Brand equity is developed when consumers are willing to pay more for a particular brand rather than its generic equivalent. It is important to develop positive brand meaning and people perceptions about brand to create brand equity. In this situation, presented brand by company, external brand communication, consumers experience with brand and company count in a lot to create total brand equity. Companies develop differently effective ways of secondary brand association to build brand equity. In this report, it has been discussed that how various companies develop the secondary brand association like Coca-Cola. The Cola-Cola company manufactures and markets a wide variety of beverages with around 500 nonalcoholic brands of beverages including sparkling and still beverages. The still beverages include water, juices, enhanced waters, juice drinks, coffees, teas, sport drinks and energy drinks. This company has used variety of effective ways to develop secondary brand association to gain brand equity. In the end, report has presented the recommended ways to use secondary brand association more effectively so as to build up powerful brand equity.
SECONDARY BRAND ASSOCIATION:
Secondary brand association is defined as connecting a brand with any other business that may affect the creation of new brand associations with the businesses but also influence existing associations. It is more like a function of marketing-branding. Brand image, brand awareness and brand meaning have their direct impacts on brand equity.
Secondary brand association transmits the equity of various businesses to the brand in consideration. Consumers judge the brand value on the basis of brand elements that are associated directly and primarily with the underlying product, for instance, physical features, packaging and colors, and instrumental characteristics. However, these judgments can also be based on secondary or indirect associations, which refer to associations related to businesses rather than directly connected to judge a product. These businesses include various companies, their countries of origin, distribution channels, spokesperson and brands. The connection of brand to the secondary entity or business causes to create secondary brand associations as this entity has its own image and knowledge structure in the minds of consumers. Therefore, in order to obtain brand value, consumer can borrow information from different information sources instead of a complete product itself. When quality of the product begins to create uniformity or when judgments comprise of low-involvement activities, secondary brand association becomes important. Currently, Keller (1998) described that in order to build well-organized brand building processes in extremely competitive marketplaces, it is mandatory to understand and identify cognitive factors that affect association process and brand-levering process which relates to the effects on consumers caused by associating a brand to a secondary entity.
The Coca-Cola Company is a U.S. based beverage company that was incorporated on 5 September, 1919. The company manufactures and markets a wide variety of beverages with around 500 nonalcoholic brands of beverages including sparkling and still beverages. The still beverages include water, juices, enhanced waters, juice drinks, coffees, teas, sport drinks and energy drinks. The company is widely segmented in Africa and Eurasia, North America, Latin America, Europe, Pacific, Corporate and Bottling Investment.
The Sparkling beverages of Coca-Cola Company count in Coca-Cola, Fanta, Sprite, Coca-Cola Light/ Diet Coke, Coca-Cola Zero, Inca Kola, Barq’s, Thums Up, Fresca and Schweppes. Nos, Burn and Real Gold come under the company’s energy drink categories whereas the category of juices and juice drinks incorporate Minute Maid, Dell Valle, Minute Maid Pulppy, Hi-C, Simply, Dobriy and Cappy. Coca-cola has intensified its still beverages category by adding vitamin water, glaceau and Fuze. On the other hand, teas and coffees segment include a wide range of teas like Leao / Matte Leao teas, Georgia coffees, Nestea teas, Ayataka teas, Dogadan teas and Sokenbicha teas. Its sports drinks include Aquarius and Powerade are its sports drinks. The Company incorporates Dasani, Ciel, Kinley, Bonaqua or Bonaqa, and Ice Dew brands in the category of Coca-Cola’s waters.
Coca-Cola Company operates at international level in more than 200 countries (The Coca-Cola Company a, 2014), due to which its competitors include wide range of strong competitors from around the world. Competitors include Nestle, PepsiCo, Inc., Groupe Danone, Unilever, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Inc. and Kraft Foods Inc. The company’s operations are growing day by day and currently serve 1.9 billion people daily across the world (The Coca-Cola Company a, 2014). Its operating revenues were totaled as $46.9 billion in 2013 (The Coca-Cola Company b, 2014).
SECONDARY BRAND ASSOCIATION BUILT BY THE COCA-COLA COMPANY:
Hence to leverage brand equity, the Coca-Cola Company uses various convenient and successful ways to build secondary brand association. The following are the ways, company has built secondary brand association while introducing its new product Diet Coke in 1986.
