Throughout my discussion paper I will explain why, in my opinion, branding is not a weakness in Irish marketing practice. I will back this statement up with relevant examples of the success stories of Irish brands and statistics from an Irish perspective.

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I. Introduction

Throughout my discussion paper I will explain why, in my opinion, branding is not a weakness in Irish marketing practice. I will back this statement up with relevant examples of the success stories of Irish brands and statistics from an Irish perspective. I will also integrate this topic with relevant examples of marketing theory and practice and how these have been incorporated into the success of the Irish brands. After explaining what a brand is, I will discuss how branding has been a strength in Irish marketing practice under the following headings:

- The Role Culture Plays

- Demographics

- Local vs. Global brands

- Ethical and Social Responsibility

- Challenges and Threats facing Branding in Ireland

- Conclusion

II. What is a Brand?

" A name, symbol, design or some combination which identifies the product of a particular organization as having a substantial, differentiated advantage over their competitors".

A brand is the reputation of a firm, it is a personality, it is a promise and it is a relationship. The modern idea of a 'brand' was first introduced to the business world in the 19th century with the emergence of packaged goods. Companies would literally brand their logo onto their products when shipping their items in large bulk to various destinations. Lyle's Golden Syrup claims to be the oldest branded product, with their green and gold packaging having remained unchanged since 1885. However the idea of 'branding' can be traced back to the 13th century when bakers in England were required by law to burn their mark onto every loaf of bread they made. According to Fanning (2006), In Ireland, where brewing and distilling were one of the few large-scale manufacturing industries, many of the famous brand names that are still thriving today were established in the 18th century or even later. Examples are Bushmills - 1608, Guinness - 1759 and Jameson - 1780.

According to Kotler (2005), branding is much more than attaching a name to an offering. It is about making a certain promise to customers about delivering a fulfilling experience and a level of performance. Branding therefore, requires that every one in the supply chain - from product development to manufacturing to marketing to sales to distribution - work to carry out that promise. This is what "living the brand" means. Planning, developing, designing and delivering the product or service is all based around what the brand stands for. Branding is about forming an emotional attachment between the brand and the consumer through their five senses (See Fig. 1).

Fig. 1


III. The Role of Culture

According to Hofstede (1997), A culture is the way of life of a group of people - the behaviours, beliefs and values that they accept. Consumer values in any culture are shaped by three broad determinants. These include symbols, heroes and rituals. In Ireland, we have a very strong sense of belonging to our home country. This includes all aspects of our past including our national history, our arts, music, literature and language and our sporting achievements.

Culture is a branding tool that the most successful brands in Ireland all have in common. They have used the aspect of Ireland's rich culture as a marketing tool to appeal to the Irish consumer. This has been defined as 'Cultural Branding' (Holt, 2003). One of the most notable issues in Ireland through the years has been the level of emigration. This was due to the poor state Ireland was in after the famine in 1845 and again during the 1980's recession. It has been the topic of many of our most famous plays, songs and poems. Marketing firms and marketing departments of various products in Ireland noticed this chance to appeal to Irish consumer's cultural values as early as the 1980's with the excellent ESB advertisement entitled 'Going Home'. The main theme was emigration and showed a son returning home to his family. This ad recognized the fact that Irish people can all connect with the idea of emigration as it is in our roots and is something we all learned about thoroughly at school. It also shows the mother cooking fresh bread, which again is appealing to the 'Irishness' within the Irish consumer. Homemade cooking is something that the Irish are known for through our culture. This ad is making the brand's image a typically Irish brand - a brand that is part of our culture. The ESB brand has been around in Ireland since 1927 and has remained at the top of the Irish consumer's mind when we think of electricity in Ireland.
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Another notable example of 'cultural branding' is the branding of 'Guinness' in Ireland. Throughout their advertisements, we are told various stories of how Guinness was formed by Arthur Guinness in 1759. We are told how it is very much a part of our culture and has seen the most important times in our history. It relates to our sporting culture when we see advertisements of Gaelic hurling matches and also touches on emigration with the advertisement of the son buying All-Ireland tickets for his father. They also offered guided tours around the famous Guinness Storehouse ...

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