MARKETING MIX: PRODUCT AND BRANDING STRATEGIES Abstract Brands have now transcended their general definition of just being a name or logo that differentiates them from other products in the market to a more humane and characterized version to which people can relate to and come to depend on in their everyday lives. According to Fournier brands create relationship with customers. This paper agrees with the statement in the goods only category for Coca Cola however for the service only it does not hold true in this particular case for Disney’s Pixar Animation Studio.
Lastly, it looks at the implications for managers and how they can support their brand to outshine others in the market and garner a more loyal base resulting in profits. Marketing Mix: Products and Branding Strategies The American Marketing Association defines a brand as a “name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers”.
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However, in today’s competitive and consumer driven world brands are no longer simply names to identify a certain product or service they have taken the shape of a living character that has the ability to be a part of one’s self, family and everyday life (Fournier, 1998) Brand Ambassadors Brands have evolved into ‘people’ for consumers. When we talk about a brand we don’t just mean to consume a product or service. Repeated purchases and the satisfaction derived from them takes brands to a higher level.
Brand loyalists expect brands to not only cater to their immediate but also psychological needs such as provide comfort, superior quality or service. There is a sense of attachment and relatedness to brands. Marketers and brand managers have started thinking of brands as not only a colorful logo or a catching tag-line and attractive packaging but also by characterizing it. Rolex has consistently presented its brand as a symbol of ‘power and success’ reinforcing it through advertising their watches through two most successful players, Tiger Woods and Roger Federer.
Brand managers are looking for ‘brand ambassadors’ to carry out the personalization of brands and the benefits they have to offer to the consumer. People expect brands to deliver their expectations like from human beings and not to disappoint them. Successful brands always stay ahead and think of their consumer needs and how they can be personalized more so the brand becomes an essential part of their everyday lives. Enterprise Rent-a-Car has personalized its brand through its superior customer service.
They understood their consumer’s needs for immediate and convenient service and whenever a car breaks down or is unavailable Enterprise’s name comes up the first thing in our heads. People have formed a relationship with McDonald’s Golden Arches and Ronald McDonald. Wherever they will see a familiar, smiling Ronald McDonald they’ll know the restaurant is present even if it’s in a foreign country. The New Coke vs. Coke Classic The best example of customer- brand relationship is of Coca-Cola Classic and the New Coke.
Coca Cola has been in the maturity stage of the product life cycle for a long time as it continues to cater to millions of consumers worldwide across 200 countries everyday and continues to remain substantially profitable and ahead of its competitors. It has met with competition from Pepsi and other beverage makers yet it markets the top four of five beverage brands in the world. In 1985, New Coke was revealed to the consumers amid much fan fare, TV commercials and promises of ‘smoother but bolder’ taste.
Though product surveys had concluded that the taste of New Coke was preferred however, the deep attachment of consumers to the original Coca Cola formula and their association with it was so strong that Coca Cola soon saw consumers protest and hoarding of the old version of product. On July, 11 the New Coca Cola was taken off shelves. “We did not understand the deep emotions of so many of our customers for Coca-Cola. ” (Keough, n. d) As mentioned earlier, successful brands keep their consumers needs in view however Coca Cola made the error of not asking their loyal consumers if they even wanted to change their favorite beverage (Craig, n. ) Thus, this clearly shows that consumers form a relationship with brands and come to rely on it. They reject changes that take away that personalization aspect from the product that makes it their favorite. Even after 20 years the original Coca Cola is still the most preferred brand of millions worldwide. Disney Pixar Animation Studios With the advent of computers, animation has become an integral part of movies and they continue to entertain young and adults alike. Disney’s Pixar is a name among many which has produced outstanding movies like Wall-E, Ratatouille, Finding Nemo, etc.
All these movies have fascinated viewers and pulled in billions of dollars worth of business. However, brand loyalty would not be the term for Pixar. Audiences enjoy movies that provide great entertainment and although Pixar provides excellent animates stories and characters and audiences expect them to do so yet they will basically focus more on the film rather than the movie studio producing it. Audiences are pulled in by the movie storylines, their characters and how they are portrayed. Even though big movie studios have better resources and greater distribution networks yet it does not guarantee them blockbuster movies every time.
Animation studios like Pixar are in the maturity stage where other studios like Dream works SKG is also trying to make its marks and produce quality animated movies including Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and others which were also successful at the box office. Therefore what pulls in audiences is not the studio name itself rather it’s the story line and the entertainment provided by the movie. Implication for Brand Managers Fournier’s customer-brand relationship holds true for the goods only category in this paper whereas for the studio example it does not hold true.
Brand management is an important aspect for any company that wishes to succeed in the consumer market. To have an effective position in the minds of the consumers and the ways to attract them and make them loyal to their particular brand is what most marketers aim to do. A foundation of brand loyalists allows the organization to charge a higher price and spend less on advertising, free trials and other promotional costs, with final result being an increase in shareholder wealth and continued profits. The key to managing brand identity is evolution, not revolution.
Marketers are often tempted to radically change brands and products, which is a highly visible activity. Totally changing the brand visuals can give rise to consumer concerns about changes of ownership, or possible changes in brand values, or even unjustified extravagance (cited in Bennett & Rundel-Thiele, 2005) Marketers must seek to be maximally different from competitors, and this requires more radical innovation. Brand managers must take risks. One successful launch involving a maximum difference will be very profitable and far more memorable for customers.
Organizations seeking to improve brand loyalty should first identify the level at which their brand is successfully operating (functional, emotional or symbolic), and then develop marketing programs designed to resonate with the consumer at that level in a way that differentiates the brand from the competition. The ultimate goal for a brand manager would be a brand community, where consumers affiliate with other consumers around a brand (cited in Bennett & Rundel-Thiele, 2005). References Bennett, R. & Rundel-Thiele, S. (2005). The Brand loyalty life cycle: implications for marketers. Journal of Brand Management, 12(4), Retrieved February 17, 2010 from http://web. ebscohost. com/bsi/pdf? vid=3&hid=106&[email protected] Craig, S. (n. d). New coke and other marketing fiascoes. Retrieved February 17, 2010 from http://www. msnbc. msn. com/id/7209828/ Fournier, S. (1998). Consumers and their brands: developing relationship theory in consumer research.
Journal of Consumer Research, Retrieved February 17, 2010 from http://web. ebscohost. com/bsi/pdf? vid=3&hid=106&[email protected] Keough, D. R. (n. d). New coke and other marketing fiascoes. Retrieved from http://www. msnbc. msn. com/id/7209828/ Lake, L. (n. d. ). What is Branding and how important is it to your marketing strategy? Retrieved Fevruary 17, 2010 fromhttp://marketing. about. com/cs/brandmktg/a/whatisbranding. htm