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According to Laura Lake the marketing mix is a mixture of marketing tools that are used to please customers and company objectives. Customers frequently call the marketing mix "the offering." Basically offer is controlled by the following variables often referred as the four P's in marketing:
By exercising the variations of these four components you have the capability to reach multiple consumers within your target market.
According to Jed C. Jones the termÂ marketing mixÂ is defined as the marketing Mix refers to the main elements that ought to be attended to in order to correctly market a product. They are also well-known asÂ The 4 Ps of Marketing, the marketing mix is very helpful, and is a guideline for understanding the fundamentals of what makes a good marketing campaign.
3.1.2 Variables of Marketing Mix:
Product:Â The marketing mix concept has its heredity from the 1950's U.S. corporate marketing planet, and the practice of marketing has obviously developed tremendously since this expression was invented. One of the alterations is that, there are a lot more services accessible nowadays, such as those obtainable through online and the difference between product and service has become more fuzzy (e.g., is a Web based software application a product or a service ). Moreover ProductÂ here refers to as products or services. The product you propose needs to be able to meet a definite, vacant market demand. Or else you need to be able to create a market niche via building a muscular brand.
Price:Â The price you set for your market offering plays a big role in its marketability. Pricing for offerings that are further commonly available in the market is moreÂ flexible (Elastic), and its implication says that unit sales will move up or down further responsively in replication to the price modification. In contrast, those products that have usually more limited availability in the market (but with strong demand) are more inelastic, meaning that price changes will not affect unit sales to a large extent The price elasticity of the offering can be found through various market testing methods.
Place:Â It usually refers to any way that the customer can attain a product. Provision of a product can come about via any number of distribution channels, for instance in a retail store, via mail, via downloadable files, on a cruise ship, in a hair salon, etc. The easiness and options through which one can make your product available to your customers will have an effect on your sales volume.
Promotion:Â It is basically concerned with any vehicle you use for getting people be familiar with more about your offering. Advertising, Public relations, Point-of-sale displays, and word-of-mouth promotion are all conventional ways for promotion. Promotion is basically a way of concluding the information gap between would-be sellers and would-be buyers. One's choice of a promotional strategy will be dependent upon the budget, the type of offering you are promoting, and availability of the said promotional vehicle.
The marketing mix serves as an outstanding criterion for continually examining that you are covering all of the bases in your marketing campaign.
Mass Media: Â It refers jointly to allÂ the mediaÂ technologies, including theÂ Internet,Â television,Â newspapers, andÂ radio, which are used forÂ mass communications, and to the organizations which control these technologies.
Mass media play an important role in determining public perceptions on a variety of important issues, both through the information that is distributed through them, and through the interpretations they place upon this information.Â The also play a large role in shaping recent culture, by selecting and representing a particular set of beliefs, values, and traditions (an entire way of life), as a reality. That is, by portraying a certain interpretation of reality, they shape reality to be more in line with that interpretation. Contemporary research demonstrates a growing level ofÂ concentration of media ownership, with many media industries already highly concentrated and dominated by a very small number of firms.
Direct Marketing: It is a type of advertising that reaches its target audience without using conventional formal channels of advertising, such as TV, newspapers or radio. Businesses stay in touch straight to the consumer with advertising techniques such as fliers, catalogue distribution, promotional letters, and street advertising.
Direct Advertising is a sub-discipline and a kind of marketing. There are two main definitional types which differentiate it from other types of marketing.
The first is that it sends its point directly to the clients, without the use of intervening commercial communication media.
The second characteristic is the core theory of successful Advertising driving a precise "call to action." This aspect of direct marketing involves a stress on measurable, trackable positive responses from consumers (known simply as "response" in the industry) apart from of medium.
3.1.3 Marketing Mix Management by Peter Grant:
According to Peter Grant Marketing Mix Management is the successful business enterprise which will flourish through the aggressive and pre-planned execution of a complete "Marketing Mix" strategy in approaching revenues.
