The success is not reached solely by 'giving a birth' to a brand. It is not enough to create a brand. It has to be sustained, it has to grow and develop. Brands are more than products' trademarks or companies' names. Brands are like people. They have their history, personality, image, identity. They build up relationships with their customers. They possess value. They 'look' into the future. Brands have visions. Without all those things brands will be left only with their products' natural qualities and benefits. Even though, most products possess excellent and even unique advantages; the market is so oversaturated with similar and competing products that those differences on their own are not sufficient any more for the product differentiation. Thus, sustaining brands becomes a primary task for companies' management. Let us take a look at some things that should or should not be done for sustaining brands.
· Maintaining a distinctive brand vision.
A brand vision lies at the brand's core. Without a relevant vision, a brand cannot function effectively. The vision is the aspiration and the goal, to which all the energy and efforts are directed. The vision keeps the brands dynamic and alive.
· Providing good communication of a brand with its stakeholders.
Sustaining brands can be done not only through the renewal of the brands' vision, but also through an effective brand communication. No matter how honorable or worthy your vision is or how perfectly your brand image is designed, without a good communication no one will ever know about it. The brand communication has to be clear, fast, relevant and acceptable for your brand stakeholders. It has to be able to convey your brand promise with the power you enclose into it. The internet is an excellent communication tool. It provides the speed and interactivity you look for.
· Renewing or extending your brand.
As it has already been mentioned, sustaining brands is the primary task for companies' management. It can be successfully achieved through renovation or extending brands. Without such renovation, the brands can begin to stagnate. However, you have to be very careful not to harm your brand with such extension. Generally, brands with stronger and more psychologically rather than product oriented visions are easier to extend. The vision of the Caterpillar Company has permitted it to extend through new product lines, such as shoes or watches. When for Intel it was a rather challenging thing to do. Their vision was too narrow and people were unwilling to perceive their brand as a manufacturer of external devices. The Intel Inside vision has made it hard for them.
· Avoiding a confusion of branding and marketing.
Changing marketing strategies or investing more into marketing do not always produce the desired results. Why? The answer is simple: marketing is only a way, by which a company represents its image, values, vision and symbols, associated with it; and branding is the company's essence. It is the main proposition people are looking for. It is the personality and relationships that help them make their choice of products.
Finally, sustaining brands is not only giving attractive and meaningful promises. It is keeping them. Matching up to all the promises, a company has given to its customers, is the best way of sustaining brands.