A brand can be related to the products or services and can define the functions, meaning, image, or benefits of those products and services; combining these two elements describe the concept of brand space. The arguments given by the authors in their article regarding the mistakes made by many organizations in managing their brands include are as follows. First, the companies who falter in extending their brands and end up with the damaging of the parent brand is due to the lack of basic understanding of brands and their volatile nature. It means that since brands have gone more global and must characterize more than the customers and that is, employees, investors, media, suppliers, governments, and their competitors, that is why they have become more complex to manage. Second, some companies such as Procter and Gamble have made costly mistakes in managing their brands by adopting the Reified-functional brand strategy, and as a result, are busy repairing the damage. The argument given is that companies adopt such strategy because of the ease in changing the brand by altering a few elements of the product, such as quality, design, and packaging, in order to reduce the new brand development cost and to enhance the ties of the brand with the products.
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Third, companies that try to extend their brands to new categories of products and fail in doing so is due to the complex nature of logistics and distribution; moreover, since there are many products under one brand, so the whole brand name can be worsened or tainted due to any mistake done in any one product class due to poor quality or anything. Finally, the issue of “new coke” incited the ownership attitude among the coke customers and that was due to the adoption of abstract-enacted brand approach which does not allow the companies to nurture their brands with delicacy, sensitivity, and responsiveness to consumers.
As far as the theoretical framework of managing brands is concerned, the authors have mentioned that; first, since the brand name is the outcome of the language and meaning that can change with time; so in order to establish a sound brand name the firms must collaterally create it by interactions with stakeholders in a wide community that has certain linguistic and cultural elements. It means that the brand name, meaning, language, colors, etc, must not violate the values and characteristics of the stakeholders. Second, companies must understand the heritage and and constituents of the brand, and must consider them while evolving them in the market. They must target the brand by specific positioning and building on the brand’s traditional heritage. Third – while switching from reified-functional to higher levels of abstraction – companies must invest carefully in the development of their corporate brands that have recently eased them to enlarge the range of products.
Fourth, since the consumers are bombarded with a number of products and alternatives, so firms must introduce abstract brands in order to update variety of brand associations that must be processed by the consumers. Fifth, the repositioning must be carried out and watched carefully because it carries a great amount of risk relating to the changing the minds, perceptions, and positions of core users relating to the brand. Sixth, while positioning, targeting, and promoting the brand, firms must also consider the societal changes that have a great impact over the product’s image, attributes, usage, and benefits. Seventh, the demographic changes must also be measured that include the variations in the people’s age, locality, gender, background, ethnicity, religion, norms, and values that they possess. Finally, the market research and knowledge must be there with the marketers that can guide them to effectively launch, target, position, promote, and sell their products and gain competitive advantage from highly enacted brands.
Berthon, P., Holbrook, M. B., & Hulbert, J. M. (2003) ‘Understanding and managing the brand space’, MIT Sloan Management Review, 44 (2), pp. 49–54.