Thursday, 8 September 2016
6Es framework of brand building
Strong brands are assets to the business as they earn premium and create consumer preference. People trust brands which forms the basis of their purchase intention and loyalty over time. Branding as a discipline borrows heavily from social sciences and psychology. Strong brands are not created just through product design and communication but by finding a place in consumer’s heart.
Marketers can follow a simple six step checklist to determine if they are nurturing their brands well and if their relationship with the brand is enduring enough
Essence: It is the intrinsic nature or indispensable attribute which determines the brand character. The essence is the core identity of the brand. It reflects as to what the marketer want their brand to stand for? For example, the essence of brand Fevicol is ‘sticking together’ or building bonds. The core essence of brand Google is ‘search’ and that is what remain indispensible to the brand.
Efficacy (promise): The unique and differentiated advantage of the brand defines the promise made by it. The promise that the brand makes and the value it bestows to customers signifies its brand positioning. The brand’s value proposition can be functional (when it is a new category, new market or significant competitive advantage in terms of technology etc.) or emotional (when product is a non differentiator, brand try occupying a share of heart). For example, the value proposition of Dell is its superior customer service and customization which is clearly functional. Dettol antiseptic on the other hand owns the proposition of ‘protection like that of mother’.
Emotion: Branding is a process of taking product from the left side of the brain to the right. Therefore, irrespective of the fact that brand differentiates itself on functional or emotional benefits, it needs to identity an emotion through which consumers can connect with it. For ex., Dairy milk owns togetherness and Fevicol has emotion associated with lifelong association (tone being humor). Today it’s not just the B2C brands but even technology and corporate brands that are trying to find an emotion to associate them with the consumers. For example, Cummins associates itself with passion to perform.
Employees: Before the brand interacts with the external customers, it needs to build association with its internal customers i.e. employees. If your employees do not believe in you, the customers would not. The people who deliver the brand experience or are at customer touch points need to be as knowledgeable and passionate about the brand as they actually make the brand. Ex. Ponds when launched their new range of anti aging solutions in Middle East, the launch was first done with Unilever employees so that their own internal customers could become brand missionaries.
Experience: This stage involves creating brand experience at every touch-point. Brand experience are created through appropriate communication mediums including mass media, activations etc. Distribution channel and intermediaries play an equally important role in creating the right experience for the consumers. This stage would hence include most of the steps in brand implementation plan including communication, distribution, packaging, promotions etc.
Engagement: To have a large base of loyal customers, it is critical to engage them with the brand. This instils a sense of co-creation as consumers feel a part of entire momentum. In socially connected world, companies do not adequately utilize the potential of social media by using it only as a vehicle for information dissemination. When you are engaging with your consumers effectively, you are building a sense of ownership for the brand and hence deeper commitment towards the same. As marketers we need to personify our brand and ensure that consumers find a friend in them.
Building brands is like nurturing children. They require the care and passion of a parent and continuity of investment and efforts to ensure long term success.
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