Relationships in brand systems
Brand systems are based on observable relationships. All brands have three kind of relationships—brand to brand, brand to customer and customer to customer. All three exist simultaneously impacting the overall performance of the brand. Brand to brand relationship define the competitive environment, for example, as in the case of Pepsi-Coca Cola and Apple-IBM. Brand to customer relationship is developed through brand communication, product and service excellence. The customers come to nurture a special bond for the brand. The third type of relationships in the triad is that of customer to customer relationship. These kind of relationships are increasingly being studied by sociologists and anthropologists. Customers develop a relationship for each other by sharing common brand values and cherishing same aspirations. Brand communities are formed because customers start thinking of each other and develop a bond. These communities are non-geographical social entities that can be formal as in case of Jeep, Apple, Dove and Harley Davidson. They can be non-formal as in case of Coke, MacDonald’s and Toyota.
Brand consultants and practitioners normally keep all these kind of relationships in mind when erecting the brand structure.