Published: 26/11/2009 6:59 am
Being consistent is probably the most important facet of developing and sustaining brand equity, as almost any published material on branding will tell you. It's not about being fancy; it's about communicating a vital message to all your consumers that you can be trusted. Consistency is a vital foundation when you are talking about trust.
Then there is bonding. A differentiated position for your product in the market creates an environment where consumers begin to bond with your product that in turn engenders loyalty. As marketing gurus often say - a satisfied customer may leave you but a loyal one will not. I, for instance always fill my car with a certain brand of fuel. Now whether I stop at an Oman Oil station or a Shell, my fuel tank is satisfied, so what is it that takes me to choose the same one over and over again? Not convenience as I discovered but more a sense of comfort which in turn implies trust and the ensuing loyalty.
It was an interesting situation that we found ourselves in this year when it came to the category of the brand (of company) that the respondents trusted - 'Most Trusted/Reputed Company'. A huge number of the executives approached said 'Bahwans'. The majority actually did not differentiate between the Saud and Suhail Bahwan Groups though in reality it has been over seven years since they have gone their separate ways.
So has branding here failed? Yes and no. It has failed in the sense that different logos notwithstanding, different brands in the portfolio - people responded with a single answer - Bahwans. And it is obviously a success because its existence as a single name created such loyalty that it is still the first name that came to the minds of an overwhelming 30 per cent of respondents. The runner-up polled 6 per cent of votes. In this case, the differentiation strategy may have been blurry but the bond that the group had created as a whole remains intact and therein lies its strength.
The advantage of open-ended surveys is that it leaves each respondent with the freedom to delve in his memory for the brand that left an impression without any external aids. This is the reason why, despite complaints from certain quarters every year, we persist with this form of surveying. This year, in a first-time effort to control the process better along with ensuring a fair mix within the survey sample group, the BusinessToday team carried out the task of interviewing people in-house.
The results are here for you to see. We welcome your comments and your ideas. BusinessToday has always believed that it is your perception that finally shapes our strengths. So in the New Year ahead of us, we hope for more collaboration from you, for more feedback to make sure that you are loyal - to BusinessToday.