When creating a competitive advantage, marketers pay much attention to branding since it is considered one of the best strategic marketing approaches. With the help of brands, it is possible to identify the manufacturers, and customers may assess the brand’s performance via their past experiences (Kotler & Keller 2012). What makes branding particularly significant is that consumers value them for making their lives more comfortable.
There are several important roles that brands play in companies. The major one is that they make the process of product management easier. Another function performed by brands is their help in arranging the accounts and inventory (Kotler & Keller 2012). Also, brands provide legal protection for organizations by using trademarks and patents. As a result, companies that invest in brands may not worry about their financial stability since brands help them to improve their competitive advantage.
One of the most famous organizations successfully applying branding as a strategic tool for building a competitive advantage is Coca-Cola (Dawar 2013). To arrange effective competitiveness, it moved its focus to downstream actions from upstream ones. Thus, the company became able to impact the purchase behaviors of the clients, determine the competitive goals, and implement innovations to answer customers’ needs (Dawar 2013).
Another kind of branding that helps companies to gain success in the world market is luxury branding (Kapferer 2012). Luxury brands do not have a single logo but establish a variety of symbols that create competitive advantage. This kind of branding is rather popular in the fashion design industry (Kapferer 2012). The power of symbols is enhanced by the visibility of a designer and the original communication of the brand.
International Brands and Their Strengths
Some of the strongest international brands are Starbucks and Nokia (Fischer, Völckner & Sattler 2010). What makes them strong is their loyalty to customers, reduced vulnerability to crises in the market, and enhanced effectiveness of marketing communications. One of the most effective ways of branding in Starbucks is managing customer knowledge with the help of social media (Chua & Banerjee 2013). Another tool employed by the company is reevaluating the customers’ role with the help of social media by enabling them to become active participants in the process of brand development.
Also, as Chua and Banerjee (2013) mention, a positive approach used by Starbucks is mitigating clients’ unwillingness to share knowledge about the brand. Nokia’s strategies are similar to those of Starbucks. Apart from product branding, these two companies also promote national branding (Hakala, Lemmetyinen & Kantola 2013). Therefore, the strengths of international brands enable them to promote not only their products but also the image of their countries in the world.
Strategies Needed to Build a Strong Brand
The following strategies are used by firms to build a strong brand:
- staying focused and specific;
- defining the product’s unique features;
- being reliable and authentic;
- understanding customers’ needs;
- establishing a distinct company voice;
- using social media as a tool.
The value of brands in building competitive advantage is enormous (Kotler & Keller 2012). Some people continue buying products created by particular companies without even trying any new and cheaper counterparts because they are loyal to their brand. Such loyalty is gained through many years of company’s honest and dutiful attitude to people. The benefits of branding are the ability to make the product recognizable and different from similar ones and the increase of product value’s perception.
Chua, A & Banerjee, S 2013, ‘Customer knowledge management via social media: the case of Starbucks’, Journal of Knowledge Management, vol. 17, no. 2, pp. 237‐249.
Dawar, N 2013, ‘When marketing is strategy’, Harvard Business Review, vol. 91, no. 12, pp. 100-108.
Fischer, M, Völckner, F & Sattler, H 2010, ‘How important are brands? A cross-category, cross-country study’, Journal of Marketing Research, vol. 47, no. 5, pp.823-839.
Hakala, U, Lemmetyinen, A & Kantola, S-P 2013, ‘Country image as a nation-branding tool’, Marketing Intelligence and Planning, vol. 31, no. 5, pp. 538-556.
Kapferer, J 2012, ‘Abundant rarity: the key to luxury growth’, Business Horizons, vol. 55, no. 5, pp.453-462.
Kotler, P & Keller, K 2012, Marketing management, 14th edn, Pearson, New York, NY.