FAILURES IN BRAND PRODUCT RELATIONSHIPS: A FEW CLASSIC EXAMPLES
Branding structures aim at optimally managing the image flows. Sometimes, the downward flow from the brand to the product needs to be emphasized when it is thought that sales could be increased by leveraging the brand. Sometimes the ,rand needs o be regenerated with the help of a bottom up image flow Finally, horizontal flows between the products themselves can be a source of added value and may lead consumers to try more products in the range.
Not all brand structures actually succeed in achieving the desired result building up brand capital; promoting sales here we will deal with some classic examples of failure. The first is where the brand simply disappears behind one of the products and ceases to have an identity of its own. Therefore, instead of the two brand stages as there should be, there is only one step, that of the product. The parent brand lacks meaning. This situation characterized Nina Ricci, Cacharel, Du Pont and many others. The process is classic: for 1 5 years Nina Ricci was represented only by L ‘ Air du Temps, its world best-selling perfume. In the end, the brand was overshadowed by the product. The images of the two were mixed and Nina Ricci became confused with the image of ethereal young girls, the image of L ‘ Air du Temps. This was not an ideal situation. Obviously, something did remain of the brand, but this needed to be revitalized so that the brand could regain strength over other products.
The second classic problem is that of brand product disconnection. Many will have heard of Varilux, a revolutionary lens for spectacles which has changed the life of many long-sighted persons. But not many will have heard of Essilor even though it is the world’s largest manufacturer of contact lenses and Varilux is one of its products The name has no significance as far as the public is concerned. Since it prefers to remain in the background, it cannot be used as an endorsing brand. Today Essilor feels endangered by the arrival of brands such as Seiko and Nikon. Would you prefer your glasses with Seiko, Nikon or Essilor lenses? The first two names have already accumulated worldwide brand awareness, founded on the basis of meticulous precision and high technology For Seiko, to which Nikon has added mastery in the field of optics.
Funnily enough, this phenomenon of brand product disconnection also affects Corning Though the company is barely known, it owns the Pyrex, Vision and Sensitive brands which have been badly managed and do not function as brands. For the public, Pyrex is not a brand but a generic name, a kind of ware. Also, since they are not formally related to Corning, they do not add to its brand capital and do not help its image or reputation. Thus, Corning does not gain from it and cannot be used as an endorsement brand for other products The Company itself is very strong, but Corning, as a brand, is not. The final breakdown of. Brand product relationships can occur due to the ill effects of certain accounting principles which conflict with brand policy. This is illustrated in the case of Playtex. The Playtex communication strategy consists in theory of constructing the brand’s meaning through its products. The brand has many specific product lines such as Cross Your Heart and Super Look bras, Six o’clock girdles, etc. The idea was that by communicating about these product lines, the Playtex brand itself would acquire a specific meaning in the eyes of con summers and individual lines could then be supported without any advertising. The problem was that reality was not like that the intended plan was not pursued. Making each product line financially accountable led to the communion action being restricted to one or two lines only.
The Playtex brand identity no longer enjoyed the rich benefits of an entire product range. It was supported only by the specific characteristics of those lines which were advertised (in this instance, Cross Your Heart). Hence the whole brand acquired a harsh, functional connotation which was Cross Your Heart’s positioning. Moreover, since the other product lines were not getting any advertising, they inherited an image which, instead of coming from Playtex, came de facto from Cross Your Heart. The practice of individual, financially accountable lines caused the brand meaning to be modified and in the end to be overshadowed by the image of those few products that were capable of generating sufficient financial resources for communication, In order to get itself out of this mess, Playtex Europe overthrew a taboo in company policy by launching a specific brand campaign on Playtex itself, to make it more up-to-date and attractive and add value to all its lines which do not advertise.