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Brand culture: marketing strategy and brand culture.

It is undeniable that routine activities involves with general brands, for example; brushing teeth with Colgate toothpaste, having breakfast with McDonalds, driving BMW and working by Apple Macbook. Some people might get an idea that branding is just the creation of brand or logo. Conversely, According to Hatch & Schultz (2008), branding is more than marketing goal as it relies on making points of differntiation of product and service from the competitors. Additionally, brand personality and brand image are actually reliable on experience of consumers who get the feeling or memory or nostalgia in their mind (Hatch & Schultz, 2008). So, how do brands build their culture? How does it make consumer royalty? This essay will explore the background of critical marketing by focusing on building brand culture. Furthermore, it is necessary for critically in-depth analysis of cultural branding in the areas of marketing practices and brands culture. Firstly, the essay will illuminate how brand can create culture. After that it will examine the outcome of brand culture and find out when brand elude conscious control, then it will draw a conclusion in the last paragraph. After the short introduction above, the essay will proceed further with critical marketing in order to examine how to build the brand culture. According to a practical exercise, marketing practice usually concerneds about serving and creatation needs of consumers; that is, it would be profitable to the firms. However, since 1960s marketing practices have been turned to the dark-side because it only focused on customer satisfaction rather than focusing on beneficial features of marketing system such as goods and services (Richins, 1995). Consequently, management disciplines over the past three decades have been increasingly interested in critical approaches (Clegg and Dunkerley, 1980). Fournier and Grey (2000) believe that the grammar of critical marketing can bear the hallmarks of theoretical pluralism, methodological pluralism and boundaries delineated by commitment on three fronts; ontological denaturalization, epistemological reflexivity and a non- performative stance. Following from Marketing a critical introduction by Hackley (2009), critical marketing can divide into four typology. Firstly, functional critique that concerns marketing techniques to improve management training, education and practice. Secondly, Ethical critique that refers to the effects of social responsibility. Next, intellectual critique which focuses on discipline form, intellectual perspectives and depth of marketing theories and ideas. Finally, Political critique that examine who gain and why. This typology can be beneficial to organisation for critical learning and being more clearly manageable understanding. As a result of these, marketing practices should be criticized by students, practitioners and academics to find out whether it engages with social world. It will allow intellectual perception in different way and help to find the approach of development on marketing management. Especially, Brands are the most significant part of marketing and organizations in their identity positioning. Moreover, Holt (2004) suggestes that brands can lead a cultural wave by marketing managers who employ it behind (Holt, 2004). Morris (2005) states that "branding has turned into a major paradigm in the marketing of consumer commodities and a host of products and services are currently examine carefully as brands". Generally, branding has only been recognized as building brands, logo, trademark and distinctive features of the products. However, Hatch & Schultz (2003) argues that these are actually the external appearance of the product without the attention of meaning and history that deserves to keep track of consumers who make these things together insufficiently. Brands are recognizable as a meaningful statement in consumers' mind against a successful brand; McDonald's, Apple, KFC which have a Brand

History in consumers' mind that arising from the modeling of their experience of products consumption continuously for a long time. As it can be seen that Customers experience and brands have a strong relationship to Marketing campaigns such as Marketing events, Musical events, Sporting events, Advertisements, Films, Magazines, word of mouth and Newspaper articles which brands are placed and tied-in there. As a result, brands probably become worthy meaningful recognition and lost in cause of Branding Culture eventually. After then people may share this brand culture widely even if they have never used this product before, finally it will become to Brand community. The below paragraph would focus on building brand culture by begining with different definitions. Brand can be defined in many different perspectives by depending on academic backgrounds of authors or academic studies. In its general definition, brand is identity of products or organizations including in signs, symbols, name or logo (Hatch & Schultz, 2008). According to Holt (2004), brand also has many own different definition with different approach, such as economic, identity or community. In the cultural approach, brands can be analysed as cultural artifact moving through history (Holt ,2004; p. 215), it can remind to Hollywood movies or movie stars and music festival concert. Brand culture is importantly evolves and responds to the dynamic of the marketplace (Maclaran, 2009). It is also refers to storyteller that links to their experiences with researching of customers' identity. Holt (2004) suggests that brand is a myth markets as it intersects with other cultural phenomenon and employ many functions to build its identity and culture.