Identify Audience or Vertical Market to Penetrate
Assign "Marketing Mix" Resources that Accommodate Audience in Communications Process
The objective is to use both active and passive mechanisms to emphasize the "impression rate", (or number of times that your audience perceives that it remembers), your corporate communications message to your target audience, leading to bigger revenues.Â
To be really successful, all areas of the Marketing Mix need to be pre-planned and then executed in a timely and disciplined fashion.
The World Wide Web, correctly handled, can identify and address both in a passive and active mode, both current and future clients.
Marketing Mix Definitions and Action Steps
Actions / Results
Active / Passive
Crosses all boundaries in passive / active communications.
Great freedom by potential clients in accessing your information.
Face-to-Face contact. Builds rapport, leads to proposals.
Phone solicitation to identified customers; leads to rapport building and eventual appointment for a Direct Sales call.
Identifying potential customers through qualifying needs to have a problem solved that could be addressed through your particular product or solution.
Lists by maintaining an internal client database (from inquiries generated from advertising or from telemarketing/telesales calls.
Lists from purchased list service.
Mass mailing service (ValPak, SuperCoups).
E-Mail nickname lists from inquiries. We do not recommend spamming.
Fax blast to internally generated lists.
Postcard mailing for cost-effective contact frequency.
Advertising / Promotions
Target vertical market associations that purchase your product or service.
Ensure that your core corporate communications "look" (logo, slogan, and graphical look) is repeated in any advertisement.
Vertical Market trade show participation
"Complimentary Introductory Program" exists within your communications goals.
Consistent Corporate Communications look to all of your marketing efforts (Logo, stationary, brochures, advertisements, etc.). This acts to reinforce your impressions rate.
Monthly Press Release and Backgrounder to all vertical market associations.
Monthly release to horizontal / territory markets to build perception and retention of your core products, services and corporate identity.
The execution of the above "Marketing Mix" objectives in a timely and well-focused manner should ensure the relative success of any enterprise that has done appropriate market research to determine the viability of its concept.
3.1.4 How to select the finest marketing mix: pros, cons, and tips for telling people about your business - includes connected article on how people get business - tutorial:
How to Select the Best Marketing Mix:
Your marketing campaign is that set of actions that you use to get the word out - get the right people or group to know what you do, who you are, and where to find you. (Then your sales campaign takes over and change prospects into customers.)
You can try to wing it.
But going through the same planning procedure as larger companies before launching the marketing campaign will pay off - perhaps by reducing the costs, and almost surely in getting better results for the similar investment of time and money.
During the past some years advice is there for the software developers, physical therapists, dance instructors, dog trainers, and other small, usually service-oriented businesses on setting up their personal marketing campaigns. Here what campaigns are all about, and how you can create your marketing work for you.
WHO'S YOUR CUSTOMER?
One can't hit a target if he/she doesn't know what you're aiming at or where the target is. So before one define the marketing campaign, do the homework:
* Clearly recognize your products and services. For Instance: neon art and signage; pre-school day care by ex-teachers.
* Describe your business goals, and then set the prices or rates. How much totality of business do you want? What mix of products and services do you would like to sell?
* Recognize the prospect base by income, geography, age, type of organization or individual, and line of business (for instance, nonprofit organizations with yearly revenues of $100,000 to $750,000).
Cons: Can be costly; needs a lot of time and effort. Not right for a number of people or businesses.
Tips: Learn to qualify prospects rapidly. Follow up promptly with mailings, letterings, samples, chiefly in response to specific requests. Keep good accounts; consider using a contact-management program.
Events. Attending, participating in, or reveal. Examples: trade shows, conferences, and seminars.
Pros: Very good for exposure. If you don't show, often highly affordable.
Cons: Very volatile results; can be time-consuming and draining, with expensive travel expenses.
Tips: Prepare. Pick a small number of shows in your field to attend on a regular basis. Meet as many people as probable to grow contacts.
Collateral. Materials that you print up and hand out. For Example: brochures, newsletters, pamphlets, reprints, coupons, fliers, and business cards.
