Let’s start with the assumption that admired brands provide value to companies by producing outcomes. Companies can enjoy these outcomes when their brands offer value to customers’, that is, benefits that enable, entice, and enrich customers. When brands provide these three types of benefits and empower, gratify, and inspire customers, customers want to establish a long-term relationship with the brand. When a brand provides these three benefits, customers come to trust, love, and respect the brand; in short, they admire it.
Creating brand admiration isn’t all about creating brand love. It’s about creating brand love, brand trust, and brand respect. These three components work interactively to affect brand admiration. They are three keys to driving long-term brand relationships.
1. Building Brand Admiration
A new brand needs to establish itself on the market by building brand admiration; that is, by offering benefits that enable, entice, and enrich customers. (We call them the 3Es) Providing these benefits fosters the three conditions that characterize brand admiration: brand trust, brand love, and brand respect. Building brand admiration with customers starts with building brand admiration among employees. As critical intermediaries between the company and the marketplace, employees (internal customers) need to embody the brand’s mission, embody the 3Es, and feel enabled, enticed, and enriched themselves. To be successful strategic decisions must be made in building brand admiration among external customers, particularly in developing a positioning statement that involves communicating and delivering the brand’s promise to target customers.
2. Strengthening Brand Admiration
Building a brand that customers admire is a huge achievement. However, the marketplace is continually evolving. The company’s resources that have been spent on achieving this success would be difficult to recover if brand admiration begins to wane. To create long-term value for companies and customers, brands should not only build brand admiration but also strengthen brand admiration over time. The competitiveness of the marketplace dictates that brand managers must continuously identify opportunities to best their own brands. A brand must continue to improve on its attempts to enable, entice, and enrich customers. By doing so, customers recognize and appreciate the brand’s continual commitment to making them happy.
There are various strategies that companies can use to strengthen brand admiration. They can (1) enhance the current benefit strength, (2) add new benefits, (3) delete unnecessary benefits, (4) adjust the current benefit-importance weight, and/or (5) create/change the referent alternative to which the brand is compared.
3. Leveraging Brand Admiration
The more brand holders are able to cultivate brand admiration, the better able they will be to leverage brand admiration and efficiently grow the brand through product and brand extensions. By leveraging brand admiration, we mean seeking efficient brand growth through product and brand extensions. By using the brand name on new products (i.e., by using extensions), the brand can grow efficiently. Growth is efficient because customers are more accepting of a new product from an admired brand. They also see more ways in which the brand is relevant to their personal and professional lives. This expansion of the brand’s relevance strengthens brand admiration even further. Also relevant to leveraging brand admiration is the issue of brand architecture design; that is, the process of ensuring that the various products and businesses associated with the company provide a coherent face to the marketplace. Three key evaluation criteria serve as a basis for which a company can assess and choose an optimal brand architecture design.
Ultimately, building, strengthening, and leveraging brand admiration is a journey that will build long-term relationships with your brand.
Contributed to Branding Strategy Insider by: C. Whan Park, Deborah MacInnis and Andreas Eisingerich, excerpted from their book, Brand Admiration with permission from Wiley Publishing.
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