A product is something that is made in a factory; a brand is something that is bought by a customer. A product can be copied by a competitor; a brand is unique. A product can be quickly outdated; a successful brand is timeless.
WPP Group, London
THE IVORY STORY
One Sunday in 1879 Harley Procter, one of the founders of the candle and soap firm Procter & Gamble (P&G), heard a sermon based on the Forty-fifth Psalm, "All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of ivory palaces." The word "ivory" stuck in his mind -- and became the name of the firm's white soap.
In December, 1881, P&G ran their first Ivory ad in a religious weekly, stating that the soap "floated" and that it was "99 44/100% pure," a dual claim which has become one of the most famous ad slogans ever. That ad is shown in Figure 1-1. Figure 1-2 shows a 1920 Ivory ad illustrating the consistency of the positioning over time. Note the imagery created by the forest, the barefoot girl, and the clear water.
The purity claim was supported by a chemist, who had tested Ivory and found that only 56/100% contained impurities. The flotation property, first created by a production mistake which fed air into the soap mixture, was discovered by customers -- who attempted to reorder the "floating" soap.
Ivory was a remarkable product in a time in which most soaps were yellow or brown, irritated skin, and damaged clothes. The fact that it floated had practical value to those used to being frustrated by trying to find their soap in the bath water. It was thus well positioned -- a soap that was pure, was mild, and floated. From the outset, the fact that it was mild enough for babies was stressed, and babies were often featured in the advertising. The claims of purity and mildness were supported by the white color, the name Ivory, the twin slogans, and the association with babies. The soap's brand name, along with its distinctive wrapping, gave customers confidence that they were getting the mild, gentle soap they wanted. The "aggressive" 1882 national advertising budget of $11,000 provided a start toward high brand awareness, and customer confidence that the manufacturer was backing the product and would stand behind it.
Ivory, now over 110 years old, is a prime example of the value of creating and sustaining brand equity. Brand equity will be carefully defined and detailed later in this chapter. Briefly, it is a set of assets such as name awareness, loyal customers, perceived quality, and associations (e.g. being "pure" and "it floats") that are linked to the brand (its name and symbol) and add (or subtract) value to the product or service being offered.
Curiously, in 1885 a yellow soap named Sunlight, when introduced to dreary, sun-starved England, became the start of Unilever, now one of the largest firms in the world. Unlike Ivory, however, Sunlight gave way to other brands, such as Lifebuoy, Lux, and Rinso.
Nearly thirty years later, in 1911, P&G introduced Crisco, the first all-vegetable shortening, using an ad showing a woman in her kitchen admiring a freshly baked rhubarb pie. The ad was the precursor of the "slice of life" type of advertising (linking brands to people's life contexts) that was to be a P&G staple over the years. By 1933 the firm had added Chipso, a washing-machine soap; Dreft, a synthetic detergent; Ivory Flakes; Ivory Snow; and Camay, a competitor to Ivory.
pardP&G demonstrated its commitment to Ivory's brand equity during the depression. In the face of tremendous economic hardships, P&G resisted pressures to reduce advertising. In fact, in part by sponsoring "The O'Neills," a radio "soap oper
Managing Brand Equity
In a fascinating and insightful examination of the phenomenon of brand equity, Aaker provides a clear and well-defined structure of the relationship between a brand and its symbol and slogan, as well as each of the five underlying assets, which will clarify for managers exactly how brand equity does contribute value. The author opens each chapter with a historical analysis of either the success or failure of a particular company's attempt at building brand equity: the fascinating Ivory soap story; the transformation of Datsun to Nissan; the decline of Schlitz beer; the making of the Ford Taurus; and others. Finally, citing examples from many other companies, Aaker shows how to avoid the temptation to place short-term performance before the health of the brand and, instead, to manage brands strategically by creating, developing, and exploiting each of the five assets in turn
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