An international brand is the unique feature like a name, symbol, design or term that pinpoints a product or service globally. For a brand to be successful internationally it has to replicate identical set of standards all over the world. This makes the product or service to establish trust and gain leadership in the market enabling people to purchase it at whatever costs globally.
It largely encompasses people’s thoughts on the business and the products. It builds on to the reputation and in most cases created from the first impression the people had with the products or services (Jain, 2011. p. 54). Global branding acts as a shortcut in marketing a business globally. The upsurge in competition and market globalization has necessitated companies to expand their investments into other geographic locations. This has been made easier by international retailing development and movement of goods, people and organizations across borders.
Nike, Inc. is an apparel and accessories company in America. Its products include athletic footwear and apparel, sports gear and other athletic and recreational products. The name “Nike” originates from the Greek meaning “goddess of victory and the “swoosh” logo is a symbol of the wing of the goddess. In the late 1980s they introduced the ‘JUST DO IT” slogan, a widely held brand slogan until now. Their brand mantra “authentic athletic performance” offers a passionate and vivid deliverance of the brand functions (Aaker, 2004. p. 156).
Nike utilizes the attitude branding tactic which targets the larger feeling and focuses less association to the product itself or how it is used up. This puts it in the iconic brands category. This methodology of largely concentrating on the consumer is known to have features that boost a consumer’s self-expression and a pride in self-identity. Nike is an identity brand since the consumer’s value is deeply rooted in gaining identity value. The obtaining and consumption of Nike products has an almost customary like behavior (Aaker, 2004. p. 183).
Nike boasts a 50% company’s share of the world market and comes second to only one rival apparels and accessories company, Reebok. Its products relish popularity and are on high demand in many countries due to its branding strategy that makes many athletes want to identify with the successful celebrity athletes that endorse their products. At the moment they are the manufacturers with the highest sales in sports apparels and accessories worldwide. People will actually pay more for Nike products since they are associated with quality that provides comfort and success.
Brand development is not an easy task since the brand has a long term effect on the consumers. Many companies employ the services of a branding agency or others use the marketing department in their company. The brand has to undergo growth until it becomes established. The brand has to be distinguishable. The consumers have to recognize the brand or at least have to have heard about it (Calkins & Tybout, 2005. p. 134). This stage can be measured through aided awareness. Most companies fall short at this stage when it comes to getting their name out there. This can be conquered by promotion of the products through advertisements.
Once the brand can be recognized it should be notable. It should be one product that the consumer opts to buy when they set out to shop. The standard measure in this stage is unaided awareness and top of mind awareness in which the customer names the product or service first in that category (Calkins & Tybout, 2005. p. 142). This will greatly show the level of understanding of the brand. If a market has to be tutored on the brand’s products or services then the brand has not boarded the recognition stage.
A recognized brand has to be accepted by the consumers. It has to supplement the demands of the potential consumers and gain the respect of the influencers. The brand has to be trusted by the initial consumers so that they can equate the quality of the product or service to the value offered. A characteristic measure of success in this stage is the rating of the quality from poor to exceptional. If a company hasn’t achieved a desirable status then it has to focus in building the consumer’s trust and respect from the influencers (Calkins & Tybout, 2005. p. 157). They can take in the community or even show great concern for the environment or emphasize on their history and steadfastness on complementing the market needs.
Potential customers may not be driven by their acceptance of a brand in the market when purchasing a product. The brand must stand out and be exclusive. Otherwise the identity of the brand will be ambiguous. Most consumers distinguish a brand based on how useful and expressive it is. The brand has to be of high quality offer value and be significant to them. They want the brand to express a certain personality with features that exhibit projective qualities. A classic measurement of this stage is rating the brand and its competitors on selected image attributes runs so as to quantify the image (Calkins & Tybout, 2005. p. 161). At this stage the marketers place the brand with a message strategy that channels the consumer to purchase it due to the unique features exhibited. With time the brand will be amending the strategy through monitoring the dimensions the image takes.
When the consumers are aware of the brand and have ascertained the value it offers then prospective customers should prefer the brand’s products or services over others in the market. This stage can be measured by how consumers prefer the product when given other choices and their attitude towards the product over a given time. If a brand misses the mark at this stage then they should focus on giving free trials and promotions (Calkins & Tybout, 2005. p. 195).
The last stage is where the consumers satisfactorily use the brand and the brand is propelled to success through recommendations. If the product does not satisfy the market then there will be a significant drop in repeat purchase and the brand will be criticized. Otherwise the certainty of the product or service will be determined by the perception. For the company to justify the brand’s performance in the market, brand equity measurement, they have to conduct a survey on the consumption, satisfaction and readiness for referrals (Calkins & Tybout, 2005. p. 217). A failure at this stage calls for an improvement on the product or service.
The Nike brand is at the maturity stage. The brand has gained recognition and is recommended for many sports. It has focused on its growth strategy by introducing new products that move into extreme sports. It is no longer a brand that has to gain awareness due to competition from rivals, Reebok and Adidas. It is expanding its skills through innovation and utilizing the available opportunities (Jain, 2011. p. 126). Nike dominates US, UK and the rest of Europe but this does not prevent them from gaining control of other markets worldwide. In a bid to flourish this they won the kit sponsorship deal of India’s cricket team for a 5 year period. Cricket is the most popular and successful sport in the vast India.
To sum it up an international brand marks a very important tool that is given priority when coming up with a marketing strategy in any business. Some brands need not build awareness of the company’s name, products or services, others may be required to work on the confidence and others may entirely need to come up with a feature that distinguishes them from the rest. All in all a brand should focus on creating a functional and emotional appeal to the consumers and have the same set of values everywhere to be a successful global brand.