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Key Terms in Branding

brandIn my daily interaction with people in advertising, PR and branding professions, I often come across in some of their proposals mentions of concepts like brand positioning, brand preference, brand loyalty, brand switching, and brand loyalty, brand extension, brand recognition, brand insistence. Then I jokingly asked one of them his understanding of these concepts. To my surprise, no professional answers were given to me. These persons could be among the so many in the industry that use these concepts but do not really understand what they mean. At this point, efforts are made to discuss these concepts which will go a long way to assist-upcoming professionals in the industry.

Brand Positioning

This is how you want the target audience to see your brand or product against competitors in the market. Brand positioning includes components such as brand proposition which is what the brand stands for, brand character (who the brand is), brand benefits which is the solution the brand is going to provide to consumers which could be functional or emotional benefits.

When considering brand positioning, brand managers must ensure that:

  • The brand is positioned differently from competitors in the market.
  • The positioning is done to create a niche for the product or brand.
  • The brand will be able to deliver on what it stands for (promise).
  • How the brand is positioned is easy to understand.
  • How the brand is positioned is in line with the brand promise, brand image and brand personality.
  • Brand positioning is able to show brand unique value to consumers.

Brand Preference

This is the choice consumers make about a particular brand or product over a given period of time against competitors in the market. Brand preference by consumers could be as a result of:

  • Consistent advertising of the brand to continuously remind consumers of its benefits.
  • High quality of product or service as consumers will always prefer product and service providers that offer quality services.
  • Better offerings and reward to consumers.
  • High level of corporate social responsibility as a way of giving back to the society

Brand Switching

This is sometimes called brand jumping. It is the process by which consumers switch from the usage of a brand of product or from a particular service provider to another in the same category. For instance customers that changed from from Union Bank to Zenith Bank or from Ecobank to First Bank or from Glo to MTN or from MTN to Glo have involved in brand switch.

Factors that can cause brand switch among consumers

  • Irregular service in case of service providers like in the telecoms industry.
  • High tariff, poor quality service in case of telephone business.
  • High prices charge for products compared to others in the market.
  • Poor quality of products in the market.
  • The involvement of a brand with a very unpopular political candidate.
  • If a brand ambassador is involved in a serious criminal offence and he or she is still allowed to be the brand ambassador.
  • If there is a broken element of trust between a company and the promises made to consumers.
  • Frequent accidents in case of a transport business.

Businesses that are likely to experience consumer high level of brand switch include- banks, telephone service companies, airlines, etc. To stop brand switching, there is need for effective customer relationship management and market research to really know what consumers want and say about products and services offered to them.

Brand Loyalty

Brand loyalty is the continuous patronage of a product or a brand over a period of time from a set of alternative brands. When a brand enjoys consumer loyalty, it will control greater share of the market, enjoys positive word of mouth from consumers that will translate to profit.

Things brand owners can do to win brand loyalty from consumers

  • Create a platform that communicates brand values and personality to consumers
  • Strongly connect with your target audience/consumers.
  • Focus on what consumers want and need.
  • Continuously offer incentives to consumers and see areas of CSR that can positively touch on the lives of consumers or the public.
  • Be consistent with advertising to create awareness and to remain visible.
  • Continue to offer quality of product or services to consumers and if possible, do promos to reward them.
  • Continuously carry out research to know what consumers say and feel about your company and your brand

Brand Extension

A strategy adopted to associate a popular brand name to a new product in an unrelated product category. Companies go into brand extension to have easy access to new customers and markets through already established brands. Example was the introduction of The Harp Lime by Guinness.

Things that brand managers need to take into consideration before carrying out brand extension

  • Brand extension must make   a business sense and not just to fight another brand in the market.
  • Brand extension that can cause confusion or have a negative image on the parent brand should not be undertaken.
  • Brand extension must fit well with consumers’ expectations
  • Brand extension must be done in in a way to meet the original brand promise.

Benefits of a carefully thought out brand extension

  • It is cheaper to launch a new product under a well-known brand than to carry out an entirely new product launch.
  • The new product can enjoy from the already established brand name.
  • It enables a company to enter into a new market at a relatively cheaper cost

Brand Recognition

What a company does to bring a newly introduced brand of product to the knowledge of consumers.

To do this, some companies may consider the following:

  • Advertising using different media platforms such as radio, television, print, Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo etc.
  • The use of a popular celebrity to launch the product.
  • Offering free samples of the product to consumers.
  • Personal selling

Once consumers use a product, see it advertised, or notice it in stores, there is tendency that they will go for purchase trial other things being equal.

Brand Insistence

The stage consumers refuse to buy or patronize another brand of product outside his or her desired brand. This may be due to factors such as:

  • Consistent reward to customers.
  • Discount offers to consumers.
  • The quality of the product.

Brand Equity

This is the extent to which consumers are familiar with a particular brand to the extent that that they have a favorable associations with the brand and can say favorable things about the brand.

How brand managers can enhance brand equity of their brands

  • Through good brand name/logo.
  • High product quality/good packaging.
  • Sustained marketing communications support because it can help register the unique benefits of the brand in the minds of consumers.


In our day-to-day work in the advertising /branding industry, we may have come across or use concepts like brand positioning, brand preference, brand switching, brand loyalty, brand extension and brand equity without really knowing what they mean. The understanding of these concepts can directly or indirectly help us in our discussion with clients or in writing of marketing communication proposals. This is why efforts have been ex- pended to discuss them.

An Assignment

With no more than 800 words, come up with ideas that you think can help build on the brand equity of a brand of your choice. First prize will receive 10,000 Naira worth of recharge cards. The two other correct answers will receive 3,000 Naira worth of recharge cards


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