University of Southern California

Research-Based Solutions

Despite its enormous importance, the marketing field has been struggling with many critical issues about brand management. The Center focuses on the following issues as its specialty:

  • Building Brand Admiration: A new brand needs to establish itself on the market by building brand admiration; that is, by offering benefits that enable, entice, and enrich customers. Providing these benefits fosters the three conditions that characterize brand admiration: brand trust, brand love, and brand respect. The task of building brand admiration requires a firm to manage two sub-tasks. First, building brand admiration with customers starts with building brand admiration among employees. As critical intermediaries between the company and the marketplace, employees (internal customers) need to embody the brand’s mission, embody the 3Es, and feel enabled, enticed, and enriched themselves. Second, companies must make several strategic decisions in building brand admiration among external customers, particularly as it applies to developing a positioning statement that involves communicating and delivering the brand’s identity to target customers.
  • Strengthening Brand Admiration: Building a brand that customers admire is a huge achievement. However, the marketplace is continually evolving. The company’s resources that have been spent on achieving this success would be difficult to recover if brand admiration begins to wane. To create long-term value for companies and customers, brands should not only build brand admiration but also strengthen brand admiration over time. The competitiveness of the marketplace dictates that brand managers must continuously identify opportunities to best their own brands. A brand must continue to improve on its attempts to enable, entice and enrich customers. By doing so, customers recognize and appreciate the brand’s continual commitment to making them happy. The GBC identifies various strategies that companies can use to strengthen brand admiration. Companies can (1) enhance the current benefit strength, (2) add new benefits, (3) delete unnecessary benefits, (4) adjust the current benefit-importance weight, and/or (5) create/change the referent alternative to which the brand is compared.
  • Leveraging Brand Admiration: The more brand holders are able to cultivate brand admiration, the better they will be able to leverage brand admiration and efficiently grow the brand through product and brand extensions. By leveraging brand admiration, the GBC seeks efficient brand growth through product and brand extensions (extension effects). By using the brand name on new products (i.e., by using extensions), the brand can grow efficiently because customers are more accepting of a new product from an admired brand. They also see more ways in which the brand is relevant to their personal and professional lives. This expansion of the brand’s relevance, in turn, strengthens brand admiration even further (feedback effects). The GBC offers innovative solutions about how companies can leverage an admired brand and what they should consider when using product and brand extensions.
  • Brand Architecture Design: Also relevant to leveraging brand admiration is the issue of brand architecture design; that is, the process of ensuring that the various products and businesses associated with the company are properly branded such that their entire branding¬† provides the optimal financial, future asset building and organizational efficiency benefits to the company. Just as architects must design buildings such that their collective components make for strong structures of enduring value, so too must managers design companies such that their collective brands work together to build a strong company of enduring value. The GBC has developed a theoretically driven structure of brand architecture design. That structure identifies five different levels of a brand hierarchy and specifies eight different branding options. This structure and three key evaluation criteria (financial, future asset building, and organizational efficiency benefits) serves as a basis for a company to assess and choose its optimal brand architecture design.
  • Brand Admiration Dashboard Metrics: Finally, the brand admiration management system articulates additional metrics about how to measure brand success, regardless of whether a company is building, strengthening, or leveraging brand admiration. Without effective metrics, it is difficult to assess how well a brand is doing overall and vis-√†-vis its competitors, and understand what is driving current brand equity. Metrics allow companies to diagnose where critical problems are arising and how they may be rectified. As such, a critical aspect of the brand admiration management system involves using an insight-oriented brand admiration dashboard. The GBC has developed this dashboard that offers several advantages over the extant dashboard metrics. Data relevant to the brand admiration dashboard is easy to collect. Moreover, data from the dashboard provides clear insight into how the brand is doing right now, what’s contributing to good or poor performance, and what should be done next. The GBC feels confident that brand managers will find the dashboard to be extremely useful in understanding why their brands are or are not providing value to their customers and companies.

Ultimately, building, strengthening, and leveraging brand admiration is a journey on which the GBC invites you to embark.