Pros: Can be cheap, especially if the pieces can provide many purposes and you make them using desktop publishing.
Cons: Can be costly putting together a desktop-publishing system. Can take a lot of time, until you get the hang of it. Needs episodic updating; inventory needs to be managed cautiously.
Tips: Think cautiously before over committing to a costly item that will go out of date. Look for pieces that can be their personal mailer.
Other diverse advertising specialties. Instances: bumper stickers, coffee mugs, key rings, calendars, and other gewgaws; skywriting and blimps; contests, surveys, and joint marketing efforts.
Pros: Can help drawing the attention; gives you a simple way to depart your name and address with prospects.
* Expect to spend an average of an hour a day, each day, in marketing.
* Always be ready. Answer the phone with a smiling, positive voice; always carry business cards.
* Do follow-up promptly.
* Remember that marketing rarely has immediate results. It can take months, or even years, to set up yourself.
* Don't spend the money you don't have.
* Use outside services sensibly - mostly where you desire to save time or where special-purpose gear is needed.
No two campaigns will be similar. Even though your business may be alike as somebody else's, you may have a different philosophy, budget, or capacity to take on advertising, public speaking or phone calls. Only experience will educate you whom marketing approaches works best for you, in terms of your aptitude to do them and in delivering consequences.
3.1.5 Marketing mix customization and customizability by Marc Logman:
According to Marc Logman businesses looking for customized methods of designing, pricing, selling, and delivering their wares can do it themselves or leave it up to the customer.
We are sailing out of the century and into the next with our marketing techniques in full-scale transformation. Top-down marketing is changing into bottom-up. Transaction marketing is changing into relationship marketing. One-way or broadcast marketing is changing to an interactive style to support a dialogue with the client and mass marketing is changing to a customized, one-on-one way of reaching individual customers.
Because of fierce rivalry, long-standing competitive advantages often are no longer sustainable. The policy is to be followed, says d'Aveni (1994), is one of nonstop market annoyance in order to generate "impermanent" competitive advantages.
Hamel and Prahalad (1994) propose that firms should look almost endlessly for new openings. In the middle of such dizzying change, companies must be able to create "real-time" decisions, so their planning and tactics horizons frequently become shorter. To be flexible and highly receptive to market moves, a top-down approach in which business plan decisions precede tactical and planning decisions often no longer supports. Companies should be able to become accustomed to their tactics immediately.
In the same background, a firm's communication approach becomes more and more bottom-up. Rather than determining target group (who?) and communication aim (what?) before deciding on the instrument (how?), specific methods of communicating, such as by means of the Internet, are leading to the recognition of who and what. Moreover, many writers assert that a paradigm shift is happening from transaction marketing to relationship marketing. Firms are beginning to understand that keeping current customers may be more significant than trying to attract new ones.
In the computer business, different hardware specifications may be developed by the customer. Menu options offer choices of hard disk capacity, processing speed, software drivers, and so on. Capacity can be extended; new cards can further be added. Software firms are also developing innovative tools that allow the user to perform several operations more efficiently. Power quest recently introduced the package "Partition magic," which allows users to divide their hard disks more effectively.
Business-to-business markets, in which suppliers sell products to the manufacturer, are using both customization options. Some manufacturers, such as the auto makers, hold suppliers accountable for integrating their products into the final version. Others tend to favor buoying customizable products from the supplier and become accustomed on their own. In the second case, manufacturers often rely on competent integration-engineering division. The Laboratory of Production Technologies of Siemens in Belgium transform the basic technology into integrated solutions that fit completely into the production lines of different Siemens divisions.
Offering the price discounts is one of the most popular ways to customize prices. Criteria for discounting often includes a customer's sales volume, its sales history (such as being loyal or not), and the time of purchase. High-volume customers might get special discounts, users of old product versions might get discounts on new product versions, and so on. Another way to customize prices is through customizing the product, with additional product option leading to higher prices.
