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Strategic Brand Management

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Graphically representing the overall system of the brand

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Graphically representing the overall system of the brand

The brand must therefore be thought of as a concept, whose meaning unifies the products and distinguishes them from the competition. It is only expressed through its products, communications and activities in stores and other aspects. It is important to understand the overall system set-up, by mapping all the products seen as expressions of the brand, placed according to their distance from the central values of the brand. In Figure below, we have mapped out the current Mars system. This exercise is necessary to avoid a common pitfall: a system that is empty at its centre.

Organisation of Mars masterbrand and products

It is possible, in fact, for everyone to be conscious of the values of the parent brand (also known as the masterbrand) but for no product of the range to assume these values 100 per cent and become the prototype. What is often found is a situation where the brand has three distinctive facets A, B and C; certain products carry value A, others B, and the third group facet C. This situation, however, does nothing to build the brand up with values A, B and C.

The brand is not an average, the sum of disparate discourses. It is built up in image and sales through successive products. These must be bearers of all the core values. Admittedly it is possible to place a stronger emphasis on this or that facet, but all the facets must be well and truly present. Thus the premium line ‘Club de Lacoste’ does indeed emphasise elegance, but also activates the two other central brand values, comfort and naturalness.