Critics of large advertising expenditures for brand building point out that awareness is only one aspect of creating a strong brand. More significant to a brand’s strength is the underlying business and how it relates to its customers. Brands simply cannot be invented overnight and a strong brand is the result of creating a promise to consumers—one that is clear and memorable — and then creating a history of fulfilling that promise. Once awareness is achieved, companies must focus their brand-building efforts on conveying what the company does rather than what it represents.
Before the dot-com shakeout of 2000, many dotcom brand managers mistakenly believed that brand awareness would of itself create enough momentum to lead to brand loyalty. As an example, the domain name Business.com was sold for $7.5 million, with the buyers reportedly believing that the name itself would constitute the bulk of the company’s brand building. Other dot-coms, such as Computer.com, believed that an expensive one-shot Super Bowl ad would build its brand overnight. For the 2000 Super Bowl, some 17 dot-coms placed ads, compared to only three in 2001.
This thinking has been replaced by the realization that brand-building is a long-term process that needs to be established on a solid customer relationship based on service and community. The most successful online brands have created online communities and cult like followings; they include Google, Facebook, Amazon, Coca-Cola, Starbucks.
Brand positioning refers to “target consumer’s” reason to buy your brand in preference to others. It is ensures that all brand activity has a common aim; is guided, directed and delivered by the brand’s benefits/reasons to buy; and it focusses at all points of contact with the consumer.
Brand positioning must make sure that:
- Is it unique/distinctive vs. competitors?
- Is it significant and encouraging to the niche market?
- Is it appropriate to all major geographic markets and businesses?
- Is the proposition validated with unique, appropriate and original products?
- Is it sustainable – can it be delivered constantly across all points of contact with the consumer?
- Is it helpful for organization to achieve its financial goals?
- Is it able to support and boost up the organization?
In order to create a distinctive place in the market, a niche market has to be carefully chosen and a differential advantage must be created in their mind. Brand positioning is a medium through which an organization can portray it’s customers what it wants to achieve for them and what it wants to mean to them. Brand positioning forms customer’s views and opinions.
Brand positioning can be defined as an activity of creating a brand offer in such a manner that it occupies a distinctive place and value in the target customer’s mind. For instance – Kotak Mahindra positions itself in the customer’s mind as one entity- “Kotak ”- which can provide customized and one-stop solution for all their financial services needs. It has an unaided top of mind recall. It intends to stay with the proposition of “Think Investments, Think Kotak”. The positioning you choose for your brand will be influenced by the competitive stance you want to adopt.
Brand positioning involves identifying and determining points of similarity and difference to ascertain the right brand identity and to create a proper brand image. Brand positioning is the key of marketing strategy. Strong brand positioning directs marketing strategy by explaining the brand details, the uniqueness of brand and it’s similarity with the competitive brands, as well as the reasons for buying and using that specific brand. Positioning is the base for developing and increasing the required knowledge and perceptions of the customers. It is the single feature that sets your service apart from your competitors. For instance – King Fisher Airlines stands for youth and excitement. It represents brand in full flight.
There are various positioning errors, such as-
- Under positioning– Customers have a blurred and unclear idea of the brand.
- Over positioning– Customers have too limited an awareness of the brand.
- Confused positioning– Customers have a confused opinion of the brand.
- Double Positioning– Customers do not accept the claims of a brand.
Brand evokes the responses. There are many people who love their Apple iPhone or love their car etc. There are certain feelings that come to your mind when you think about your favorite brands. People expect that these brands should demonstrate brand promises every time whenever they are, encountered. Inconsistencies in the performance of services can lead to damage in further relations. This can cause a customer to select some other brand.
Brand promise is what you say to the customer and what is to be delivered. If you are not able to meet the expectations of the customer, your business will either flounder or die. If you are not able to deliver the brand promise you will not be able to meet the expectations that have been created in the customers mind.
There are three major mistakes that the business leaders make while executing and developing the brand promise:
- The first mistake is when you refuse to recognize the customer expectations that are created in customers mind before it comes in contact with that particular brand. The customers are very easily able to realize your brand promise by the business you are dealing with. For example, if you have a gourmet restaurant then the customers will have a image in their mind that it will different from the local restaurant. This is one of the major reason, why one should work for every smallest detail. For example, the image of a gourmet restaurant does not include plastic menus or paper placemats.
- The second major mistake is to implement a system which gives a negative experience to the customer. Business leaders work on creating efficient results for saving time and money. Human beings are self-centered creatures with a thought in their mind to save money and time for us. For example, a customers asks do you accept credit card? Do you accept all credit cards or only master card and visa? If you don’t accept these cards, does it make any difference in the cost? More than likely you are losing sales. Then what are the other services you are giving to the customer in place which is the attraction for the customers? Any small inconvenience which will force the customer to say that “you are not completely service oriented” and encourages the customer to move on to your competitor’s brand.
- The third major mistake is that when you are not able to hire the best candidate. You easily hire anyone who applies and don’t even put some efforts to train them gives a really terrible experience to the customers. Brand promises are delivered by the staff. If your goal is to be a business leader you will invest time to train the staff. If you select a person who is very polite and does not even know how to dress up for an interview then your competition should send a thank you card for all the business you will send their way.
Brand Loyalty is a scenario where the consumer fears purchasing and consuming product from another brand which he does not trust. It is measured through methods like word of mouth publicity, repetitive buying, price sensitivity, commitment, brand trust, customer satisfaction, etc. Brand loyalty is the extent to which a consumer constantly buys the same brand within a product category. The consumers remain loyal to a specific brand as long as it is available. They do not buy from other suppliers within the product category. Brand loyalty exists when the consumer feels that the brand consists of right product characteristics and quality at right price. Even if the other brands are available at cheaper price or superior quality, the brand loyal consumer will stick to his brand.
Brand loyal consumers are the foundation of an organization. Greater loyalty levels lead to less marketing expenditure because the brand loyal customers promote the brand positively. It also acts as a means for launching and introducing more products that are targeted at same customers at less expenditure. It also restrains new competitors in the market. Brand loyalty is a key component of brand equity.
Brand loyalty can be developed through various measures such as quick service, ensuring quality products, continuous improvement, wide distribution network, etc. When consumers are brand loyal they love “you” for being “you”, and they will minutely consider any other alternative brand as a replacement. A good example of brand loyalty is the Apple customer that has the brand’s logo tattooed onto their body. Similarly in Finland, Nokia customers remained loyal to Nokia because they admired the design of the handsets or because of user-friendly menu system used by Nokia phones.
Brand loyalty can be defined as relative possibility of customer shifting to another brand in case there is a change in product’s features, price or quality. As brand loyalty increases, customers will respond less to competitive moves and actions. Brand loyal customers remain committed to the brand, are willing to pay higher price for that brand, and will promote their brand always. A company having brand loyal customers will have greater sales, less marketing and advertising costs, and best pricing. This is because the brand loyal customers are less reluctant to shift to other brands, respond less to price changes and self-promote the brand as they perceive that their brand have unique value which is not provided by other competitive brands.
Brand loyalty is always developed post purchase. To develop brand loyalty, an organization should know their niche market, target them, support their product, ensure easy access of their product, provide customer satisfaction, bring constant innovation in their product and offer schemes on their product so as to ensure that customers repeatedly purchase the product.
If you’re interested in learning more about our brand development services, call 614-285-7565. Contact Sigma Creative today!