Branding Advice from The Intelligence Factory

As we enter into the new millennium, brands are facing increased competition and new pressures brought on by an increasingly global economy. According to one study, consumers' allegiance to major brands has dropped from 80% to 60% during an eight-year period.

"As the world continues to 'shrink,' brands must expand their marketing outlooks to cater to a global consumer, while also paying careful attention to those differences that continue to set consumer segments apart," says Ira Matathia, CEO, The Intelligence Factory.

"The advice of major players who have successfully developed global brand leaders is invaluable to marketers trying to create brand equity among modern consumers."

"Successful branding is both an art and a science," comments Dannielle Blumenthal, Ph.D., The Intelligence Factory VP and editorial director. "It's about thinking big, while at the same time recognizing that every detail counts. There are proven techniques for creating a brand that sings, and success is all about mastering them."

Blumenthal notes that there are many reasons a consumer will initially purchase and then continue to use a particular brand. Gaining that loyalty in a saturated marketplace is a key component to brand success. So it's no surprise that in the past 10 years the branding process has gone from the periphery of marketing to its very center. And whether a consumer is driven toward a brand by his or her heart or head, differentiation is key.

Among the factors The Intelligence Factory suggests marketers keep top of mind in creating a brand:

CLARITY: Due to the sheer vastness of product choices, consumers confuse the promises of one brand with another and are unclear which of the myriad of items at their fingertips best satisfies their need of the moment. Define the brand's promise clearly and explain how it stands out from the rest of the pack.

STATUS: In today's economy, people are becoming "commoditized" - seen as an undifferentiated mass of "consumers," "citizens," "soccer moms," and so on. Not coincidentally, products, in turn, are being engineered to take on the qualities of people. Possessing the right "things" can transfer desired qualities to the owner. Successful brands convince the consumer that she can be as independent, free, and savvy as the wireless phone she carries and as authentic as the running shoes on her feet.

CARE: Brands have the power to provide consumers with a level of personal care and consideration that may otherwise be lacking in today's increasingly depersonalized culture. Especially where choice proliferates, quality customer service takes on a far more important role.

IDENTITY: One of the primary goals of branding is to lead a group of consumers to identify with one another on an emotional basis. Brand attributes should be spelled out in a way that defines the group as a whole.

EVOLUTION: As culture and needs continually evolve, brands must change in order to remain effecti

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