BRANDS: Sometimes potion of joy and sometimes nightmare for managers. Why I am being theatrical about the statement is what this article aims at i.e. understanding the basic reasons why certain brands fail and why certain brands succeed in the marketplace. The main differentiating factor between success and failure of the product is the way it feels the customer’s pulse, but in different ways.

A product does not have to be particularly bad to flop and also it doesn’t need to be good to be successful in the market. So no matter how strong a brand is, the market is always elusive. So the best any brand manager can hope for is to look out for any pitfall which could catch them out. It is in the interest of identifying these pitfalls, rather than for the sake of schadenfreude, the Brand Manager should look for.

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The 7 Thumb Rules for any brand success are as follows:-

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RULE No 1. Do the right market research Why did Kellogg’s cereals have a rough ride in India? One of the main reasons can be attributed to the poor market research on cultural grounds. So market research becomes more important for these reasons.

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RULE No 2. Don’t clone your rivals Example would be Toshiba’s iRiver which could not establish itself in the market as customers thought it was a mere clone of Apple’s iPod (as Apple primarily leveraged “First Movers Advantage”). So the companies should try to build a niche for their product category first; viz. LG christened “BLUE OCEAN STRATEGY” to create its own niche in the marketplace.

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RULE No 3. Concentrate on the brand’s perception Example is the introduction of New Coke in place of Coca-Cola, which is one of the biggest brand failures for the company because they were unable to qualify and quantify customer’s perception about their brand or company per se.

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RULE No 4. Name of the product matters a lot so give due importance to it When brands try to venture into new uncharted territories due importance should be given to name of the brand. Examples like Coca-Cola venturing into China where they had to change their name and also General Motors Nova did not succeed in Spain because in Spanish it means “Failure”. So the bottomline is that no matter what the name means to your company, but it should suit the taste and preferences of the customers.

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Check out the space for the concluding part!!!

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N.B. The list is not exhaustive but these codified set of rules can act as an eye-opener.

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