Florence Griffith Joyner may have been in a rather sporty
frame of mind when asked this question. What he may not have realized that his
words of wisdom apply to a broader spectrum, and have a lesson hidden in them
should be obvious to marketers.
Focus — is the key word. Focusing on the present enables
one to predict the future. However, fact that is even more significant is that
focusing on your present brand and narrowing down the product line helps
marketers capitalize and specialize on their expertise. It is through sheer
focus on donuts, their consumption patterns, their preferences and presentation
styles, etc. that has led Dunkin Donut to become a global brand. At home, its
focusing that enables Rooh-e- Afza do for Hamdard which other competitors still
have not been able to do. Ever wondered why another line extension of Rooh-e-
Afza has never been launched? Imagine seeing Rooh-e-Afza shelved as a yellow,
green, orange sherbet? The brand has earned wide recognition among its
contemporaries and consumers. Yet, the marketer never tried to play up on the
brand name alone and adding extensions to it. A smart move indeed. However,
perhaps that is not what marketers at Levers thought of while extending the
Lifebouy to Lifebouy gold. Certainly not. It was like burning your own ship at
the end of the stream. Killing your own defenses and instead of opting for a
Line extensions are often mistaken for short-term gains
instead of building the brand. Offering a variety of colors, sizes, fragrances,
etc. to the customer may bring easy money in the short run. It often leads a
brand to stand for many things or nothing that eventually results in a confused
brand identity of the brand. Liril, has played the game of line extensions
smartly however. Coming from the same house of brands as Lifebouy, Lever
Brothers of Pakistan, the brand successfully launched Liril Rainfresh Pack in
May 2000 under the master brand. The line extension has in fact given the brand
a boosting in the freshness segment and has strengthened its domain of a segment
— Liril is a sole player of so far.
As noted by Al Ries and Laura Ries, what branding builds,
sub-branding can destroy. Marketers in their lust to enter new markets and
develop new products to cater to those markets find it convenient to invent a
sub brand. Ideal case in point is Suzuki Motors. There need to enter the upscale
market led to the creation and launching of Baleno — the 1.5 liter car. Baleno
being a sub-brand, the product had to be taken of the market days after its
launch due to technical faults. Only to be followed by a re-launch of Baleno as
the ultimate luxury car. However, even with their much hype entry in the upper
scale market, consumers still associate the master brand, Suzuki, that offers
compact and economical cars — which are value for money indeed!
The world of branding has developed over the years in
Pakistan where this field was not much heard of. Typical marketing jargons such
as brand loyalty, brand users, brand image, brand personality, etc. are widely
acknowledged and talked of. Yet even today with a few exceptions in the
industry, these concepts remain alive theoretically alone. The prime goal of a
marketer remains adapting the business strategy rather than planning a brand
strategy and ensuring that the brand should stand for something meaningful in
the eyes of the consumer.
After all a brand could be a name, a symbol, a noun, an
adjective, a sign only. But it has to be something that has a meaning attached
to it and can be easily recalled. A meaning that the marketer can successfully
communicate over to millions of prospective and present users. Many users of
brands in Pakistan use the brand for reasons they do not know. Many consumers
buying a brand out of habit rather than the brand influence. A major set back
for any brand.
The term marketing can be used synonymously with branding.
Brands can never be created in air-conditioned multi-storied buildings. They are
created at the very bottom. They are initiated from the bottom as needs are
monitored by active marketers, industries monitored, and propositions drawn.
That is exactly how they should be kept alive.
By keeping in touch with how the end users perceive them and
why do they perceive them in this fashion. Narrowing down the focus and
concentrating on what the brand has to offer helps the marketers better utilize
the resources at hand to cater to the needs and beat the competition. Companies
need to realize that bigger is not always better. Above all, brand building is
not a quantitative process, measuring its success quantitatively such as in
terms of sales is not a bright idea at all. And this is the exact dilemma of
many marketers. Since at the end of the day businesses are out there to make
Then success stories of leading brands making it big and
raking profits are substantial enough to shut those who believe in branding for
short-term gains. Brand building has made Surf a generic product, and not just a
name. You know its branding at it best when you want to get a few papers,
"Xeroxed" or "FedExed". Imagine how stupid you would sound
saying, "get a few papers Cannoned", you wouldn't dare would you?
The local economy may be in a recession. The disposable
incomes low, living conditions deteriorating with the passage of time, the
threat of Pakistan defaulting may linger on, but this has not stopped leading
brands such as McDonalds, KFC, Intel, Toyota, and more recently Levi's and Nike
from coming to Pakistan. P&G and Lever Brothers continue to invest and
compete among each other. Launching aggressive marketing campaigns, introducing
new products to the market that does not seem to have enough of everything and
anything. An average Pakistani has his/her taste of preferences — brands that
they prefer to use, can relate and associate themselves with. After all the
other name of a brand in a lay man's language is trust. For some eating out
Sabri's is fun, while other's prefer sophisticated restaurants such as Copper
Kettle, TGIF, etc. Consumers may have their set of preferences for detergents.
Here, too, Surf that was initially a brand name has successfully become a
generic product (A classic case of branding at its best), a cola is a cola —
be it Pepsi-Cola or Coca-Cola.
Lastly, branding is not just confined to huge organizations.
It starts from a bookstore at the corner of your street to big brands that pay
astronomical prices for airtime to create awareness among the target markets. As
long as the brand is able to focus on the present product/service that it has to
offer and delivers the promise it makes to its customers which wins their trust,
an eventual brand image development and winning brand loyals!