The world is rapidly shrinking with the advent of faster communication, transportation and financial flows. Products developed in one country – Mont Blanc pens, McDonalds, BMW’s – are finding enthusiastic acceptance in other countries.
A German businessman may wear an Armani suit to meet an English friend at an Indian restaurant who later returns home to drink Russian vodka and watch an American soap on a Korean television.
There are different aspects or levels of a brand, may it be of a product or service which attract customers to build an image and an idea about that product or service. There may be various viewpoints through which a person may perceive the brand in a particular way.
Let’s take Mercedes Benz for example:
Attributes: Mercedes suggests expensive, well-built, well-engineered, durable, high prestige, high value, fast and so on. The company may use one or more of the attributes to advertise the car. For years, Mercedes advertised “Engineered like no other car in the world”. This tagline served as a positioning platform for the car’s other attributes.
Benefits: Customers are not buying attributes, they are buying benefits. Attributes need to be translated into emotional and functional benefit, “I am safe in case of an accident”.
Values: The brand also says something about the producer’s values. Thus Mercedes stands for high performance, safety, prestige and so on. The brand marketer must figure out the specific groups of car buyers who are seeking these values.
Culture: The brand may represent a certain culture. The Mercedes represents German culture: organized, efficient, high quality.
Personality: The brand can also project a certain personality. If the brand were a person, an animal, or an object, what would come to mind? Mercedes may suggest a no-nonsense boss (person), a reigning lion (animal), or an austere palace (object). Sometimes it might take on the personality of an actual well-known person or spokesperson.
User: The brand suggests the kind of consumer who buys or uses the product. We would be surprised to see a 20-year-old secretary driving a Mercedes. We would accept instead to see a 55 year-old top executive behind the wheel. The users will be those who respect the product’s values, culture and personality.