Figure 1: The cultural brand management process Source: Holt (2004) By the way, brand culture has to build from internal and external factors of organizations as Maclaran (2009) points out that building a strong corporation is necessary to be strong from inside or employees who really need passion for enterprise especially, their own entrepreneurs. On the other hand, brand culture should also connect to external feature or the outsider companies such as customers or stakeholders Elliott and Wattanasuwan (1998) point out that consumer is not only longer consume in functional benefit or products and service, but also need to seek in brand identities. Besides, brand can be implied to identity and symbol or another called Iconic brand which it is a myth and storyteller. According to Holt (2004), icons represente to symbols which people admire and respect of its meaning.

Holt (2004) also argues that icons were religious and fictional story same as the past, icons now are element of economic demonstrations. Furthermore, Balmer (2006) states that corporate brands can create brand name by brand identity. According to the research how to be successful firms by Balasubramanian (1994), first step of brand building is internal of organizations. He suggests that companies need to build their organization from inside by applying three steps as following; Firstly, define the characteristics of corporate culture which is determined by the vision and mission of the organization as the vision is such the ultimate goal we desire to reach. Thus in term of culture, any organizations have to concern about taking trip to reach the goal quickly and efficiently. Secondly, analyze the gap between cultures and a currently available culture. When the corporate culture has been defined in line with the vision already, it can analyze to see whether the nature of corporate culture is related to the current organization in order to assess whether the mission of creating a corporate culture is excess or not. Thirdly, create the strategy of the cooperating culture which can divide into two types. First type is gradual change of the culture, as it is the difficulty at the begining. The changes will infiltrate in all activities. This change will affect many people in the organization but it may require a long period of time particularly, the organization which has a strong tradition. The second type is the immediate change of organizational culture. It may be difficult at the first time, but finally it would bring a long term of various benefits. Employee would realize whether they can adapt to new culture or not and consumers could gain new frims' identity as well as the result. Many strong organizations have lent third party hands such as consultants or teams from outside; some organizations tend to surgery to determine the corporate culture along with the surgery, the organizational structure. As it can be seen that weak patients are usually easy to obey the doctor rather than another (Balasubramanian, 1994). However, after it builds culture of company stronger, it will move to co-create brand culture with consumers.

figure 1: The approach of brand achievement by alignment between company vision, internal culture and marketing image source: The Right Group (2009) Marketers commonly try to create the story of product through various marketing activities and be associated with the product through the distribution channel strategy, pricing strategy, IMC (Integrated Marketing Communication) strategy, or even the product itself, such as packaging designs which are good looking, interesting and different. As in it functional critique, brands are created by strategy of marketing management. In external brand or consumer culture strategy, positioning and marketing mix are the most popular strategies to build brand. Positioning is sometimes defined as the set of associations, tangible or intangible, emotional or symbolic, linked to brand (Hackley, 2009; 89). Besides, marketing mix, 4-7-8Ps by McCarthy (1960), is well known by devising in all level of marketing studies, but it can also be remained as Price, Promotion, Place or Physical Distribution and Product. From Kotler et al. (1999; P.97), the mix is the set of controllable tactical marketing tools that the firm blends to produce the response it wants in the target marketit is everything the firm can do to influence demand for its product ( Hackley, 2009; p. 89). Moreover, IMC is also one of the most popular strategies to build brand. IMC refers to a communication channel between brand product and customer Hoffman (2008, P.34). According to Marketing a critical introduction by Hackley (2009), brand culture marketing strategy can be summarized as follows: Firstly, use pricing and promotion to help building the brand position. Consumers normally consider on pricing: they will pay higher prices for strong brands and they are familiar with the logic you get what you pay for. Secondly, product and packaging need to be able to reflect the brand's story and to help building the brand image and its relationships with the internal product packaging. Thirdly, as a result of building Brand Culture, selection physical distribution is the particular retail channel to directly connect with customers. It also includes advertising which is a very effective tool as the media can tell anything you need, so Brand advertising can cause a great impact on the perception of consumers towards the product and brand image in accordance with guidelines that manufacturers need. Finally, promotion can influence to the consumers, if organizations use well-known celebrities presenting a product or experience for the Popular Culture. Moreover, team assistant can create Brand Value by persuasion buyer to see the value of the product. On the contrary, consumers are also the important part of building brand culture. Customers are quite the most important of Brands story which connects with experiences of customer and consumption stories that involve with the use of products and sharing them with friends (Wansink, 2003). Another important factor is the Influencer group that is wellknown in society in areas such as Columnist, Hi-Class society, Product expert, Trade magazine reviewers, or even their sellers and close friends.