- Country of Origin:
The Coca-Cola, being an American multinational company, it generates favorable and strong brand associations to generate huge revenues for its new product. America is the most dominating market in the beverage industry which is recognized for carbonated drinks across the world. According to the Reputation Institution (2013), America has developed reputation of 57.4 on a scale of 100. Coca-Cola is ranked as the number 1 global brand which has proved that consumers have excellent knowledge about company and its brands. This signifies that consumers have a high level of familiarity and trust with the Coca-Cola Company and its brands which lead the consumers to react in a favorable way.
- Brand Extension:
Developing extensions of the brand is far more favorable in terms of cost for the company than to produce a complete new product. Diet Coke is a successful example of brand extension that promoted from the brand franchise of the parent product, Coca-Cola. It has launched around six extensions and increases its market share without even substantial advertisements. This helped the company with regards to advertising and promotional activities, customer perceived image, distribution and consumption behaviour of consumers.
Coca-Cola Company has used many other bodies to sell it products, for example, using Ford Mustang convertible, candy red 1966 in its summer campaign. Similarly, it used co-branding as a secondary brand association market approach again while introducing Diet Coke in the market. For this strategy, Jean Paul was appointed as creative director for its new brand (London, 2012). As Jean Paul is a famous luxury fashion designer, consumers relate this association with Diet Coke as a health and diet conscious brand. Coca-Cola successfully targeted young women and girls and linked them with fashion and style. Moreover, company also embraced advance technologies by offering Diet Coke coupons on every purchase of make-up tutorials at Facebook (Waltzer, 2012). To better associate Diet Coke campaign with style and fashion, company refreshed the brand image and made it appealing for individual fashionistas (Keller, 2012).
Diet Coke has been involved in numerous sponsorship activities around the world. Heart Truth Campaign has remained actively supported by Diet coke in association with the national heart and blood institute which contributed to brand equity. Coke also sponsored Ugly Betty as its secondary brand association strategy to enhance its brand awareness among its potential customers. According to 2012 report, Diet Coke also sponsored a TV show ‘Style to Rock’, produced by Rhianna which boosted the fashion awareness and discovered fashion creativity among people of London (Anon, 2012). On top of all that, Diet Coke has signed another sponsorship with Taylor Swift to improve its sales.
- Third Party:
Diet Coke has improved its world-wide brand image due to its environmentally responsible operations (Keller, 2008). This has led to creating a positive and constructive perception and attitude of consumers towards Diet Coke. In addition, Lowe (2013) reported that Coca-Cola Company has won The Coveted Sustainable Pack annual prize at the UK Packaging Awards due to its plastic recyclable bottle plant.
- Distribution Channels:
Company uses extensive means of distribution to make certain the availability of Diet coke everywhere. For instance, McDonalds, serving Diet Coke in white plastic cup and Pizza Express is serving drink in a glass bottle. Extensive distribution affects the perceptions of consumers and changes the purchasing behavior.
RECOMMENDED WAYS TO USE SECONDARY BRAND ASSOCIATION TO DEVELOP BRAND EQUITY:
Despite intellectual market strategies of Diet Coke regarding secondary brand association, there are many other ways to ensure secondary brand association so as to develop brand equity.
Employees are the representatives of the company and so they are the sort of secondary brand association. Employees, particularly sales person and contractual dealers of the company need to be well aware of their customers’ perceptions, brand image, cultural, religious and traditional values of the customers. In this way, employees can give a constructive impression upon customers on behalf of the entire company. Moreover, well-dressed and behaved employees form a striking image of their company which tends to attract the potential customers.
Celebrity endorsement is one of the best way to draw consumers’ attention towards Diet Coke. It can help Coca-Cola Company to re-shape the perceptions of its brands. People relate their feelings, judgments, and associate emotions with celebrities. Many people consume products so as just to get associated with their favorite celebrity somehow.
- Ingredient Branding:
It is co-branding strategy in which company major attributes of one brand are incorporated as ingredients into another brand. Coca-Cola can increase brand equity by inferring a message to consumers about the shared quality of two brands in one. Also, this uniformity reduces risk while targeting new markets. Moreover, it gives an edge over others as product is highly differentiated firm others. However, it is necessary to use the unique logo of the ingredient on the host brand to stand distinctive.
It is an appropriate method to grab the attention of customers by using logos and names of reputable firms with owned brand under contractual agreement. For this, company would have to pay fixed fee but can benefit a great deal. For example, Coca-Cola using name of famous brands like five-star restaurants, fashion apparels, etc.
