Two broad categories of analytical instruments will be discussed in this chapter: those relating to the brand life cycle and those that can assist in the management of the brand identity.
The brand life cycle because, despite its apparent simplicity, it remains a basic strategic management instrument. Brand identity because it is a unifying principle of all the activities of the company, which allows a semiotic approach to meaning-creation mechanisms, key factors in the world of consumption.
Brands are a part of our most intimate history. Their history is not quite one and the same as that of the company that brought them into existence. They have an independent life and, having become part of our imagination, sometimes survive there long after the company has disappeared.
A brand’s history comprises phases of strong expansion alternating with phases of relative stagnation, and perhaps rapid decline. This situation is not really different from what is termed the life cycle of a product or a company. As shown in Figure 6.1, the life of a brand can be represented on a graph, with time mapped against an estimate of the brand’s strength based on a given convention (here we chose sales volume).
The graph follows the same phases—launch, growth, maturity, decline, relaunch, and disappearance—that characterize ...