Relation between Product and Brand Strategy

As Branding is a set of marketing and communication methods that help to distinguish a company from competitors and create a lasting impression in the minds of customers,  the key components that form a brand’s toolbox include:

  • brand’s identity,
  • brand communication (such as by logos and trademarks),
  • brand awareness,
  • brand loyalty,
  • brand strategy.

In fashion and luxury industries branding is key in order to deliver tangible and intangible benefits to the consumer.

Fashion and Luxury can be considered symbol-intensive industries: we buy products not only for what the product does, but mainly for what the product stands for, for its symbolic meaning (especially in luxury industry!)

Brand Strategy

in any industry the brand is a promise made to the customer about certain benefits. It can be Functional or tangible and Emotional intangible.

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Functional benefits are:

  • Performance
  • Safety
  • Durability

Emotional benefits are:

  • Status
  • Fun
  • Pleasure
  • Coolness

Also Brand Strategy has 6 Key elements to consider:

  1. Target audience
  2. Brand promise (the message that speaks to your target audience – What to expect from purchasing?)
  3. Brand perception (What do customers think of brand? What brand wants them to think?
  4. Brand values (for eg: excellence, innovation, expertise)
  5. Brand positioning (the position that a brand holds or wants to hold in the mind of the customer)
  6. brand voice (brand’s personality)

According to interpretation proposed by David Aaker, vice chairman of marketing consultancy agency Prophet, customers usually are far from rational, so strategies based on functional benefits in fashion might be ineffective or limiting. Customers may not believe that a brand has functional advantages. Second, if such benefit is present in a brand and it differentiates it from another customers, it might be rapidly copied by any competitor in the market. Third, functional benefits  do not represent a long-term relationship with a brand, because there is no emotional attachment. Thats how we can understand about importance of Emotional benefits, and we should consider such benefits as a basis for the value proposition.

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Emotional Benefits

It relates to the ability of the brand to make the customer feel something during the purchase process

  1. Emotional Auto-directed benefits respond to a need for personal gratification of the individual. You identify this benefits if you answer question: “When i buy or use this brand i feel…”

“Emotional benefits add richness and depth to the brand and the experience of owning and using the brand.” David Aaker

2. Self-expressive (Hetero-directed) benefits meet the need of the customer to express its personality in a social context. The question is “When i buy or use this brand I am…” Typical category of benefits in fashion and luxury industry to make the customer feel more successful and unique.

3. Social benefits that allow person to express more than just individual aspects of customers personality – the belonging to a certain lifestyle, responding to the human need of self-actualization, feeling part of community with common attitudes, opinions and interests. Question to answer is “When i buy or use this brand, the types of people i relate to are…”

Providing both functional and emotional benefits is more effective than just one of the two, and this finding could probably be generalized with the right research in aspiring to deliver multiple benefits.

Classification of Luxury and Fashion Brands by Benefits and Product Scope

Luxury and fashion brands can be classified according to the type of benefits offered to the customer and their product scope in terms of number of market segments or range of product categories.

The product scope can be narrow or wide and it depends on the number of categories served by the brand:

  • age
  • gender
  • price range
  • product categories, such as shoes, apparel
  • occasions of use

According to the kind of benefit offered and competitive scope brands can acquire a different identity:

  • Authority brand
  • Iconic brand
  • Lifestyle brand
  • Cult brand
  • Solution brand

This classification has been introduced by Stefania Saviolo and Antonio Marazza in the book ‘Lifestyle Brands – A Guide to Inspirational Marketing’ , it presents full research about analyzing a brand’s choices in terms of competitive scope (number of targets and categories served) and type of benefits provided to the customer. Researchers have noted superior economic and financial performances in brands capable of engaging people or influencing a social context proposing an original point of view, as clients tend to become ambassadors, fans, champions, that find the brand fundamental or irreplaceable in their lives.

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