Forces That Impact A Brand’s Potential

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Once a brand has been created, it is time to plan for its’ future. Evaluating its’ current brand equity value is a good starting point.

One way to do this is an analysis of its’ key characteristics. We can summarise these key characteristics as follows: 1

  1. Its’ purpose.
  2. What makes it different.
  3. The need it fulfils.
  4. Is it transient or permanent?
  5. Its’ value promise.
  6. Its’ scope.
  7. The identifying trademarks.

Each of these characteristics make-up the relative strengths and weaknesses of a brand. Use a traditional SWOT3 analysis of each characteristic to gauge these.

Management Options 2

With an assessment of a brand’s potential in place, managers can assess what marketing strategies and tactics could be used to maximise its’ growth and longevity.

For instance, these can take the form of developing further the product or service, taking advantage of newer technologies, adding new products to the range or entering new markets.

However, brands don’t exist in a vacuum. They are subject to many forces, both internal and external to their owners which can improve or reduce their potential.

In a sense all products and services are subject to these forces. Brands help to mitigate them through the trust they build with consumers.

1. External Forces

What are the main external forces? These are the perennial characters of any marketing environment:

  1. The impact of competitors
  2. Changes in technology
  3. Demographic factors
  4. Changes in the political landscape
  5. Undulations of the business cycle
  6. Changing social trends
  7. Changes in the physical environment

Sometimes these risks can be correlated directly with the analysis of a brand’s characteristics. For instance, a very youth oriented brand is highly susceptible to demographic changes of its’ consumers and movements in social trends.

Other risk factors are not so easily predicted, and these need to be managed dynamically. The rapid changes in and adoption of mobile technology would be a good examples of this.

2. Internal Forces

There are also several factors internal to an organisation which will have a big impact on whether a brand realises its’ potential within the marketplace.
These internal forces include:

  1. Potential recognition
  2. Dedicated resources
  3. Ongoing commitment to a brandHaving the necessary assets, such as skills and budget

In larger organisations with multiple brands to manage, there is an ongoing need to assess the potential of all brands within their portfolio. So, it could be that a once promising brand gets side-lined simply because there are better brands within a portfolio.

Role of the Consumer

How much consumers take a brand to heart can also impact its’ longevity and growth potential. This has always been the case to some extent. In today’s super-connected world, consumers can have a direct say in the direction and development of brands.

Engaging a brand fan base can be challenging process. However their sense of co-ownership can give marketers tangible insights into what makes their product successful and why people buy it. Sometimes these insights turn out to be not what the marketers had in mind at all.


As we can see, there are a complex web of forces which influence the journey a brand takes during its' lifetime. Some of them are under the direct control of a brand's owners, and many are not.

Resources and References:

1 J.N. Kapferer, Strategic Brand Management, 4th Edition, Kogan Page Publishing.
2 K.L. Keller, Strategic Brand Management, 4th Edition, Pearson Publishing.
3 Acronym SWOT – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.

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© David R. Durham,
Digital Marketing Education.

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