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Connective Branding: Building Brand Equity in a Demanding World by Christine Vallaster, Claudia Fisher

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CHAPTER 1

MARKET FORCES

In this chapter we will discuss which changes and dynamics define the brand environment and how they impact on brand building.

Branding has evolved through a number of stages over its relatively short history, each reflecting the economic, social and political environment at the time. In the late 1890s with the advent of railways and long-distance product distribution, branding emerged as a way to identify the manufacturer and was largely limited to the use of logos. For the first time, consumers were able to choose from a wider selection of goods from companies outside of their local economy. To cope with this greater choice (and risk), logos were used not only to indicate the manufacturer, but also to signal quality. The industrialisation that followed brought an extraordinary wave of life-changing innovation, introducing new products like the car, the vacuum cleaner, and the electric iron. At this point, it was widely believed that good products sold themselves and advertising's primary role was to make sure everyone knew the product existed. In contrast, the proliferation of consumer goods in post-war USA brought an explosion in consumer choice, but with only incremental innovation. This led to the need to differentiate products, and the focus of branding shifted again, to the communication of superior features, unique ingredients, and their functional benefits.

As real product differences increasingly eroded, companies started to shift their focus from ...

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