Secondary brand association deals with connecting a brand with any other entity that may affect the development of new brand associations with the businesses but also influence existing associations. While introducing a new product ‘Diet Coke,’ the Coca-Cola Company has used successful ways to develop secondary brand association. Country of origin, co-branding, brand extension, sponsorship, third party, channel of distribution are the successful implementations of Coca-Cola Company to build brand equity for its new product ‘Diet Coke.’ As a result, now consumers accept Diet Coke as a low-calorie brand and associate with the style, fashion, diet and health. However, despite impressive market strategies, it is recommended that the Coca-Cola Company must use people, ingredient branding and licensing technique as well to create productive secondary branding association.
As the world is transforming into a global village, the technology is upgrading with every second passed. This has altered the ways of doing businesses across the world. Some businesses have been able to cope up with the challenges, and some have failed ruthlessly in this corporate arena. The phase of failing and then vanishing from the market is called fading brand. In this section, a case of Myspace has been undertaken which is currently going through revitalizing process to earn back its prior position. Myspace is a social media website that has enjoyed its dominance over all other social media websites with the highest visiting members in the world up to the period of 2008. In 2006, Myspace reached its peak success with the most visitors and following audience in the United States. Then eventually in 2008, Facebook has replaced the brand equity of Myspace and claimed to be the most famous social networking website. Consequently, Myspace has lost its visitors, and thus the need of revitalizing arose. This section of the report has presented the reasons of revitalizing and efforts made by company to revitalize its brand equity, followed by suggestions to Myspace with respect to revitalization.
Fading or losing brand refers to those brands that lose their identity in the course of profit generation activities. It is the phase of a brand in which it accumulates losses rather than generating profits. By word fading means losing, evaporating or vanishing. This clearly refers to something that has vanished and no more in existence. It is a failure of a company or brand that could not make enough profits to continue its operations and run its business in a competitive market. A brand fades and vanishes when it starts to lose its market share. Hence, the brands which start to lose its colors and die away need to revitalize their strategies, brands and company in order to recapture their core identity and customer value.
INTRODUCTION OF MYSPACE:
Myspace, a social media website, was launched in August 2003, where people can login and create their profile and perform their social activities such as live chatting, music, videos, etc. the company’s headquarter is located in Beverly Hills, California. With the outstanding growth, Myspace surpassed the user activity in 2004. It was the year when Facebook came into existence as its strong competitor. The company was established by Tom Anderson and Chris DeWolfe and later in 2005, News Corporation acquired the company for $580 million (Peterson, 2013). For the next three years, company enjoyed its dominance over all other social media websites with the highest visiting members in the world. In 2006, Myspace reached its peak success which went beyond highest visits more than Google and any other company in the United States.
Eventually, its users started to scatter and turned to Facebook users. Later in 2008, Facebook has replaced the brand equity of Myspace and claimed to be the most famous social networking website. An actor and singer Justin Timberlake in association with Specific media brought the company huge revenues of $35 million which helped to increase the brand awareness by 72% in 2011 (Peterson, 2013). Also, the company undertook intensive layoffs which reduced the employees from 1600 to 200 only (Peterson, 2013).
According to current reports, company has revived to generate higher income and increase its visitors. In 2013, Myspace tried to adjust the direction of the company image. Up to the last year, company had 25 million users only whereas its competitor Facebook had 1.11 billion users (Peterson, 2013). At this point, Myspace revitalized its strategies and changed its focus from social networking website to music media community. By then, company raised its U.S. visitors to 1 million in 2014 (Peterson, 2013).
REVITALIZING BRAND EQUITY:
Brand revitalizing refers to re-launching of brands that undertake complete change of a product or company which include logo, name, corporate culture, values, colors, image, in-fact from a wholesale to the heritage entity (Keller, Parameswaran and Jacob, 2011). Undoubtedly, this rebranding and revitalization intensively affect the perceptions of target market about the brand image. It is a process to reshape the image by giving it new name, alter its structure in order to increase revenues and generate profits.
It is necessary to develop its positioning properly so as to generate constant growth of the brand to revitalize the brand. This enables companies to lead the market as well as achieve competitive edge in the market. The process of brand revitalization involves the recapturing of lost foundations of brand equity and determination and production of new foundations of brand equity. It is important to put some new life in a failing or fading brand instead of selling off or launching an entirely new brand. This signifies the concept of maintaining the company’s expertise and market leadership while staying meaningful to an ever-changing consumer audience and their demands. In order to sustain for a long run, it is mandatory for businesses to keep in view the past and positive eye to the future. Through revitalization, company can enhance its brand value and attract more potential customers. Thus, this will help to increase sales volume with positive brand image.
REASONS FOR REVITALIZING THE BRAND:
The central reasons why a Myspace should go through revitalization process are as follows:
Relevance: Brands have to be updated as according to the changing customer needs. Myspace has lost its relevancy with their target market with respect to their services, convenience, accessibility, technology, changing customers’ perceptions and trends.
