Brands act as a genetic programme

A brand does in fact act as a genetic programme. What is done at birth exerts along-lasting influence on market perceptions. Indeed revitalising a brand often starts with reidentifyingits forgotten genetic programme. Table below shows how brands are built and exert a long-term influence on customer’smemories, which in turn influence their expectations, attitudes and degree of satisfaction.

In the life of a brand, although they may have been forgotten, the early acts have a very structuring influence. In fact they mould the first and long-lasting meaning of this new word that designates Brand X or Brand Y.Once learnt, this meaning gets reinforced and stored in long-term memory. Then a number of selective processes reinforce the meaning:selective attention, selective perception, selective memory.

This is why brand images are hard to change: they act like fast-setting concrete.

This process has many important managerial consequences. When going international, each country reproduces it. It is of prime importance to define the products to be launched in relationship with the image one wants to create in the long term. Too often they are chosen by local agents just because they will sell very well.They must do both: build the business and build the brand. Brand management introduces long-term effects as criteria for evaluating the relevance of short-term decisions.

The brand as genetic programme

New generations discover the brand at different points in time. Some discovered Ford through the Model T, others through the Mustang, others through the Mondeo, others through the Focus. No wonder brand images differ from one generation to another.

The memory factor also partly explains why individual preferences endure: within a given generation, people continue, even 20 year slater, to prefer the brands they liked between the ages of 7 and 18.

It is precisely because a brand is the memory of the products that it can act as along-lasting and stable reference. Unlike advertising, in which the last message seen is often the only one that truly registers and is best recalled, the first actions and message of abrand are the ones bound to leave the deepest impression, thereby structuring long-term perception.

In this respect, brands create acognitive filter: dissonant and atypical aspects are declared unrepresentative, thus discounted and forgotten. That is why failures in brand extensions on atypical products do not harm the brand in the end even though they do unsettle the investor’s trust in the company (Loken and Roedder John, 1993).Bic’s failure in perfume is a good example. Making perfumes is not typical of the know Bic as perceived by consumers: sales of ball pens, lighters and razors kept on increasing.

Ridding itself of atypical, dissonant elements, a brand acts as a selective memory, hence endowing people’s perceptions with an illusion of permanence and coherence. That is why a brand is less elastic than its products.Once created, like fast-setting concrete it is hard to change. Hence the critical importance of defining the brand platform. What brand meaning does one want to create?

A brand is both the memory and the future of its products. The analogy with the genetic programme is central to understanding how brands function and should be managed .Indeed, the brand memory that develops contains the programmer for all future evolution, the characteristics of upcoming models and their common traits, as well as the family resemblances transcending their diverse personalities.

By understanding ab rand’s programmer, we can not only trace its legitimate territory but also the area in which it will be able to grow beyond the products that initially gave birth to it. The brand’underlying programmer indicates the purpose and meaning of both former and future products. How then can one identify this programme, the brand DNA?

If it exists, this programme can be discovered by analyzing the brand’s founding acts: products, communication and the most significant actions since its inception. If guideline or an implicit permanence exists, then it must show through. Research on brand identity has a double purpose: toenails the brand’s most typical production on the one hand and to analyse the reception, ie the image sent back by the market, on the other.

The image is indeed a memory in itself, so stable that it is difficult to modify it in the short run. This stability results from the selective perception described above. It also has a function: to create long-lasting references guiding consumers among the abundant supply of consumer goods. That is the reason a company should never turn away from its identity, which alone has managed to attract buyers.

Customer loyalty is created by respecting the brand features that initially seduced the buyers. If the products slacken off, weaken or show a lack of investment and thus no longer meet customer expectations, better try to meet them again than to change expectations. In order to build customer loyalty and capitalize on it, brands must stay true to themselves. This is called a return to the future.

Questioning the past, trying to detect the brand’s underlying programme, does not mean ignoring the future: on the contrary, it is a way of better preparing for it by giving it roots, legitimacy and continuity. The mistake is to embalm the brand and to merely repeat in the present what it produced in the past, like the new VW Beetle and other retro-innovations. Infighting competition, a brand’s products must always belong intrinsically to their time, but in their very own way. Rejuvenating Burberrys or Helena Ruben stein means connecting them to modernity, not mummifying them in deference to a past splendor that we might wish to revive.

