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:

  • Developing and Sustaining Brand Equity: How can one create a strong brand and sustain it? Generic terms like product quality, differentiation, and effective positioning are often mentioned, but usually as generic concepts. To assist managers, the Global Branding Center has developed a strategic framework based on specific value-enhancing actions that establish and sustain successful brands.

  • Dynamic Brand-based Growth Strategy: Once established, how does a firm grow a brand over time in a cost-efficient way? Research into successful brand growth indicates that well conceived vertical and horizontal extensions are often a key characteristic. Understanding a higher order pattern for brand extensions in terms of timing, path, and sequence will enhance a brand's future growth.

  • Brand Equity Enhancement through Extension Strategy: Do extensions strengthen or dilute a brand? The history of successful brands suggests that brands performed well during extensions, and then became stronger following the extension, a phenomenon called dual synergy. The Global Branding Center has conducted research into which management strategies help ensure such synergistic outcomes.

  • Corporate Brand Name Management: Important new management considerations arise when the brand name is not only on the product, but is also the corporate name. Examples include GE, Samsung, SONY, Nestle and Hewlett-Packard. The conventional approach to brand management may have to be drastically revised and expanded to accommodate the broader responsibility of a corporate brand name as a critical management tool. The Global Branding Center has been examining such a brand-based corporate management strategy.

  • Measuring and Managing Brand Equity: Successful brand management benefits from effective ways to measure brand equity. Effective measures are still in an infancy stage, but are needed to guide management decision making. The Global Branding Center has developed a tool that represents a theoretically sound, methodologically reliable and straightforward brand equity measurement approach.

  • Developing Brand Attachment Index: One of the most critical issues facing brand managers is assessing the bond between their brands and customers. Strongly committed customers are not only less expensive to retain, they are less vulnerable to leave based on competitive efforts. Moreover, committed customers enhance revenues by their willingness to pay a pricing premium and their willingness to share their brand zeal with others. Therefore, it is imperative for managers to have a clear understanding of factors influencing brand attachment, to be able to measure attachment on a periodic basis, to devise a strategy to improve the level of brand attachment over time for the competitive advantage, and to relate its measure to the financial performance of a brand.

  • Brand Architecture Design: Given the competitive challenge of meeting the needs of different global markets, the number of brands many firms manage has substantially increased. There is a pressing need to coordinate the relationships among different company brands for improving overall revenue performance and enhancing overall brand equity. Designing brand architecture that enhances brand equity and provides a platform for future growth is another research area of the Global Branding Center