Dhaka, Bangladesh
Brand personality A brand element that needs nurturing

Brand personality A brand element that needs nurturing

Sabbir Hossein Khan

According to Mr. Philip Kotler, the legendary Marketing Guru worldwide, a Brand is "a name, term, sign, symbol, association, trademark or design (or a combination of these) which is intended to identify the products or services of one provider or group of providers, and to differentiate them from those of competitors. A brand has functional and emotional elements which create a relationship between customers and the product or the service." That means, "BRAND" is something like a character that needs to be understood very elaborately and nurtured accordingly. This is termed as "BRAND PERSONALITY". In Bangladesh, Brand is often mistaken by a product or service. Widely, people wrongly perceive Brand as a particular product or a service in our country because of lack of knowledge about Brand and other basics of Marketing. For example, there's a widely mistaken perception about Marketing in Bangladesh as "Sales". Marketing is a process or combination of activities to promote your product or service of a particular Brand or even the Brand itself. The process is more relating to Business Development as a whole rather than just enhancing your revenue portfolio. Marketing has two basic parts; Brand Marketing & Trade Marketing. Sales Marketing is a part of Trade Marketing activities. Brand, in reality is more like a person, a character which can define the personality of your organization. The Image of the organization in the respective Industry is defined by a Brand Personality. Like, Bill Chiaravalle & Barbara Findlay Schenck, two renowned writers say "Your brand character is like the personality of your brand. Some brands are serious or even somber, and some are whimsical, fun, or playful. Some brands are youthful, and some are like silver-haired sages." Brand is a very sensitive asset of any organization. It must be nurtured with a lot of care, caution and efficiency. A Brand demonstrates the true image of the organization in the related Industry as well as among the target audience, i.e. customers & other stakeholders. Nurtured and maintained badly, a Brand can be ruined and the organizational image can be devastated in the market at large. In most cases, positive Brand Image takes the organization ahead by enhancing the organization's Brand Value and contributing to establish a strong Brand Equity. Most of the times, Products or Services of a company are chosen on the basis of its strong Brand Image. People like to believe that a strong Brand will never deceive its customers & other stakeholders. This is called Brand Recognition. This has to be established by a series of activities in favor of your Brand. Such as, Brand Promotion activities by way of Billboards, Hoardings, Island Branding, etc. visibility tools, sponsoring Sports, Health, Educational, Cultural, etc. Nation building activities, Donation of various kinds to different distressed & handicapped community of people, etc. are very common Brand Promotion Activities to establish strong Brand Recognition among its customers & other stakeholders. Establishing a Brand, creating high Brand Value followed by strong Brand Equity through a series of Brand Promotion activities is comparatively easier in Bangladesh; because, it's a u Page 32 Brand personality From Page 30 small country with nearly 200mn population. Catching people's eyes is easier through visibility tools. More than that, defining target audience for your brand is convenient here. It has larger demographic communities to tap for your Brand; you can easily find customers of all ages and all walks of life. We are currently enjoying the Population Dividend in our economy that will continue till year 2041; this means we have more people who can earn and spend more. People of the country are very receptive to Brands if they deliver products and services as per promised quality or even they can somehow prove that it's a Strong & Sustainable Brand. As said earlier that a Brand needs sensitive nurturing. And nurtured with proper care a Brand develops a character that attracts mass customers' segments toward its products and services. The new 3Ps of Marketing, i.e. Positioning, Packaging and Planet contributes heavily to form a Brand's Personality stronger. Brand Positioning is one of the most important tools for a Brand's existence in a market. Positioning defines how your Brand stands out among thousands of others'. This is usually done by a series of activities called Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC). IMC includes Advertising, e.g. Above-The-Line(ATL) and Below-The-Line(BTL); Sales Promotion, e.g. Trade Marketing Campaigns; Personal Selling, e.g. Direct Sales; Direct Mailer, e.g. email marketing; Public Relations and Website. These things are interrelated; an effective execution of IMC will