11 New Strategic Brand Management by Philip Kotler   4th Edition
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11 New Strategic Brand Management by Philip Kotler 4th Edition

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bility, brand B practicality and brand C inno-
vation: the spirit of each brand will be
especially noticeable in certain specific
products, those most representative or typical
of the brand meaning. They are the brand\u2019s
Figure 2.3 The product and the brand
Branded product
Brand aspiration Product satisfaction
Brand\u2019s intangible
values and imagery
Product\u2019s visible and
differentiating characteristics
\u2018prototype\u2019 products. Each product range thus
must contain products demonstrating the
brand\u2019s guiding value and obsession, flagships
for the brand\u2019s meaning and purpose.
Renault, for instance, is best epitomised by its
top minivans, Nina Ricci by its entrancing
evening gowns, Lacoste by its shirts, Sony by
its Walkmans and digital pocket cameras.
However, there are some products within a
given line that do not manage to clearly express
the brand\u2019s intent and attributes. In the tele-
vision industry, the cost constraints at the low
end of the range are such that trying to manu-
facture a model radically different from the
next-door neighbour\u2019s is quite difficult. But, for
economic reasons, brands are sometimes forced
to take a stake in this very large and overall
highly competitive market. Likewise, each bank
has had to offer its own savings plan, identical
to that of all other banks. All these similar
products, though, should only represent a
limited aspect of each brand\u2019s offer (see Figure
2.4). All in all, each brand stays in focus and
progresses in its own direction to make original
products. That is why communicating about
such products is so important, as they reveal the
brand\u2019s meaning and purpose.
The problem arises when brands within the
same group overlap too much, with one
preventing the other from asserting its
identity. Using the same motors in Peugeots
and Citroëns would harm Peugeot, built on
the \u2018dynamic car\u2019 image. It is when several
brands sell the same product that a brand can
become a caricature of itself. In order to
compete against Renault\u2019s Espace and
Chrysler\u2019s Voyager, neither Peugeot or Citroën,
Fiat or Lancia could take the economic risk of
building a manufacturing plant on their own;
neither could Ford or Volkswagen. A single
minivan was made for the first four brands.
Similarly, a Ford\u2013Volkswagen plant in Portugal
was set to produce a common car. The
outcome, however, is that in producing a
common vehicle, the brand becomes reduced
to a mere external gadget. The identity
message was simply relegated to the shell. So
each brand has had to exaggerate its outward
appearance in order to be easily recognised.
Advertising products through
the brand prism
Products are mute: the brand gives them
meaning and purpose, telling us how a
Meaning and direction of brand A Meaning and direction of brand B
Meaning and direction of brand C
Products common
to all three brands
Figure 2.4 Product line overlap among brands
product should be read. A brand is both a
prism and a magnifying glass through which
products can be decoded. BMW invites us to
perceive its models as \u2018cars for man\u2019s pleasure\u2019.
On the one hand, brands guide our perception
of products. On the other hand, products send
back a signal that brands use to underwrite
and build their identity. The automobile
industry is a case in point, as most technical
innovations quickly spread among all brands.
Thus the ABS system is offered by Volvo as
well as by BMW, yet it cannot be said that they
share the same identity. Is this a case of brand
inconsistency? Not at all: ABS has simply
become a must for all.
However, brands can only develop through
long-term consistency, which is both the
source and reflection of its identity. Hence the
same ABS will not bear the same meaning for
two different car-makers. For Volvo, which
epitomises total safety, ABS is an utter
necessity serving the brand\u2019s values and obses-
sions: it encapsulates the brand\u2019s essence.
BMW, which symbolises high-performance,
cannot speak of ABS in these terms: it would
amount to denying the BMW ideology and
value system which has inspired the whole
organisation and helped generate the famous
models of the Munich brand. BMW intro-
duced ABS as a way to go faster. Likewise, how
did the safety-conscious brand, Volvo, justify
its participation in the European leisure car
championships? By saying \u2018We really test our
products so that they last longer.\u2019
The minivans that Peugeot, Citroën, Fiat
and Lancia have in common has left only one
role for the respective brands to play: to
enhance its association with the intrinsic
values of the respective\u2019s brand \u2013 imagination
and escape for Citroën, quality driving and
reliability for Peugeot, high class and flair for
Lancia, practicality for Fiat. (See Figure 2.5.)
Thus brand identity never results from a
detail, yet a detail can, once interpreted, serve
to express a broader strategy. Details can only
have an impact on a brand\u2019s identity if they
are in synergy with it, echoing and amplifying
the brand\u2019s values. That is why weak brands
do not succeed in capitalising on their inno-
vations: they do not manage either to
enhance the brand\u2019s meaning or create that
all-important resonance.
A brand is thus a prism helping us to
decipher products. It defines what and how
much to expect from the products bearing its
name. An innovation which would be
considered very original for a Fiat, for
instance, will be considered commonplace
for a Ford. However, though insufficient
engine power may scarcely have been an
issue for many car-makers, for Peugeot it is a
major problem. It disavows Peugeot\u2019s deeply-
Figure 2.5 Brands give innovations meaning and purpose
ZETA (Lancia):
ULYSSE (Fiat):
EVASION (Citroën):
806 (Peugeot):
rooted identity and frustrates the expecta-
tions that have been raised. It would be at
odds with what should be called Peugeot\u2019s
\u2018brand obligations\u2019.
In fact, consumers rarely evaluate innova-
tions in an isolated way, but in relation to a
specific brand. Once a brand has chosen a
specific positioning or meaning, it has to
assume all of its implications and fulfil its
promises. Brands should respect the contract
that made them successful by attracting
customers. They owe it to them.
Brands and other signs of quality
In many sectors, brands coexist with other
quality signs. The food industry, for instance,
is also filled with quality seals, certificates of
norm compliance and controlled origin and
guarantees. The proliferation of these other
signs results from a double objective: to
promote and to protect.
Certifications of origin (eg real Scotch
whisky) are intended to protect a branch of
agriculture and products whose quality is
deeply rooted in a specific location and
know-how. The controlled origin guarantee
capitalises on a subjective and cultural
conception of quality, coupled with a touch
of mystery and of the area\u2019s unique character.
It segments the market by refusing the certifi-
cation of origin to any goods that have not
been produced within a certain area or raised
in the traditional way. Thus in Europe since
2003, Feta cheese has been a name tied to a
controlled Greek origin. Even if Danish or
French cheese-makers were to produce a \u2018feta\u2019
cheese elsewhere that buyers were unable to
tell apart from the feta cheese made in Greece
in the traditional way, their products can no
longer lay claim to the name \u2018feta\u2019.
Quality seals are promotional tools. They
convey a different concept of quality, which is
both more industrial and scientific. In this
respect, a given type of cheese,