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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Brading a website

It's too long since this blog post was updated. In fact the claim blog was helpful, you know what I mean.
Recently I was at a Portal Demonstration of a large organization. As usual, technology was presented in the best possible way. All kudos to the presenter. However, during the Q&A session one of the gentlemen said:
"Brading is easy, it is about pictures and colors. What is more difficult is the customer experience".
Hmmmm. I have a purticular problem with this statement. I didn't make a fuss about the statement, at the same time I could not sleep well with out writing it out here. And do not deny that Customer Experience is hard to create,but do not accept that one is tougher than the other. Both are complement each other.
First of all, what is branding?
Well I will jump a head and talk about Corporate Branding rather than just branding as "branding" can take various forms and for our discussion Corporate Branding is more relevant.
Below is the Wikipedia version of the definition:
Corporate branding is the practice of using a company's name as a product brand name. It is an attempt to leverage corporate brand equity to create product brand recognition. It is a type of family branding or umbrella brand. Disney, for example, includes the word "Disney" in the name of many of its products; among many other examples are IBM, Pepsi, and Coca-Cola.
On the other hand there is Product:
According to Marketing Guru, Peter Kotler, A product is anything that can be offered to a market for attention, acquisition, use or consumption that might satisfy a want or need.
Products are offered to a market through a multple channels. Off late website/online channels have picked the customers' view. Especially services that need not have personal contact, for example, credit cards services, mortgage self service etc. Since the intrusion of WWW into customer self servicing arena, there has been a lot of talk about website brading (Portals have replaced the web sites only recently even though the Portal technoogy has been around for a while).
Again lets take a quick look what a product is made off. Apologies for a marketing lecture here, but it is essential for this discussion. A product has three levels
Core Product: is at the centre of the product and is the core benefit obtained when the product is purchased.
Eg: Credit Card product, credit limit.
Actual Product: is built around the core product, and has up to five characteristics: quality level, features, styling, brand name and packaging
Eg: Card Plastic, Logo of Visa/Master Card/Amex etc and the issuing bank.
Augmented Product: consists of additional services and benefits around the core and actual product.
Eg: Verified By visa, by the way our online Self service (using Portals for consistent look and feel).
Now, getting back to our original dicussion around the gentleman's statement, the augmentation of the product is for a better customer experience, in our case, the Portal (for what ever it is used for) is the augmented product. Hence, atleast with my marketing concepts, brading is not all about colors and pictures, it could be about:
a name, a term, a sign, symbol or desing, or a combination of these intended to identify the products or services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of competitors.
- Peter Kotler.
And finally before wrapping up, "Through brand a company communicates its strategy, its values, its offerings and its uniqueness.. both internally and externally.
Hence, branding is higher level beast in the product feature/benefits box and is difficult to create and maintain in the minds of consumers. Customer experience should help improve the brand value and the brading in general.