land with a strong Brand Personality for the organization and demonstrate the strength of its Brand Image when required, i.e. in the business development efforts. Caring for the universe is a very common phenomenon today. Corporate Social Responsibility [CSR] has become one of the most popular differentiating factors among the brands of the world. CSR is basically based upon the idea of saving the PLANET by contributing to environment, education, poverty alleviation, sports, health, etc.; concisely, saving the earth & developing the human capital of the universe; that's the denotation of Planet. There are some unique activities that make your Brand stand out among hundreds of companies in the country. Such as, Mercantile Bank's Award to elite personalities of the country for their lifetime contribution to Nation Building activities, e.g. education, arts & culture, agricultural research, liberation war, economics, & so forth; or MBL Young Bankers' Appreciation Award for finding out most brilliant Bankers & future Banking Leaders in the country; Education Scholarships by Prime, Mercantile, Dutch Bangla Bank for meritorious poor students; Nursing Institute & Eye Hospital by Prime Bank, HSBC Export Awards, and so on. Besides, educational activities / programs like Ispahani Banglabid, PHP Quran-er-Aalo, etc. These kinds of activities truly demonstrate the strong Brand Personality that builds Brand Awareness followed by a high Brand Value for the organization. High Brand Value creates Brand Sense among the mass customers & stakeholders. It spreads a Brand Essence all over and creates a sort of Brand Loyalty among the people. The beneficial gesture of the Brand encourages mass people to repose their trust on the company. Thus Business Development efforts of the company achieve greater success. But the most important thing it builds is an impression of beneficial character of the Brand among the mass customers' segments. Packaging denotes presentation of the product or service. The visible part of the product or service is very crucial for their accessibility in the competition among the other products & services in the industry. For a bank, packaging demonstrates the Service Design in terms of account opening forms, other service application forms, stationery, etc. that are used by the customers. The forms, documentations, etc. visible service materials speak about the organization's rank in the industry. They contribute to the higher positioning of the banking brand. Lucrative, eye catching, nicely presented banking forms or stationery attract customers toward the bank; because they create a sense of prestige among the customers. Customers of a smart bank with smartly dressed manpower, colorful, well designed & high quality stationery and documentation materials, smartly decorated office premises, love to recommend the bank to other prospective customers as a matter of their prestige. Packaging creates a strong Brand Recall. It enables very strong Word of Mouth (WoM) marketing for the brand. Same thing may happen for a product also. A high quality product may be disregarded for its poor packaging; on the contrary, a less quality product may be recommended & preferred by the customers for its customer centric packaging. Thus, Packaging is very effective & efficient way of attracting customers toward a brand, create strong brand recognition and finally build high Brand Value. This ultimately gives impression of a rich Brand Personality. Apart from the above mentioned activities, some very common, effective and popular ways to build and maintain a strong Brand Personality are: Use of Colors - using particular colors or shades relating to its Logo or Name, etc. regularly to establish a Brand Essence to the mass customers' segments. Media Management Behavior - use of extensive or moderate or poor media demonstrates the level of sensitivity of the Brand Personality. Branding Activities - aggressive or moderate or poor branding activities display the Brand's gesture toward market share of Brand Recognition. Donation, Sponsorship to community/social causes, and establishing secondary brand associations by signing MOUs, etc. are also very common ways of growing strong and sustainable Brand Personality. To conclude, building Brand Personality is one of the vital factors of managing a Brand; beyond its products or services, the Brand Personality of a Brand establishes strong Brand Equity resulting in a high Brand Value in the Industry. Be a Bank, Financial Institution or FMCG company, Brand Personality builds the required Brand Recognition among the mass customers' segments. And that contributes to the overall business development success of the organization. Therefore, Brand Personality, one way or the other, directly affects / influences the existence of any Brand in the Market The Author, Brand Manager, Mercantile Bank Limited

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