According to Logman (1996) points out that, especially in today's rapidly changing business environment, customers may have different information needs. Some might want to be informed about new product versions, whereas the others are interested in information about possible upgrades of old product description. The Price-sensitive customers may be interested to some extent in promotional information, whereas the quality-sensitive customers may be interested in product information.
To meet the individual information needs, a firm can either communicate directly to the customers or adjust its information (such as through direct mail) or else it can offer a customizable information system that allows customers to find the preferred information easily. The World Wide Web is the most salient instance of the latter framework, with clientele selecting from corporate Web sites.
Distribution and Logistics
Customers now have much more freedom in choosing the logistics and methods of distribution to fit their detailed requirements. They can determine when, where, and how they want goods to be delivered; they can even state the manner in which they want goods to be handled before and after the delivery. Gilmore and Pine (1997) refer to this as the "representation" requirements.
After-Sales Support and Costs
Like many products, services can also be bundled into a customized service parcel. In numerous industries, customized "augmented" solution that includes both product and service are offered. In b to-b markets, such as in the mainframe computer business, sales contracts frequently cover agreements on product maintenance, substitution, and so on.
By using a remote control system that permits diagnosis and possible remedy of product defects from a distance, customers' after-sales costs may be condensed. Nashuatec does make use of such a system in the fax business. The Web provides another chance in this direction. By transferring video images of a product performance, product failures can be detected.
After-sales costs, to some extent, can be customized by end users. Someone who buys a fresh car may decide to opt for lower energy costs by driving at a reasonably price rate of speed. A company may manufacture a copy machine that is simple for customers to maintain and repair themselves. Service costs are thereby condensed and the customers after sales cost perceptions may be positively influenced.
CUSTOMIZED OR CUSTOMIZABLE: A TRADE-OFF?
Businesses clearly have two alternatives when it comes to producing and marketing a product or a service: either going for the customize marketing mix instruments or let the customers themselves do it. The choice depends on numerous considerations.
Finally, a firm must think about the independencies and interdependencies of its marketing mix decision. Can it present customized final product while offering a customizable information network for after-sales communication? Does price customizability results from product customizability? Can experienced computer users design their personal PCs from a list of options of standard components at a price that seems suitable to them? Will customizing methods of distribution affects price?
With marketing practices in such a flux, companies are ever looking for innovative solutions to customize their ways of offering products and services. Using the framework provided here allows marketing practitioners to assess different customization options for their marketing mix instruments. But some warnings are in order.
When a firm chooses to customize the marketing mix at its own, it should take care to make sure that its marketing policy is transparent and clear-cut to customers. Offering inconsistent solutions to diverse people may be seen as giving special treatment to some while discriminating against others and offering inexpert customers a "do-it-yourself" customizable product or service might be able to result in confusion, dissatisfaction, or even in a disaster. Along with the advances in technology that facilitate both customization and customizability comes with a new array of challenges. But careful decisions based on a proper framework for assessing the options can result in a marketing mix that draws closer to providing everything to every customer.
3.2 Brand Equity:
3.2.1 Brand Equity Definition & Concept:
According to Philip Kotler and Gary Armstrong, Brand Equity is defined as how much is a brand worth of? Brand equity refers towards the value of the brand. Brand equity does not develop immediately. A brand needs to be cautiously nurtured and marketed so customers feel real value and trust regarding that brand. Nike, Adidas, Harrods, all have high brand equity. These brands command high awareness and consumer loyalty. But how much are these brands really worth? It is hard to put a value on these brands. But how much is a pair of Nike trainer's worth without the logo on it?
According to Scott D. White, Brand equity can be defined in many diverse ways. He has developed an easy, yet dominant definition of brand equity. For a brand to be strong it must achieves two things over time: i.e. retain current customers and attract new ones.
To the amount, a brand does these things well, it grows stronger versus opposition, and delivers more earnings to its owners. Flouting down the definition of brand equity into its two components, one can more easily determine a dependable way to measure the brand equity, and to track changes in brand equity over time. The components of retention, brand equity, and attraction of customers, stem from people experiences with and perceptions of a brand.