Competition: With the emergence of strong competitors like Facebook, Myspace required to come up with some new offerings in order to attract the potential customers. Revitalizing can help the company to hinder competitors by providing quality services.
Globalization: Since numerous social media websites were being created with unique specifications than ever before, it was significant for the company to rebrand itself and bring some new specification in their services to cater large audience.
Innovation: Technological change is a major reason behind failure or success of the brand. It depends on the company how well it can cope up with the technological revolution. Myspace involves in business that deals with internet, software, hardware and the products which frequently innovates. Such companies need to rebrand and alter their operations with a greater extent.
Repositioning: Repositioning can be another reason that causes the company to revitalize its brand. In this case, company introduces some major changes in brands to capture the new position in the market. For instance, shifting from economy prices to premium prices.
Rationalization: This refers to the process of rebranding in order to counter lower profits or losing customer value. Myspace was encountering decline in customer visits and thus its profits, revitalizing the brand is the best way out to decrease operational cost and enhance profits.
Outgrowth: When companies are growing into large entities, they need frequently to rebrand or revitalize its brands to satisfy the changing needs of customers. Myspace also needed to rebrand to meet the requirements of increased audience, and industry expansion.
CHARACTERIZE THE EFFORTS OF MYSPACE TO REVITALIZE ITS BRAND EQUITY:
After analyzing the strong need of revitalizing the brand, Myspace incorporated some major changes in the brand and brand strategies to improve its brand equity. The efforts of Myspace at revitalizing brand equity are listed as follows:
- Company changed its styling in brand name which used to denote MySpace with capital S in the middle before revitalization. In 2011, company changed the S into lower case, now the brand name is written as Myspace.
- After revitalizing, 72% of the people recognized the brand name. Myspace is still looking to appeal these 72% by offering quality and competitive services (Wesson, 2012).
- Myspace is putting its efforts to introduce revitalized brand into an expanded industry and competitive market.
- Company is largely focusing on new ideas; concepts to make Myspace totally different from previous one. It has widely ignored the ideas that were associated with the old Myspace.
- Company has increased its focus on music related stuffs and developed it as the most distinguishing factor of the company.
- Company has developed the site to maintain music orientation.
- Company has recently signed with the four well-renowned music labels along with over 20,000-self-regulating labels.
- Company is now aiming to introduce original profiles of celebrities like Lady Gaga and Angelina Jolie with encyclopedic information about them. This will make easier for follower to navigate them (Swartz, n.d.).
Playdom, a social gaming firm, has helped Myspace to give a boost to its gaming sector. Company has launched various games including Wild Ones, Shoot- ‘em up and many other with the intention to increase game users from 30% to at least 50% (Swartz, n.d.).
- Myspace has created effective entertainment news services regarding music, movies, entertainment and other relevant entertainment stuff through constant Twitter posts Facebook statuses.
SUGGESTIONS FOR THE BRAND REVITALIZATION:
In order to revitalize its brand equity effectively, some suggestions have been offered to Myspace which are as follow:
- The company Myspace should introduce and implement co-branding strategy with other prominent music companies for example Apples’s iTunes. This initiative can make website more appealing than any other amongst a music follower community. Subsequently, it will help the company to bring more audience and increase brand equity.
- Set a platform for upcoming or emerging talent around the world to post their created music and videos related to music directly, like youtube offers. This will increase the brand awareness among music lovers with every single second pass. Moreover, this will help out producers to look for new talent online by viewing videos and music of new talent.
- Continue to generate new ideas regarding appealing web development and employ them on the company’s site frequently. The ideas must be relevant to music to attract music interested community. Company can successfully redevelop a strong brand image amongst its customers and potential customers by enforcing innovation and continuous development.
- Expand the market in music and videos capitals
- Focus on brand exclusively to developing the brand into most desirable one.
Revitalizing refers to giving a new life to the dying brand by changing brand related strategies, altering brand appearance, bringing innovation in the processes and making the system more technologically sound. This helps to regain the brand value which was lost due to some failures in the operations. Through revitalization, company can enhance its brand value and attract more potential customers. Thus, this will help to increase sales volume with positive brand image. As the business operations began to fade, Myspace ultimately thought of revitalizing the brand equity. Company has changed the styling of its brand name to gain its value back. Some the strategies used by the company include uploaded the profiles of world’s famous musicians with their bio-data, offered innovative services such as entertainment news, developed the site more like music oriented site, launched online games and much more. As a result, this helped the company to increase the number of visitors with one million in just one year.
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