice versa (Fan, 2005). Going forward, the more technologies like AI, big data etc. employed, the more likely ethical problems such as personal privacy, information asymmetry, inequality will happen. The constructive guidelines or methodology regarding how to deal with ethical issues while branding in a changing era could be very helpful.
Build a strong brand in a fast-changing business environment is a tough task. However, at the same time, the new environment provides new communication platforms to firms. ‘Marketers should ‘mix and match’ communication options to build brand equity’ (Keller, 2009). Fortunately, there are already many theories, methodologies, and experience of brand building that firms could refer to. On the other hand, the research for branding is not sufficient yet.
Aaker, D.A., and E. Joachimsthaler. (2000) Brand leadership. New York: Free Press.
DeChernatony, L. (2006) From Brand Vision to Brand Evaluation: The Strategic Process of Growing and Strengthening Brands. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann Ltd
De Vries, Lisette, Sonja Gensler, and Peter S.H. Leeflang (2017) ‘Effects of Traditional Advertising and Social Messages on Brand-Building Metrics and Customer Acquisition’, Journal of Marketing, Vol. 81 (September 2017), 1–15
Kevin Lane Keller (2013) Strategic Brand Management: Building, Measuring, and Managing Brand Equity, Pearson Education
Kevin Lane Keller and Donald R. Lehmann (2006) ‘Brands and Branding: Research Findings and Future Priorities’, Marketing Science, Vol. 25, No. 6, November-December 2006, pp. 740-759
Kevin Lane Keller (2009) ‘Building strong brands in a modern marketing communications environment’, Journal of Marketing Communications, 15:2-3, 139-155, DOI: 10.1080/13527260902757530
Michaela Draganska, Wesley R. Hartmann, and Gena Stranglein (2014) ‘Internet Versus Television Advertising: A Brand-Building Comparison’, Journal of Marketing Research Vol. LI (October 2014), 578–590
O’Leary, N. (2003) The 30-second spot is dead, long live the 30-second spot. [Online] Adweek Available at: https://www.adweek.com/brand-marketing/state-business-30-second-spot-dead-long-live-30-second-spot-68490/ [Accessed 17 December 2018]
Rust, Roland T., and Richard W. Oliver. (1994) ‘The Death of Advertising’, Journal of Advertising, vol. 23, no. 4, 1994, pp. 71–77
Tina Vukasovic (2013) ‘Building successful brand by using social networking media’, Journal of Media and Communication Studies, Vol. 5(6), pp. 56-63, July, 2013
Trusov, Michael, Randolph E. Bucklin, and Koen H. Pauwels (2009) ‘Effects of Word-of-Mouth Versus Traditional Marketing: Findings from an Internet Social Networking Site’, Journal of Marketing, 73 (September), 90–102.
Ying Fan, (2005) “Ethical branding and corporate reputation”, Corporate Communications: An International Journal, Vol. 10 Issue: 4, pp.341-350