The ability to keep customers is largely experiential. A high equity brand displays stronger levels of customer satisfaction and loyalty. History has shown that customers will continue to buy a brand that can offer them "their money's worth." The ability to create a center of attention for new customers is largely perceptual. Because consumers do not have actual brand experience and they must go by what they hear, see and judge about a brand. The two primary ways through market receives this information is by messages controlled by marketing, such as the advertising and PR efforts and as well as uncontrolled messages such as the press stories and "word of mouth."
3.2.2 Brand Equity Variables:
184.108.40.206 Brand Awareness:
Brand awareness is a marketing concept that measures customer's knowledge of a brand's existence. At the aggregate level, it refers to the amount of consumers who know of the brand.
Measurement driven conceptualization:
Brand awareness is the degree to which a brand is associated with a particular product and is documented by potential and existing consumers either positively or negatively. Formation of brand awareness is the main goal of advertising at the beginning of any product's life cycle in the target markets. In fact, brand awareness has influence on the buying behavior of a buyer. All of these calculations are at best approximations. A better complete understanding of the brand can occur if numerous measures are used. Brand equityÂ is the positive effect of the brand on the differentiation between the prices that the consumer accepts to pay when the brand known compared to the value of the benefit received.
220.127.116.11 Brand Association:
Brand Associations are not the benefits, but they are the images and symbols associated with a brand or a brand benefit. For instance- The Nike Swoosh, Nokia sound, the Film Stars as with "Lux", signature tune the Ting-ting-ta-ding with Britannia, Blue color with the Pepsi, etc. Associations are not the "reasons-to-buy" but provide contacts and differentiation that is not replicable. It is relating perceived qualities of a brand to a known unit. For example- Hyatt Hotel is linked with the luxury and comfort; BMW is linked with sophistication, and superior engineering. The most popular brand associations are with the possessors of a brand, such as - Mr. Bill Gates and Microsoft, Reliance and Dhirubhai Ambani.
Brand associations are formed on the following basis:
Customers contact with the organization and its employees;
Word of mouth publicity;
Price at which the brand is sold;
Celebrity/big entity association;
Quality of the product;
Products and schemes offered by competitors;
Product class/category to which the brand belongs;
POP ( Point of purchase) displays; etc
Positive brand associations can be developed if the product which the brand depicts is durable, and desirable. The consumers must be persuaded that the brand owns the features and attributes that can satisfy their needs. This can lead to consumers having a positive impression about the product. Positive brand association helps a business to gain goodwill, and hinders the competitor's entry into the market.
Brand association is anything which is deeply seated in consumer's mind about the brand. Brand should be linked with something positive that can help customers to relate your brand being positive. Brand associations are the qualities of brand which come into customers mind when the brand is talked about. It is associated with the implicit and explicit meanings which a customer relates or associates with a specific brand name.
Brand association can also be defined as the extent to which a specific product/service is familiar within its product/service or category. While selecting a brand name, it is necessary that the name chosen should emphasize a significant attribute or benefit that forms it's product positioning. For example - Power book.
18.104.22.168 Brand Impression/ Perception:
Brand perception is actually how the public (the ones you areÂ relatingÂ to) sights the product. It's the desired team shirt a football fan wears on Sundays. Band's poster hung in a teenager's room. An opinion voiced to a buddy.
Brand experiences and perceptions are developed over time through a mixture of sources, including:
Previous experience with the brand
Interactions with sales, customer service, and other employees
Recommendations from friends and colleagues
Reviews by reputable sources
Brand managers need to know that how consumers perceive and select the brands in specific product categories and market segments. One also need to know that what is important to consumers when making a brand decision, where consumers get the information about products and services, and what consumers think about your brand.
