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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imitation.
Two methods exist.
The first works on the legal definition: the
imitation is illegal if it is likely to create
confusion in a consumer of average atten-
tiveness. There are two techniques capable of
demonstrating such a risk of confusion,
without actually asking customers directly
whether they would be confused by the
copycat (an invalid method). The first is the
use of a tachistoscope, which \u2018flashes\u2019 a
picture of the copy at consumers, first at high
speed, then at slower speeds. They are then
simply asked to describe or name what they
have seen (Kapferer, 1995b), and the number
of times the copy is mistaken for the original
is measured. The second method is to start
with a computer-degraded image of the copy,
FROM PR IVATE LABELS TO STORE BRANDS 87
and to build it up, step by step, using
computer software. Consumers indicate what
they think they can see on the computer
screen (Kapferer, 1995a). These two tech-
niques produce a working imitation of
consumers of average attentiveness, either by
limiting the length of their exposure to the
product, and then increasing it (the tachisto-
scope) or by presenting low-resolution
pictures (computer method) and steadily
increasing the resolution. Using the first
method, we have found confusion scores of
40 per cent.
The second approach ignores the legal
concept of confusion. Indeed, although they
pay lip service to it in their rulings, judges do
not truly use the concept of confusion.
Rather, they concentrate on excessive
manifest resemblance. They pay more
attention to resemblances and less to differ-
ences (as advanced by the imitator\u2019s lawyer).
Objective proof of an excessive resemblance
can be obtained by asking one group of
consumers to describe the original, and then
asking an identical group of consumers to
describe the copy. An analysis is made of
which aspects were mentioned first, second,
third and so on, for each of the two products,
and the level of agreement between the
aspects stated first by each group.
Once these results on the reality of the pre-
judice have been obtained, contact with the
distributor must be made at a high managerial
level in order to emphasise the seriousness of
the matter. Furthermore, this is the level at
which long-term interests are best appre-
ciated. The distributor needs big brands, a
dynamic aspect to its store shelves, the value
innovations the brands bring to the category
and the margins they give the distributor. The
manufacturer needs the distributor to gain
access to the customer. At lower managerial
levels, the producer\u2013distributor relationship is
more antagonistic. The outcome of such
contact is the modification of the trade dress
or packaging of the distributor\u2019s disputed
products.
In general terms, brand management must
plan for these phenomena and put the brand
in a position to be able to defend itself
strongly. Thus, in order for a brand colour to
be defensible, the brand itself must also
defend it internally. For example, the brand\u2019s
product lines are very often segmented: this
leads to the use of different colours to identify
each segment. In this way, the ability to claim
that the brand is characterised by a particular
colour is reduced. Thus, if a Coke label is red,
and a Diet Coke label is silver, red is no longer
the colour of the Coca-Cola brand: after all,
when producing their own colas, distributors
always start by producing red packaging.
In general terms, the brand must become a
moving target through innovation and
regular modifications to its packaging and its
characteristic components. However, it must
always be remembered that the aim of these
modifications is to bring more value to the
consumer. The difficulty that this permanent
movement creates for copies is a secondary
effect.
On the design front, the brand must accen-
tuate and radicalise the signs of its own indi-
viduality, in order to be able to defend them
better, and at the same time make them recog-
nisable to consumers of average attentiveness.
It is significant that the often-imitated Bailey\u2019s
goes as far as to print the word \u2018Original\u2019 twice
on its front label: \u2018Original Irish Cream\u2019 and
\u2018Bailey\u2019s the original\u2019.
Re-communicating the risks
Asian imports, DOBs and discount products
enter first into the categories with low
perceived risk. A first reaction is to remind
people of the risks, to regenerate involvement
in the category. For example, in 2005 one
book became the talk of France, despite its size
and its forbidding cover, which showed two
nutritionists (Cohen and Serog, 2006). The
whole press talked about it, and television
devoted time to it. In fact, this book revealed a
truth that big distribution would much prefer
88 WHY IS BRANDING SO STRATEGIC?
to keep hidden: the lowest-price products are
not good for your health. The drastic
reduction in price is made by forcing through
awkward compromises, where client health
and pleasure hardly enter into the equation.
All that matters is the price. This is where we
learnt that low-cost gingerbread contains no
honey, and so on.
Bic did something similar in 2006 among
tobacconists. The brand is known as the
leader in disposable cigarette lighters,
disposable razors, ballpoint pens and so on. It
practises a single umbrella brand policy:
everything is sold under the same name, Bic.
It is essentially a company based on its sales
force. In Europe, the disposable lighters
division, strengthened by its market share,
lived on its reputation and spent nothing on
advertising. This prudent budgeting, however,
had a drawback: for years, there had been
nothing to communicate to customers why
they should prefer a Bic lighter. In fact, until
then, in service stations and tobacconists,
there had been nothing but Bic. In 2004
Chinese products arrived, under the PROF
brand, which retailers bought 50 per cent
cheaper than Bic and sold for the same price
as a Bic lighter. The increased margin for the
retailers was such that they now sold nothing
but PROF. Moreover, Chinese products were
more fun and their decorations changed three
times a year. The end consumers made no
complaint \u2013 they were happy to find some-
thing new on the shelves, with more enter-
taining products.
The decision was made to recreate the
perceived risk. Chinese lighters are in fact
dangerous: for example, they can explode if
left on the rear shelf of a car. This does not
happen with Bic lighters, which are products
of remarkable quality. The problem is that in
marketing, perception is reality. By not
communicating the advantages of the
product, Bic had admittedly made savings,
but it had weakened the brand and paved the
way for Chinese imports, chosen by the trade,
which was unconscious of the considerably
higher safety of a Bic and the danger of
Chinese lighters. Bic created a magazine for its
distributors in order to put the word out, and
remind them of their legal responsibility if a
Chinese lighter sold by one of them were to
cause physical harm to a client. At the same
time, it took action to raise the level of the
criteria for approval for sale on European
territory.
Price reductions
Faced with a decrease in their market share,
producers are conscious that their brand no
longer justifies the price differential that it
offers on the shelf. It is tempting to reduce the
price in order to restore the lost balance of
perceived value and price.
This approach is logical, but carries several
drawbacks. There is nothing easier than
lowering prices. What will they do when an
even cheaper Asian competitor appears?
Lower them again \u2013 taking the money from
which budget? Should it not be a question of
recreating value by increasing quality and
price? Also in many stores, the consumers do
not even walk past the big brands: for them,
the brand is too expensive by definition! They
would not even