Succeeding on the Market: Building B2B Brand Image and Brand Strength to establish a valuable brand
Abstract: In today’s society, the relative superiority of a product is not enough to guarantee its success on a marketplace. Rapid economic development rates and advancing technology has led to a more competitive global market. Increased accessibility to information and cross-border transactions is a result of market transparency and advanced communication techniques. Creating product imitations or very similar products as well as marketing and distributing these are easier, consequently lowering the general lifespan of products. Tools of differentiation and legal protection of exclusive rights to attract and maintain purchasers are necessary. Therefore, the establishment of strong brands and legally protectable trademarks is vital for companies’ survival and expansion on the market. A trademark is a distinguishing mark or symbol with the purpose of identifying the subject it stands for. The purpose of trademarks on marketplaces is to provide a unique identity for providers of goods and services. It is a broad concept and can cover anything linked to a company. A brand is an even wider concept representing a company and its products and services. It is the promise of what buyers can expect. The function of brands as indicators of characteristics including origin, quality and function differentiates company offerings from those of competitors. The importance of brands has become increasingly recognized in the 20th century. It is evident that brands constitute value. The theory of brand equity is one method to concretize a company’s overall brand value. It is a set of perceptions linked to a brand that together affect the value of it. This theory is of interest to all players on the market including brand owners, customers, final consumers and competitors. The brand perceptions that constitute the brand equity model are brand image, built upon brand awareness and brand association, brand strength, determined by brand loyalty and finally monetary brand value as depicted as intangible assets on companies’ balance sheets. The interrelations between these components are vital to establish the aggregate value of a brand. Brand building and management is a determinate factor contributing to a profitable firm. However, it is an area lacking in substantial research on business-to-business (B2B) marketplaces. This is because the significance of brands during business interactions between companies has not been extensively acknowledged in previous studies. There are few, if any, reliable mechanisms to measure and evaluate overall brand value. The essay describes the components of brand equity and methods of building brand value. To provide for an empirical case study, the Swedish multinational company Tetra Pak and its corporate brand is examined. The Tetra Pak Group is a manufacturer of packaging material, filling machines, distribution equipment and processing solutions. Preceding research has been done on brand equity within business-to-consumer (B2C) markets, yet this presentation focuses exclusively on the less investigated field of brand equity on B2B markets. Purchases on consumer markets are for personal consumption reasons and brands play determinate roles in appealing to emotional aspects during decision-making processes. While transactions on business markets done by company employees on behalf of corporate entities are complex, involving high stakes and not done for personal consumption, brands arguably play an important role in affecting psychological thought processes within active individuals on these markets. Emphasizing how and why brands are important on B2B markets and proving that the efforts and investments done by B2B companies placed into branding is worthwhile provides for the core purpose of the essay.
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