22.214.171.124 Brand Attachment:
Brand attachment is what you vie for. It is critical not only to get your target customers make a purchase from you, but also to make them empathize with your brand. People are often inclined to award things with human characteristics and emotions. That is precisely what you want them to do. Making your brand more personal and you will get a chance to win your consumers lifelong loyalty and passion.
Brands are shaped to distinct products from their competitors and join their consumers to them by building up their loyalty. Product promotion cannot be a easy and dull process of making profit. In order to have success, it has to affect both the rational and emotional aspects of human nature. A product selling, based only on their normal benefits and qualities, is not probable any more. As a high competition level makes it to be so. Therefore, brands need somewhat more to attract customers to their products.
3.2.3 Brands and brand equity: definition and management by Lisa Wood:
According to Lisa Wood, an attempt to define the relationship between consumers and brands produced the term ``brand equity'' in the marketing literature. The idea behind brand equity has been debated both in the accounting and marketing literatures, and has also highlighted the importance of having a long-term focus within the brand management. Although there have been major moves by companies to be strategic in the way that the brands are managed, a lack of common terminology and philosophy within n between disciplines persists and may deter communication.
Brand equity, like the concepts of brand and the added value has been discussed in the section headed the brand construct has proliferated into numerous meanings. Accountants tend to describe brand equity differently from marketers, with the idea being defined both in terms of the relationship between consumer and brand or as something that accrues to the brand owner (the company-oriented definitions).
According to Feldwick (1996) simplifies the diversity of approaches, by providing a classification of different meanings of brand equity as the total value of a brand as a separable asset ;
Â± when it is sold, or included on a balance sheet;
A measure of the strength of consumers' attachment to a brand
A description of the associations and beliefs the consumer has about the brand.
The first of these is often known as brand valuation or brand value, and is the meaning generally accepted by financial accountants. The concept of measuring the customer's level of attachment to a brand is known as brand strength (synonymous of brand loyalty). The third could be called the brand image, though Feldwick (1996) did use the term brand description. When the marketers use the term ``brand equity'' they tend to mean the brand description or the brand strength. Brand strength and brand description at times referred to as the ``customer brand equity'' to distinguish them from asset valuation meaning.
Brand description is different because it would not be expected to be quantified, whereas the brand strength and brand value are considered quantifiable (though the methods of quantification are not covered by this article). Brand value may be thought to be separate as it refers to the actual or notional business transaction, while the other two focuses on the customer. There is an unspecified relationship between interpretations of the brand equity. This connection implies the causal chain.
3.2.4 Managing Brand Equity in Rapidly Changing Markets by Carol Holding:
Several years ago, brand equity received the ultimate accolade in a capitalist society: a dollar value- sometimes listed with other intangible assets in the annual report. The highest valued brand today is Coca Cola. Its value according to Financial World is $39 billion. That's the extra margin people will pay to get the real thing over a generic brand. On the other hand, IBM's brand, though third in value this year, was by one estimate actually negative last year. In other words, if you put the IBM logo on the product, it actually reduced the value of that product versus an unknown brand.
Both of these companies, Coca Cola and IBM, have gone through enormous change, yet one managed to build its equity and one lost it. Though each company's management decisions and style had something to do with the outcomes, they also faced different types of rapid change, one far more challenging than the other.
Coca Cola was taking its core product, Coke, and expanding the product in new form factors and new overseas markets. The brand promise stayed the same whether it was sold in a Coke store in New York or a road side stands in Mongolia - refreshment, good times, and pure Americana. While maintaining a brand's strength through all this continuous change is certainly not a no-brainer - witness the New Coke debacle and the Pepsi Challenge - a brand encountering this kind of rapid change is easier to manage than the kind of change IBM faced: disruptive change.
Disruptive change occurs when a stable market encounters a new technology or social phenomenon that totally alters the solutions customers will demand. The digitization of video is a perfect example: it will alter the way we consume cable and broadcast programming, the way we rent movies, the way we use our computers - and companies in these industries will have to change rapidly and radically. Another example: The social phenomenon of "the new temperance" has led to whole new beverage categories as "alcohol free beers" as well as the spectacular growth of coffee bars. Bars that survived have espresso machines installed. Our public libraries are going through this kind of brand redefinition: once the repository of books, their focus on book acquisition dropped while the focus on electronic access and community activities went up, and now they are public media and Internet access centers as much or more than they are lenders of books.
