2. Brand Inventory 品牌库存
The understanding of brand inventory is essential when conducting brand audit. According to Heding, Knudtzen and Bjerre (2008), brand inventory can be defined as the internal description of the precise way in which the brand in question is marketed. Among the key elements that are examined when looking at brand inventory include core brand values, brand elements, brand communication and secondary brand associations.
2.1 Core brand values 核心品牌价值
The core brand values are some of the main elements of brand inventory that businesses and organisations rely upon to determine the effectiveness of their brand. In reference to Veselinova and Samonikov (2017), core brand values portray the main characteristics and perceptions that brands portray to their target consumers on the market. In this regard, these values help brands appeal to their target consumers through defining its uniqueness, as well as creating a boundary upon which marketers rely on when creating developing both the internal and external aspects of the brand. Importantly, when talking about branding, most people assume that it only focuses on the uniqueness of the company or organisation in question. However, this is not the case. On the contrary, branding also involves using elements that are not necessary unique to a specific company to stand out in the crown and as such, outpace competitors. Speaking from this point of view, researchers and scholars agree that core brand values play a critical role in creating a balance between points-of-different (factor that create differentiation) and points-of-parity (associations that are shared with other brands on the market) (Downer, 2016; Veselinova & Samonikov, 2017). Importantly, both Downer (2016) and Veselinova and Samonikov (2017) agree that firms need not only develop and implement strong core brand values but also they must identify these values as the first step in their brand development process.
2.2 Brand elements 品牌要素
Apart from core brand values, the effectiveness of a brand in the market depends on the brand elements that a firm has. In reference to Seimiene and Kamarauskaite (2014), brand elements, which include brand names, slogans, characters, logos and symbols, packaging and jingles, play an instrumental in differentiating brands from competitors and creating a platform for customers to identify a specific brand from crowded market environment. In other words, the two main purposes of brand elements are to differentiate and enhance identification of brands in the market. In addition to this, researchers and scholars categorise brand elements as either primary or secondary. According to Keller (2017), the primary brand elements promote the brand’s differentiation aspects and its positioning in the market. On these other hand, secondary brand elements are mainly used to portray restricted associations or rather point-of-parity. With this in mind, whereas most businesses focus on strengthening their primary brand elements, they cannot in any way avoid including secondary brand elements in their brand development process. Furthermore, despite the role that the entire of set of brand elements play in strengthening brands in their respective industries, there are certain elements that are commonly used as compared to others. In reference to brand elements such as logo, name, packaging and symbol are mostly used as compared to brand elements such as characters and jingles. However, this does not imply that the mostly used brand elements have a greater impact on the strength of the brand on the market than the less used brands. On the contrary, marketers need to establish a balance between the more and the less used brand elements to create strong brand equity on the market.