30 Apr 2008  Sharpening Your Skills

Brand Management

Should I trust my brand to a sports endorser? Does B2B branding work? What does mystery writer James Patterson know about branding that I don't? Here are some recent Working Knowledge articles on issues that keep brand managers up at night.

 

Sharpening Your Skills dives into the HBS Working Knowledge archives to bring together articles on ways to improve your business skills.

Questions to be Answered

  • Does branding work for business-to-business marketing?
  • Can individuals create their own brand?
  • Should I trust my brand to a sports personality?
  • How should I think about brand dilution?

Does branding work for business-to-business marketing?

B2B Branding: Does it Work?
Does it make sense for B2B companies to take a cue from consumer companies and invest in brand awareness? Many B2B CEOs say no, but HBS marketing professor John Quelch disagrees.

Key concepts include:

  • Most B2B marketers cannot economically address thousands of small businesses using the traditional direct sales force.
  • If left unattended, individual managers will each do their own ad hoc marketing.
  • B2B marketers are realizing that developing brand awareness among their customers' customers can capture a larger share of channel margins and build loyalty that can protect them against lower-priced competitors.

Can individuals create their own brand?

The Case of the Mystery Writer's Brand
A look behind how professor John Deighton developed a case study of mystery writer James Patterson, who determines what his customers wants to read, then systematically churns it out in volume.

Key concepts include:

  • Patterson regularly outsells other "brand-name authors" such as Stephen King by simply publishing more books.
  • A former ad man, Patterson sometimes invests his own money in outlets such as television commercials and billboards that are more frequently used for fast food than books.
  • Patterson represents a supplier who builds a persistent demand and designs production to perpetuate that brand's most enticing qualities.

Should I trust my brand to a sports personality?

Marketing Maria: Managing the Athlete Endorsement
Million-dollar endorsement deals were made and broken by how baseball players on the Boston Red Sox and Colorado Rockies performed in the 2007 World Series. HBS professor Anita Elberse discusses her research on sports marketing and her recent case on tennis powerhouse Maria Sharapova.

Key concepts include:

  • On a global scale, total sports industry revenues are expected to be nearly $100 billion in 2007.
  • The highest-paid athletes often make more money from endorsements and other commercial activities than from salary and winnings.
  • Marketing executives value entertainment-related endorsements because of the difficulty of reaching a wide group of consumers using traditional advertising.
  • Companies look to hire athletes whose image mirrors their own corporate brand.
  • Sports agents and agencies must strategically manage these assets because their clients' professional careers are often short lived.

How should I think about brand dilution?

Porsche's Risky Roll on an SUV
Why would any company in the world want to locate in a high-cost, high-wage economy like Germany? Why would a sports car brand experiment with an SUV? Porsche's unusual answers in a globalizing auto industry have framed two case studies.

Key concepts include:

  • Why would any company in the world want to locate in a high-cost, high-wage economy like Germany? Why would a sports car brand experiment with an SUV? Porsche's unusual answers in a globalizing auto industry have framed two case studies.
  • Does location make a difference in a globalized world? Can products just be manufactured anywhere?
  • Porsche's Cayenne manufacturing brings the company full circle in a return to its eastern European roots.