Managing a brand through disruptive change requires guarding the historical brand promise - in IBM's case, a single source supplier for all computing needs, safety, security - while expanding the brand promise (and product line) to incorporate the new disruptive technology, in IBM's case, client server networking between disparate types of equipment.
Looking at some of the world's strongest brands, they have each distinguished themselves from all competitors in the market. And each has been managed through periods of rapid change which have actually strengthened the brand. Despite morphing of markets and products, we immediately recognize each brand's promise, just by looking at a name and symbol - both in terms of product category and in emotional benefit.Â
Think of the technology names with which we are familiar. Intel makes the world's fastest processors. Branding through a period of continuous change has so strongly associated this symbol with attributes of speed and power that people buying 286 computers are still looking for Intel Inside. It gives buyers the emotional benefit of feeling smart, like they know what they're doing when they buy a PC, and secure that they're buying the best. That brand has so much equity that even the Pentium scandal where headlines screamed that Pentium doesn't calculate accurately didn't slow Intel sales.Â
So one of the benefits of branding is protection from customer wrath in times of trouble. I've talked about the case for higher margins - certainly true for Intel. A strong brand also yields higher repurchase rates, because buyers tend to be risk averse, and why try something new if you already know and like the brand you've bought before.Â
Continuing with the Intel brand example: Intel gets better productivity from its marketing efforts because it doesn't have to spend any time or money explaining what Intel is. You see a banner for Intel at a trade show and all it has to say is Intel. An ad for Intel products can really focus on the products and benefits and doesn't have to explain Intel. Best of all, every headline, every claim has more power and credibility because it comes from Intel.
3.2.5 Brand equity through the eyes of the consumer: The case for measuring 'Commitment':Â
'Brand value is very much like an onion. It has layers and a core. The core is the user who will stick with you until the very end.' This much used quote from Edwin Artz seems simplistic at first glance, but the deeper you delve into it, the more profound are the implications for the brand management process, especially in the measurement of 'brand equity'.
Whilst many definitions of 'brand equity' exist, most of them agree that any measurement should involve some combination of overall presence, usage or saliency, and public perceptions of the brand.Â However, this is more of an inside-out rather than the more realistic outside-in view of the brand and one in which not enough importance is given to the consumer experience that the brand generates. Brands are not central to consumers' lives - but consumers are central to a brand's existence; and so any approach to measuring brand equity needs to recognize that.
Any practically useful measurement is not simply a function of presence and perceptions, but must also capture the quality of the relationship that the brand has created with its users.Â
We use the Conversion Model; which views 'Commitment' as the Holy Grail of brand building and measures equity as the brand's ability to convert promiscuous consumers into loyal apostles.Â
Commitment is an attitudinal measure as compared to a behavioural one. Loyalty is behavioural and for that reason alone is not a sufficiently accurate reflection of the consumer-brand relationship.Â There may be times when consumers may be highly satisfied with a brand yet still defect to the competition; similarly, dissatisfied consumers do not necessarily gravitate away from a brand at the first opportunity.
Measuring commitment in theÂ UAEÂ youth market: To further illustrate the significance of commitment as a tool for measuring brand equity, we recently conducted online interviews (using the TNS online consumer panel, 6th Dimension) amongst 400 respondents aged 16-24 in theÂ UAE.
Our objective was to take a useful measurement of brand equity of key brands in cold beverages (carbonated soft drinks, energy drinks, iced teas etc) and electronic gadgets (MP3 players, gaming consoles, mobile phones etc). Analyzing the results gives a clear idea of how commitment can shed light on the strength of the brand, important category dynamics, and emerging trends within these categories.
