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WHAT ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURES DO BUSINESSES USE TO MANAGE THEIR BRANDS?

There are many different organizational structures for managing brands. Factors such as company size, financial resources, and growth expectations usually determine which structure to use. The basic structures include brand management, category management, target market management, regional management, and continental and global management

WHAT ARE THE SPECIFIC MARKETING DECISIONS A BRAND MANAGER IS RESPONSIBLE FOR?

The key decisions in product management concern the development of new products and the rejuvenation of current products. The brand manager oversees seven steps in the process of developing and marketing a new product: idea generation, screening, concept development and testing, business analysis, product development, test marketing and marketing planning, and commercialization. Regarding current products, decisions revolve around product modifications and design changes, alterations to marketing mix strategies, and whether to keep a product in the market or withdraw it.

HOW DO PRODUCT LIFE CYCLE STAGES INFLUENCE A BRAND MANAGER'S MARKETING DECISIONS?

The product life cycle refers to the stages a product passes through from its introduction to its withdrawal from the market. The life cycle involves four stages: introduction, growth, maturity, and decline. The marketing strategies employed by the firm vary considerably from stage to stage. The brand manager tends to be aggressive with his or her marketing strategies in the introduction and growth stages. Marketing objectives in these stages focus on creating awareness and interest in a brand and encouraging trial and repeat purchases. Competition forces each brand to clearly differentiate itself from the others. Marketing spending tends to be high in the introduction and growth stages.

In the mature stage, the brand manager is more concerned with protecting a brand's position. Marketing strategies focus less on expensive advertising and more on promotional incentives that encourage brand loyalty. It is also a time when managers look at strategies to rejuvenate their brand. The objective is to extend the product's life cycle. Strategies to extend the life cycle include attracting new markets, altering the product by making quality, feature, or style improvements; adding line extensions; or changing the other components of the marketing mix.

In the decline stage the brand manager begins planning a product's withdrawal from the market. The manager will cut advertising and promotion expenditures to maximize profit or minimize potential losses and to generate funds that can be invested in new products with greater profit potential.

The length of a product's life cycle can vary. Some cycles are short (fads), while others are long (fashions). Regardless of the length of the cycle, the manager's primary objective is to generate profits. Profits are maximized in the late growth and mature stages of the product life cycle; hence, organizations initiate strategies for extending these phases. The speed at which consumers accept a product has an influence on the length and shape of the product's life cycle.