Day Two of the CII Brand Conclave in Kolkata had leading expert on branding Kevin Lane Keller discussing in detail Brand Portfolios and Architecture, as well as Brand Growth Strategies.
According to Keller, the three most important architecture issues were defining the brand potential or understanding what the brand’s boundaries were, identifying opportunities to achieve brand potential and organising brand offerings accordingly.
Keller dwelt at length on brand extension strategies. “The aim should be to create a halo or equity over the other products or brands which are an extension of the mother brand,” said Keller. He went on to add, “The more premium the brand, the more is the challenge as to how to stretch the brand to cut across all three tiers of consumers. Although each brand extension will have different market segments, it is important to make the point of difference clear and at the same time maintain a strong bond of parity with the mother brand.”
Keller named Nivea, GE, Nike and Starbucks as very good examples of brand extensions, while among unsuccessful brand extensions, he named Levi’s Dockers. Though a billion-dollar sub-brand, Levi’s Dockers could not support the company’s idea to introduce a Levi’s three piece suit, which bombed at the research stage itself. He also cited the case of Tropicana Juice, where sub-brands with descriptive names confused the buyers. “Therefore, it is necessary to create logical extensions or keep synergy with the mother brand as the consumer always thinks in totality and not in isolation,” stressed Keller.
While presenting the Ten Commandments of Global Branding, he repeatedly emphasized that there were no shortcuts to brand building and that the brand must maintain consistency. The other important points in his Ten Commandments were balance, standardisation and customisation.
Also the company must get the product positioning right and if the positioning was inconsistent then it was very difficult for consumers to internalise the brand. “Starbucks was built on word of mouth and it is one of the most successful global brands in the last 15 years,” Keller said. He then presented an audio-visual case study on Starbucks that highlighted the criticality of interventions both at the product level and at the market development level.
Over 250 brand and marketing managers from corporate houses and leading advertising agencies attended the two-day CII Brand Conclave in Kolkata.