Managing the lifecycle of a brand means anticipating and preparing for brand “after-life.” Line extensions, innovative methods of delivery, next generation products are fast becoming the new “after-lifeblood” of the industry. Let’s not forget the importance of the one element that will remain constant throughout the lifecycle of a brand: the brand name.
Positioning, packaging and communications are all subject to variance and change but the brand name will endure. A great name encapsulates the brand, ignites consumer recognition, helps define personality, and differentiates from competitors in the marketplace. As the first public act of branding, the brand name can be leveraged to create awareness and start to build product pull. Equally, in seeking to extend the life of existing brands, equity that has been established in a brand name during its on-patent life can provide a solid platform for line extensions, new indications and new formulations.
Equity in the brand name, therefore, should not be underestimated, as organisations seek to maximize ROI by evolving and extending established brands.
As equity in the brand name can be leveraged, so can equity in the brand identity as a whole, including the visual components of the brand, such as use of colour and shape. While on-patent life is subject to expiry, trademarks are renewable – a fact often neglected by brand managers. All forms of intellectual property, therefore, from patent, to trademark and “get-up” should be protected vigorously.
Nor should equity in the corporate brand be underestimated. For the most part, the corporate brand is a blank canvas, whose added-value, whose benefit proposition is yet to be articulated in the hearts and minds of the market. One could envision customer loyalty becoming considerably deep-rooted to an organisation that has built up a reputation around developing brands that are “senior-friendly” (for example, through proprietary delivery systems or innovative forms of packaging), or to an organisation that has established a level of excellence in customer service. Once clearly defined and effectively articulated, corporate brands could start to create a new level of endorsement, of brand lifecycle added-value.