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Online Brand Building


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Title: Online Brand Building

Online Brand Building
  • Gary Akehurst

Online Brand Strategy
  • Brands are at the heart of internet marketing
  • if a companys offer is perceived to be the same
    as competitors then consumers will be indifferent
    and will choose the cheapest or most accessible
  • marketing fundamentally seeks to create a
    preference for the companys brand
  • if customers perceive one brand as superior, they
    will prefer it and pay more for it (perceived
  • brands create customer loyalty
  • can build strong market share

Brand Strategy
  • Advantages of online shopping
  • Choice (the web is empowering, choice what to
    buy, when to buy and what price)
  • Vast selection online (products are displayed,
    reviewed, compared with no cost in money or time,
    making online shopping very efficient)
  • Quick comparison (quickly can compare product
    prices, quality, etc before making final choice)

Brand Strategy
  • Disadvantages of online shopping
  • Certain buying decisions need to be in a store
    (clothing, perfume, shoes)
  • Products requiring in-store help
  • Products with potential delivery problems
  • Web site tools to help customers reach decisions
    are inflexible, designed without considering how
    people really purchase

Brand Strategy
  • A brand is
  • not a product which just happens to have a high
  • more than a recognisable name or logo (although
    both of these are often present)
  • it is much more - a powerful stimulus that
    conjures up a complex image and level of
    expectation, and what it can do for the consumer
  • intangible, mysterious, powerful

Brand Strategy
  • A brand serves three vital roles
  • It acts as a magnet to attract new customers to
    the business
  • Serves as a reminder to customers about the
    firms products and services
  • Can become the customers emotional tie to the

Brand Strategy
  • Kotler (1997). Marketing management analysis,
    planning, implementation and control, suggests a
    brand is
  • A name, term, sign, symbol, or design, or a
    combination of them, intended to identify the
    goods or services of one seller or group of
    sellers and to differentiate them from those of
  • this definition covers the more tangible
    attributes of the brand and its purpose as a
    differentiator but is too mechanistic to reveal
    the brands complexity as an intangible, largely
    irrational and emotional influence

Brand Strategy
  • The Brand added values which meet functional
    needs and certain psychological needs of
    customers and elicit confidence of quality and
  • emotional, irrational, intangible (values,
    attitudes, beliefs), symbolic
  • The Product something which meets the functional
    needs of customers
  • phlegmatic, rational, tangible (features,
    benefits, advantages), functional

Brand Strategy
  • Feldwick (1996) in Cowley, D., (ed),
    Understanding brands. London Kogan Page
  • a brand may have a personality but it is not a
    person. You cannot talk to it and it cannot
    answer back. In fact it has no absolute or
    objective existence.

Brand Strategy
  • So what is a brand? I would suggest it is
    effectively a mass of values, images, promises
    and attitudes all brought together, but perceived
    in terms of a meaningful whole rather than in
    elements or parts. The resulting integration is
    then considered by consumers against a background
    of individual experience, knowledge, prejudice
    and, importantly, the marketing input aimed at
    enhancing the attributes of a specific offering.
  • Adcock, D. (2000). Marketing strategies for
    competitive advantage. Chichester John Wiley,

Brand Strategy
  • Brand equity is the key concept
  • The assets (or liabilities) linked to a brands
    name and symbol that add to (or subtract from) a
  • Chaffey, Mayer, Johnston and Ellis Chadwick
    (2003) 190

Brand Strategy
  • Brand equity consists of
  • Brand awareness (by prolonged and targeted
    marketing communications to promote the brand
    identity and other brand qualities)
  • Perceived quality
  • Brand associations (the personality aspect)
  • Brand loyalty (customer commitment)

Brand Strategy
  • Three characteristics of a successful online
  • The brand is highly dependent on customer
  • Perception is shaped and developed by the online
    products added value characteristics
  • These characteristics must be sustainable over

Brand Strategy
  • the product (books)
  • the brand (
  • the brand is the product plus wrap-arounds
    (easy customer interaction, one click shopping,
    easy delivery)
  • the wrap-arounds differentiate Amazon from other
    products in the books product category

Brand Strategy
  • Top 10 most visited UK retail sites December 2004
  • Europe

Brand Strategy
  • This list features the most popular websites
    based on UK Internet usage for December, 2006,
    ranked by market share of all visits.
  • Source

Brand Strategy
Brand Strategy
  • Top 10 online brands in the UK
  • MSN
  • Microsoft
  • Google
  • Yahoo
  • BBC
  • eBay
  • Freeserve
  • Amazon
  • AOL
  • Ask Jeeves
  • Source Nielsen/Netratings, January 2004

Brand Strategy
Brand Strategy
Source Cunningham, M.J. (2001) How to build a
profitable e-commerce strategy. London FT
Pearson Education
Brand Strategy
  • A successful brand (S) is a combination of
  • an effective product (P)
  • a distinctive identity (D)
  • and added values (AV)
  • S P x D x AV
  • the three characteristics of a successful brand
    are multiplicative rather than additive (each is

Brand Strategy
  • Companies can choose to focus brand building at
    different levels
  • company brand (Heinz, Mercedes, Virgin - choose
    to make company name the dominant brand identity
    across all products)
  • individual brand names (Unilever, Proctor
    Gamble, focus on individual brand identities for
    each product - Fairy Liquid, Persil, Domestos,
  • company and individual brands (Kelloggs -
    Kelloggs Cornflakes, Bran, etc - a middle way
    featuring company and individual brand)
  • range branding (Matsushita - families of products
    under separate range names - National, Panasonic,
    Technics, Quasar)