figure 2: Brand relationship model source: Abbing (2009) According to figure 2 above presented by Abbing (2009), branding is about relationships, It is specially focus on how the relationship between organisation and user can be created through the layers of the top and bottom quadrants. For example, branding in the context of organisational culture, it will want to be connected to the values and norms of user more than to their behaviour. The question in this case is not about what do we do, but why do we do it? And it will inspire the building of relationships, much more than the creation of artefacts (Abbing, 2009). According to The Imported Label and Consumer Choices by David T. Meinertz (from Keegan), some brand products can be attractive to customers by their logo, for example, one beer brand in USA has tested the consumers by giving the sample beer for two times, in the first time, they gave two different beers without label to the consumers, but the consumers could not find the differentiation. On the second research, they placed the label on each beer, and most of consumers chose the brand that famous and easy to remember. This research can be assumed that logos and brands are the significant influences to customer attitude. Beside logos or brands that affect to consumers attitude; producing country affect to consumers attitude as well. Consumer culture refers to individual activities which connect with Medeleine objects that they can evoke rich meaning, memories or associations; it can refer to Nostalgic (McCracken, 2005). Cleary, it would be great marketing advantage if brand could evoke power. As a result of building brand culture with consumer behavior, the essay will now continue with the various advantages of brand culture to organizations. First of all, it can raise consumers behavior. In psychological term, human can easily familiar with and satisfy something they dont like changing or finding something to replace (Wansink, 2003). Thus,

they dont need to seek new other products, whether there are more features. For example, the use of mobile phone is familiar with the brand recognition that it is possibly simple and convenient and also satisfied with the level of available form and function on the machine brands. consumers do not try to land a Grand to find out other phone brands. Next, to create a strong brand, it is essential for the brand owners to have bargaining power in negotiation with distributors. Thirdly, to create value for their brands, products need to be relatively sustainable and difficult to replicate (Hatch & Schultz, 2008). Then, it can give confidence to consumers in the product although they have never used this brand before. Lastly, it can make consumers are willing to pay more to reduce the risk of purchasing non-brand. However, brand culture can be out of control. In the organizations culture, brand may elude control by changing to the new form. Many employees cannot accept and adapt to new culture as well as the consumers who are difficult to get familiar with re-branding. Maclaran (2009) says that consumers can feel betrayed from their loyalty. For illustration, one old department store had radically refurbished, many customers felt they lost their identity, history and culture. So, most of customers did not want to return to this place as they had lost their experiences and emotions over the change (Maclaran and Browns, 2005). In modern business world, it is not possible for company to control brand image. During to modern technologies such as internet, consumer can use word of mouth to communicate via internet such as email, social networking and group discussion on website that spread rapidly. Dissatisfied consumers can easily post their comments to complain companies or employees revealing their bad experiences and these actions can impact to a companys reputation (Tarnovskaya et al., 2008). Therefore, brand culture can merely affect the negative associations as well as enhancing positive one. Brand culture also occurs when consumers perceptions change (Hatch & Schultz, 2003). The Body shop, for instance, was green brand but in afterward it was taken over by LOreal which uses animals for testing. Consumers can change their attitudes to the Body shop. Another threat of tainting is marketing practice. One of good example is product placement that is explained as "a form of promotion in which advertisers insert branded products into programming in exchange for fees or other consideration Hoffman (2008, P.34). Product placement can generate several advantages to firms; consumers can easy to aware and remember the brand product. However, in the ethical approach, it is so harmful, especially to children or valuable situation Avery and Ferraro (2000). If companies place their product too much on media, consumers may deny it immediately. To summarize the essay it can be said that brand culture can approach in many different fields and it is necessary to criticize in the marketing management. Brand culture can bring several benefits to either organization or consumer. However, it can take disadvantage as well. Indeed, managerial studies should consider before taking its strategy practice. Branding is not only one of marketing activities, but also marketing strategies. Brand is the heart of creating Customer value, not only image, and it is an important part to generate Sustainable Competitive advantage, including successful brands that it will become culture of the society latterly. So, it can be assumed that good strategy of brand and creativity of Marketing mix need to be planed and done carefully.

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