Building, managing brands in the new age

Published in Marketing Pulse, Philippine Daily Inquirer, August 4, 2017

Brands are not created equal. Some are deemed more valuable than others, with the equity measured as the sum of all the perceptions and feelings toward a particular product or service.

The better the perception, most likely the better the sales.

If cared for properly, brands retain or increase their value through generations.

As long as the brands remain relevant to consumers, they will likely weather shifts in consumer preferences, even in this age of increased use of digital technology.

But brands will have to ride the digital wave and appeal to a new generation that grew up with digital technology.

To this millennial generation, convenience is an important attribute.

The consumer behavior has given birth to a sharing economy as well as new brands propelled by the digital age technology, ably and conveniently delivering commodities, products or services soonest or on demand.

Not all products or services need to be purely digitized, however.

GU, a fast fashion company and a sister retail brand of Uniqlo combines digitization and old school operations.

The name GU, from the word jiyu, means free from high cost. GU uses less of floor sales people and more of oven/dryer like machines serving as self-checkout counters. Customers place their items in the storage box with automatic lock and built in sensors to determine the total amount of the purchased items. An LED screen reveals the total amount. The customer inserts the money into the machine and change forthwith comes simultaneous to the automatic opening of the storage box. Shopping bags and GU shopping bag seals are conveniently placed near the machine for customer use.

GU has 340 stores in Japan, 10 stores in Shanghai and Taiwan and a recently opened store in Hongkong.

Airbnb is both an online marketplace and hospitality service. Airbnb does not own any of the lodgings yet has over 3,000,000 lodging listings in 65,000 cities and 191 countries. Airbnb via its apps has brought about guests and hosts with every booking and earns commissions from both.

It is also recommended that companies reinvent products or services to suit a digital economy.

German brand Adidas is a 68 year old brand, founded in 1949, now known as a hype beast brand crossing sports, lifestyle, street wear and high-fashion. Its innovative Boost technology in footwear, first introduced in 2013 as energy boost then pure boost and in 2015, a full-length ultraboost midsole with primeknit is nearly in every millennial and Gen Z’s sports closet. NMDs and Kanye West’s Yeezy boosts are either a staple or a much-desired model in the case of the latter.

Adidas’ brand value, based on Interbrand’s ranking spurred an increase of 16% in 2016, moving its rank from 62 to 60 at $7.885Bn.

It is also recommended that brands stay focused on their identity. Disney is 94-year old iconic brand founded in 1923. It is ranked 6th as the world’s most valuable brand in 2016. Disney is a diversified mass media and entertainment conglomerate valued at $38.7Bn.

Disney’s first most popular character, Mickey Mouse was introduced in 1928.

Disney is proud of its multitude of characters that have touched the lives of generations of children from Snow white and the seven dwarfs (1937), Pinocchio (1940), Dumbo (1941), Cinderella (1950), Alice in wonderland (1951), Peter Pan (1953), Princess Aurora in Sleeping Beauty (1959), Princess Ariel in The Little Mermaid (1989), Princess Belle in the Beauty and the Beast (1991), Princess Jasmine in Aladdin (1992),The Lion King (1994), Pocahontas (1995), The hunchback of Notre Dame (1996), Mulan (1998), Tarzan (1999), Lilo and Stitch (2002),

The modern era spawned Princess Tiana in the Princess and the Frog (2009), Princess Rapunzel in Tangled (2010) and more recently, feminist Princess Merida in Brave (2012).

Brand owners must also realize that communications is a key element in building and managing brands that should become more relevant in the fourth industrial revolution. Brand owners must work with experts in this area. The key is to find the right people who can determine the most insightful message to remain relevant to consumers.

The writer is an alumna of both Oxford University’s SAID Graduate School of Business Strategic Leadership and Strategic Marketing Executive Education and Stanford Graduate School of Business Strategic Marketing Executive Education. De Asis is also an alumna of the Ateneo Graduate School of Business and a PhD graduate of the De La Salle Graduate School, Taft Campus De Asis is presently the Chief Brand Strategist of MKS Marketing Consulting and Media Agency, a KBP and Management Association Philippines accredited member. Reach the author at karenvdeasis@gmail.com

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