Brand Strategy
  • Brand values
  • choosing competing products on technical or
    rational grounds too difficult, time consuming
    and expensive for most buyers
  • the sheer volume of decisions, pace of technical
    change and competing alternatives plus array of
    media messages
  • buyers look for safe short cuts - reputable
    brands provide confidence and cut risks and
    choice complexity
  • people use brands to show off their lifestyles,
    interests, values or wealth
  • customer needs these days likely to be about
    self-actualisation or esteem rather than just
    basic physical or economic needs

Brand Strategy
  • How brand values occur
  • experience of use (brand provides good service
    over years of regular use, acquires familiarity
    and proven reliability)
  • user associations (image acquired from type of
    people seen using the brand - advertising and
    sponsorship used to convey prestige images,
    success, etc.)
  • belief in efficacy (if customers have faith brand
    will work, it is more likely to work effectively
    for them - can be created by comparative
    evaluations, consumer association rankings,
  • brand appearance (design offering cues to
  • manufacturer name and reputation (strong company
    name, e.g. Sony - positive associations,
    confidence, incentive to trial)

Brand Strategy
  • Online customers often interact and experience a
    brand quite frequently, making the experience
    more important than perceptions
  • An online brand promises
  • Convenience (better than offline or with
  • Achievement (help customers achieve their goals)
  • Fun and adventure (in B2C markets)
  • self-expression and recognition (by
    personalisation and customisation)
  • Belonging (to online communities)

Brand Strategy
Brand identity message sent out by the brand
through product form, name, visual signs
etc. Brand image how the target
market perceives the brand
Brand core (fixed over time) Brand
style Brand themes communicated by
advertising, packaging etc)
culture personality self-image
Physical appearance (colour, logo,
packaging) Reflection (persons used to advertise
brand) Relationship expressed (prestige, glamour,
Brand Strategy
  • must develop a consistent message which is
    transmitted through packaging, design,
    advertising, line and brand extensions and
    offline and online
  • the image the target market has of your brand may
    be quite different from the message your company
    is seeking to communicate
  • understanding the brands core and style helps
    set the perimeters of brand extensions - how far
    the brand can be meaningfully stretched to other
    products and market segments

Brand Strategy
  • Brands which have achieved their potential
  • have a quality product (satisfactory customer
  • being first (easier to stake a position in the
    consumers mind)
  • unique positioning concept (benefits,
  • strong communications programme (effective
    selling, promotions etc)
  • time and consistency (require investment over

Brand Strategy
A Good Brand
American Airlines mix of offline and
online advertising emphases advantages
to memberships including nonexpiring airmiles
and online services superior service club
frequent flier club club lounges comfortable
chairs portable defibrillators on every
flight safe on-time transportation
Marketing Communications
Core Product or Service
Source Rayport, J.F. Jaworski, B.J. (2001).
E-Commerce. Boston McGraw Hill/Irwin, p.186
Brand Strategy
A good brand positive consumer benefits respon
ses core product/service brand
awareness customers loyalty confiden
ce satisfaction wrap-arounds strong brand
associations (consistent company relevant,
uniqueness, reduce costs memorable,
distinctive, higher profits positive) brand
Brand Strategy
  • Offline, traditional brands
  • Coca-Cola
  • McDonalds
  • Dell
  • BMW
  • Sony
  • Disney
  • Mercedes
  • Online brands
  • Amazon
  • Yahoo
  • AOL
  • ZDNet
  • Smile
  • Cahoot
  • Google

Crossover brands (offline brands into online and
vice versa)
Brand Strategy
  • distinctions between offline and online are
    breaking down
  • some brands (e.g. Smile) were established as
    online brands but also use offline promotional
    activities to grow the brand
  • some brands are extensions of offline or online
    brands (a mixture or hybrid)
  • some brands are shifting (migrating) from offline
    to online (e.g. Britannica Encyclopædia)
  • some brands were established offline but use
    online promotions

Brand Strategy
  • When an e-commerce web site is established
  • Most companies migrate their brand online (risk
    if website is poorly designed and difficult to
  • Extend existing brand online (with a slight
    variation on online)
  • Promote the brand in association or partnership
    with a strong online brand
  • Create a new online brand (e.g. Smile)

Brand Strategy
  • Effectiveness of online brand advertising
  • Need to establish
  • whether people connect a brand to the ad
    (prompted or top-of-mind awareness)
  • Connect the message to a brand (message
  • To what extent people are favourable to the brand
  • Likelihood of purchasing (purchase intent)
  • What attributes are attached to the brand such as
    cool or fun (brand attributes)

Brand Strategy
  • The Ten Step Branding Process
  • Clearly define the brand audience
  • Understand the customer
  • Identify key leverage points in customer
  • Continually monitor competitors (online
    competition fierce)
  • Design compelling and complete brand intent
  • Execute with integrity (trustworthy messages)
  • Be consistent over time
  • Establish feedback systems (quick online)
  • Be opportunistic (at individual level online)
  • Invest and be patient
  • Source Rayport and Jaworski (2000) p.191

Brand Strategy
Brand Strategy
Brand Strategy
Brand Strategy
  • Chaffey, D., Mayer, R., Johnston, K.
    Ellis-Chadwick, F. (2006). Internet marketing.
    Strategy, implication and practice, (3rd ed).
    London Pearson Education. (2nd ed 2003) chapter
    5 The internet and the marketing mix