As a category electronic gadgets generate greater commitment than cold beverages. A typical youngÂ UAEÂ national is more likely to try out different brands of beverages but unlikely to experiment with brand choice in electronics.
While some of this can be attributed to higher switching costs or perceived risk, it also implies that most electronics companies have managed to create a differentiated brand offering through product innovations.
Thus 66% of respondents tended to be single minded (i.e. committed to one brand) in their choice of gadgets, while only 47% were single minded in their choice of beverages. The implication is that market factors are more likely to influence brand usage in the beverages category.
Bigger may not always be better:
Commitment is also a very useful indicator of future market share. In the cold beverages category a higher incidence of consumption does not necessarily lead to higher commitment.Â Brands such as Pepsi, 7Up and Coca-Cola currently have the highest consumption levels. However, when we look into commitment levels we see that new age niche beverages such as Lipton Ice Tea, Power Horse and Oronamin-C enjoy the highest commitment levels in the category, with more committed consumers in their franchises than in the larger brands.
This means that these brands have created a strong, dedicated following and while they may be smaller brands currently, they have the potential to wean more and more consumers and hence represent a very real future threat for these large CSD brands.
Based on our experience with cold drinks then, one might argue that a large consumer base leads inevitably to lower commitment. However, for iconic/power brands in some categories this is not the case.Â
Nokia's 'human' innovation brings success:
An example of this is the performance of Nokia in the electronic gadgets category. Nokia has by far the largest user base with a massive 90% of our respondents claiming to own a Nokia phone. But the more significant measure of Nokia's success as a brand is that 75% of those users are committed to the brand.
This is testament to Nokia's strategy of constant innovation yet consistent adherence to the values of human technology. The only other brands that come close are the iconic Apple Ipod and Sony Vaio, both of which enjoy only a fraction of Nokia's consumer base.Â
An interesting aspect of Nokia's success is that perhaps brands need to be unfettered by the confines of their category and focus primarily on the consumer experience they wish to generate.Â
Would Nokia have managed to create such strong commitment if it thought of itself as just a mobile phone company, and stayed away from photography or music streaming? In a city about to become home to the latest Armani hotel and Versace Pallazo surely that's food for thought.Â
3.2.6 Public Relations is a Brand Equity Investment, Not an Expense by Monique Tatum:Â With the abundance of advertising and marketing channels out there for businesses nowadays, it leaves each CEO or small business owner to wonder which one will get them the biggest bang for their buck; which one will establish their product, their brand or even their persona as an author or expert within the field of choice?
The rise of the current recession is a major influence in the decisions that c-level executives are making these days. Can you cut costs and forge ahead to still see a brighter day is the question at hand. By brighter day I mean a bank account ending in as many zeros as many of these executives had before 2009.
Many business owners are turning in desperate attempts to Google Adwords and spending a fortune on pay per click ads, while others are spending tons of loot on cold calling and lead generation campaigns.
Then there is a small percentage of business owners that are sitting on their hands and holding their breath just hoping that the new website improvements they recently made will gain all of those extra leads they need so bad to stay afloat. Sorry Charlie- Your hands might turn blue but that's not the way to do it.
Then there is one magical channel called Public Relations. Business owners often forget about this avenue, or simply do not know that it exists. Many people often bundle it into the marketing category or simply believe it is writing a press release and placing it into a hot air balloon to watch their money go bye bye. When you team up with the right PR firm, that is not the case.
The right PR firm can land you national news articles, gain the attention of top bloggers, get you a few radio interviews, and push out sales to magazines for your products and so much more. However the reason owners shy away from public relations is because it can be quite costly.
A well connected PR firm can run a business anywhere from $3,500- $5,000 per month. The thing is what kind of kick back can a business owner expect in return?
Over a year's time a Public Relations retainer can surely come back to any business owner that has truly acquired the right firm. In short public Relations should be considered an investment in a business and not at all an expense. Instead of throwing random dollars out to actual advertising, why are more businesses not jumping on the bandwagon to open the eyes and ears of their prospects with solid PR?