A lot of the reasons people join a company and stay with it are to do
with intangibles-the culture and the brand. Do I want to say I work
for Adobe? Is that cool? When I tell people I work for Adobe, people
Dyrdahl, SR. VP. of Corporate Marketing, Adobe.
is a set of tangible and intangible assests of a
company or person. The most important assets of any business
are intangible: its company name, brand, symbols, and slogans,
and their underlying associations, perceived quality, name
awareness, customer base, and proprietary resources such
as patents, trademarks, and channel relationships.
These assets, which comprise brand equity, are a primary source of
competitive advantage and future earnings, contends David Aaker, a
national authority on branding. Yet, research shows that managers cannot
identify with confidence their brand associations, levels of consumer
awareness, or degree of customer loyalty. Moreover, in the last decade,
managers desperate for short-term financial results have often unwittingly
damaged their brands through price promotions and unwise brand extensions,
causing irreversible deterioration of the value of the brand name.
Managing Brand Equity:
Capitalizing on the Value of a Brand Name By David A. Aaker
New York: The Free Press
A company's brand is the primary
source of its competitive advantage and a valuable strategic
asset," said Aaker, who is generally regarded as the world's
leading academic authority on branding strategy. "Yet, too
often, the brand message to customers is weak, confused,
irrelevant, or, worst of all, indistinguishable from competitor
offerings. "The challenge for all brands is that they have
a distinct, clear image that matters to customers and truly
differentiates them from the rest."
The key step is to create a broad brand vision or identity that recognizes
a brand as something greater than a set of attributes that can be imitated
or surpassed. In particular, Aaker suggests that a company consider
its brand not just as a product or service, but as an organization,
a person and a symbol.
The brand-as-organization perspective focuses on the associations of
the company's people, culture, programs and values -- such as making
a priority of innovation, a quality- or customer-focus, or leadership.
Such organization associations are more endearing and more resistant
to imitation by competitors than are product attributes.
"It is much easier to copy a product," said Aaker, "than to duplicate an organization
with unique values, people and programs."
|Building Strong Brands By David
A. Aaker, New York