Strategic Brand Management Related Practice Tests

Strategic Management Practice Tests
Brand Equity In Question What Is A Brand? Differentiating Between Brandassets, Strength And Value Tracking Brand Equity Goodwill: The Convergence Of Finance And Marketing How Brands Create Value For The Customer How Brands Create Value For The Company Corporate Reputation And The Corporate Brand Strategic Implications Of Branding What Does Branding Really Mean? Permanently Nurturing The Difference Brands act as a genetic programme Respect The Brand ‘contract’ The Product And The Brand Each Brand Needs A Flagship Product Advertising Products Through The Brand Prism Brands And Other Signs Of Quality Obstacles To The Implications Of Branding Brand And Business Building Are Brands For All Companies? Building A Market Leader Without Advertising Brand Building: From Product To Values, And Vice Versa Are Leading Brands The Best Products Or The Best Value? Understanding The Value Curve Of The Target Breaking The Rule And Acting Fast Comparing Brand And Business Models: Cola Drinks From Private Labels To Store Brands Evolution Of The Distributor’s Brand Are They Brands Like The Others? Why Have Distributor's Brands? The Financial Equation Of The Distributor’s Brand The Three Stages Of The Distributor’s Brand The Case Of Decathlon Factors In The Success Of Distributor's Brands Optimising The Dob Marketing Mix The Real Brand Issue For Distributors Competing Against Distributor's Brands Facing The Low-cost Revolution Should Manufacturers Produce Goods For Dob's? Brand Diversity: The Types Of Brands Luxury, Brand And Griffe Service Brands Brand And Nature: Fresh Produce Pharmaceutical Brands The Business-to-business Brand The Internet Brand Country Brands Thinking Of Towns As Brands Universities And Business Schools Are Brands Thinking Of Celebrities As Brands The New Rules Of Brand Management The Limits Of A Certain Type Of Marketing About Brand Equity The New Brand Realities We Have Entered The B To B To C Phase Brand Or Business Model Power? Building The Brand In Reverse? The Power Of Passions Beginning With The Strong 360° Experience Beginning With The Shop The Company Must Be More Human, More Open Experimenting For More Efficiency The Enlarged Scope Of Brand Management Licensing: A Strategic Lever How Co-branding Grows The Business Brand Identity And Positioning Brand Identity: A Necessary Concept Identity And Positioning Why Brands Need Identity And Positioning The Six Facets Of Brand Identity Sources Of Identity: Brand Dna Brand Essence Launching The Brand Launching A Brand And Launching A Product Are Not The Same Defining The Brand’s Platform The Process Of Brand Positioning Determining The Flagship Product Brand Campaign Or Product Campaign? Brand Language And Territory Of Communication Choosing A Name For A Strong Brand Making Creative 360° Communications Work For The Brand Building Brand Foundations Through Opinion Leaders And Communities The Challenge Of Growth In Mature Markets Growth Through Existing Customers Line Extensions: Necessity And Limits Growth Through Innovation Disrupting Markets Through Value Innovation Managing Fragmented Markets Growth Through Cross-selling Between Brands Growth Through Internationalisation Sustaining A Brand Long Term Is There A Brand Life Cycle? Nurturing A Perceived Difference Investing In Communication No One Is Free From Price Comparisons Branding Is An Art At Retail Creating Entry Barriers Defending Against Brand Counterfeiting Brand Equity Versus Customer Equity: One Needs The Other Sustaining Proximity With Influencers Should All Brands Follow Their Customers? Reinventing The Brand: Salomon Adapting To The Market: Identity And Change Bigger Or Better Brands? From Reassurance To Stimulation Consistency Is Not Mere Repetition Brand And Products: Integration And Differentiation Specialist Brands And Generalist Brands Building The Brand Through Coherence Defining The Core Identity Of The Brand Confirming The Presence Of Brand Core Facets In Each Product Identifying The Role Of Each Product Line In The Construction Of The Brand Graphically Representing The Overall System Of The Brand Checking The Coherence Worldwide The Three Layers Of A Brand: Kernel, Codes And Promises Respecting The Brand Dna Managing Two Levels Of Branding Growth Through Brand Extensions What Is New About Brand Extensions? Brand Or Line Extensions? The Limits Of The Classical Conception Of A Brand Why Are Brand Extensions Necessary? Building The Brand Through Systematic Extensions: Nivea Extending The Brand To Internationalize It Identifying Potential Extensions The Economics Of Brand Extension What Research Tells Us About Brand Extensions Avoiding The Risk Of Dilution Balancing Identity And Adaptation To The Extension Market Segments Assessing What Should Not Change: The Brand Kernel Preparing The Brand For Remote Extensions Keys To Successful Brand Extensions Is The Market Really Attractive? An Extension-based Business Model: Virgin How Execution Kills A Good Idea: Easycar Brand Architecture The Key Questions Of Brand Architecture Type And Role Of Brands The Main Types Of Brand Architecture The Flexible Umbrella Brand The Aligning Umbrella Brand (masterbrand) Choosing The Appropriate Branding Strategy New Trends In Branding Strategies Internationalising The Architecture Of The Brand Some Classic Dysfunctions What Name For New Products? Group And Corporate Brands Corporate Brands And Product Brands Multi-brand Portfolios Inherited Complex Portfolios From Single To Multiple Brands: Michelin The Benefits Of Multiple Entries Linking The Portfolio To Segmentation Global Portfolio Strategy The Case Of Industrial Brand Portfolios Linking The Brand Portfolio To The Corporate Strategy Key Rules To Manage A Multibrand Portfolio The Growing Role Of Design In Portfolio Management Does The Corporate Organization Match The Brand Portfolio? Auditing The Portfolio Strategically A Local And Global Portfolio – Nestlé Handling Name Changes And Brand Transfers Brand Transfers Are More Than A Name Change Reasons For Brand Transfers The Challenge Of Brand Transfers When One Should Not Switch Analysing Best Practices Transferring A Service Brand How Soon After An Acquisition Should Transfer Take Place? Managing Resistance To Change Factors Of Successful Brand Transfers Brand Turnaround And Rejuvenation The Decay Of Brand Equity The Factors Of Decline Distribution Factors When The Brand Becomes Generic Preventing The Brand From Ageing Rejuvenating A Brand Growing Older But Not Ageing Managing Global Brands The Latest On Globalisation Patterns Of Brand Globalisation Why Globalise? The Benefits Of A Global Image Conditions Favouring Global Brands The Excess Of Globalisation Barriers To Globalisation Coping With Local Diversity Building The Brand In Emerging Countries Naming Problems Achieving The Delicate Local–global Balance Being Perceived As Local: The New Ideal Of Global Brands? Local Brands Can Strike Back The Process Of Brand Globalisation Globalising Communications: Processes And Problems Making Local Brands Converge Financial Valuation And Accounting For Brands Accounting For Brands: The Debate What Is Financial Brand Equity? Evaluating Brand Valuation Methods Brand Valuation In Practice The Evaluation Of Complex Cases What About The Brand Values Published Annually In The Press? Strategic Brand Management Interview Questions