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The brand is the most important factor in the marketing strategy of a company. Brand represents the name under which a company markets a product and therefore it is an important factor in the overall growth sale of the product. A brand identifies a product from similar other products. In marketing a brand is perhaps the most important factor that differentiates the performance of same products in the market. There will be strong and weak brands in the market but this depends on the product quality and the appeal that the company markets to the target consumers.
Stronger brands tend to sell more events without marketing since they have already won the heart of the consumers. A brand strategy can be defined as an important strategy that a company takes to market its product. A brand strategy is an important strategy that is undertaken by a company to create a strong brand in the market. There are important factors that a company has to take into consideration in formulating a brand strategy. Aaker came up with important factor that a company has to consider in their brand strategy in order to ensure that there is overall success of the brand in the market.
Brand equity is a term which stem from the greater confided that consumer has in a brand compared to the competing brands in the market. This is the way in which consumers perceive a certain brand as more fulfilling to their needs when compared with other brands in the market. It is brand confidence which later translates to the consumer loyalty in a brand. This confidence also helps the consumer to be able to pay a certain premium price in order to obtain certain product in the market. This paper will look closely into brand equity in light of the Aakar model.
It will look into the application of brand equity following the Aaar model for Blacks which is one of the leading shopping outlets in Britain. It will apply the four factors to make recommendation to the board on what the company can undertake to develop strong brand equity. Background of the company Black Leisure Group is one of the leading companies in the UK that holds different shopping outdoor groups under that name. The company has been raised an important preference to customer owing to strong brands they have created in the market.
Under the company there are three outdoor groups which operate under that name. These include millet, Blacks, Free Spirit, Mambo, and O’Neill Rectal and O’Neill Whole sale. Millet is the largest outdoor retail in the UK and has specialized in the provision of all the products which are used in various outdoor activities. On the other hand Mambo and Free sprit are the leading rattail chain in the emerging UK board wear market. The company has been able to consolidate the retail outdoor marketing by positioning different outlets in different markets.
This has ensured that there is a high level of specialization from each retail outlet which has given the company a competitive edge when company to others. This is because all the groups under the name market different product and they are able to give the best owing to a high level of specialization. Freespirit is the leading UK shop which is known for distribution of the surf, skate and snowboard, footwear and others. The demand of the product in the market has been increasing and currently there are more than 30 free sprit stores distributed all over the UK.
They mainly cater for the young, active and the fashion conscious men and women who have shown increasing need for these products. On the other hand Mambo has risen to be a leading Australian surf and street wear brand. The product was launched in 1984 in a pair of some reasonable authentic board shorts and a small range of oversized t-shirts. The brand has grown over the years from an irrelevant and sardonic brand into an icon in the surf wear labels. This has been achieved through effective brand management strategy which has made the brand a name in the surf wear segment.
O’Neill has grown to become a leading name in the world of board wear. The Black Leisure Group plc has been the exclusive right of distribution of this brand. The brand in sold in wholesale and retain in the whole of UK and currently there are about 8 outlets which operate under the name of O’Neill mainly selling the board wear. The Board wear Division is comprised of the wholesale and the retail arms of the O’Neill brand which has risen to become one of the leading names in the board wear market.
In order to consolidate the market well, the group has been given an exclusive distribution right for the brand in the UK market. Dimension of brand equity Brand equity is build around brand personality. Bother terms are important and they are used to support the other. Brand personally describes the core factors which to identify brand. These are the characters of a brand which helps a certain market segment to identify with that brand compared to all the other brands in the same category.
Brand personality is therefore a measure of personality related to a brand in the market. Brand personality is an important concept that helps to identify the brand with the target market. It is personalization of any brand according to the target market. Brand personality is therefore the profile of any brand which is used as an analogy with human beings. They are those characteristic which will assist somebody to like the certain brands compared to the other brands in the same market. There are many considerations that a customer makes when they are in the market.
There are those consideration that will make the customer get more attracted to buy a product while there are those which will make someone to dislike a brand even before it they have had an experience with it. Therefore there are specific characteristics in a brand that helps the customer to choose one brand from the other. When we go shopping we usually make a number of considerations which can be cognitive, economical or psychological. For example unless we are doing impulse shopping we will always purchase a product that we need.
This means that we must have a physiological factor that is compelling us to purchase that product. But when we go shopping, we are likely to meet different brands in the market. Among all those brands we are supposed to purchase one. At this juncture there is different consideration that we will make to choose one brand from all those we find in the shop. One of the considerations we are like to make is the economic consideration. Most researches have shown that customers are likely to by that product that will give them maximum utility from the amount that they will invest.
No one is likely to purchase a product that will not give them the needed value. We will also make cognitive consideration like we are likely to purchase products that we think matches our class. In this case this might also depend on the place where we are going to shop. All these factors are found in the brand that we are purchase. We will purchase the brand that will earn more marks after going through this consideration. This is an important factor in the marketing and the branding strategy since a brand will tend to include most of the characteristic which will enable it to appeal to the target market.
Therefore brand personality will be the characteristic in this brand which will help the customer to give it more markets when compared to the rest of the brands. These are the characteristic of the brand that makes the customer seen the brand as more fulfilling to other needs compared to the other brands. They are important factor in that brand that can reflect their personal characteristic. If a customer thinks they live in the upper class, then they are likely to purchase products which also reflect an upper class even if they are the same with others.
There has to be a difference that the customer will attribute to that brand that will make them differentiae it with other brands. This will help them to make the final decision to purchase the product. Therefore brand equity as build around brand personality can be described as the incremental value of a certain product which can be attributed to that brand. It is the value that a consumer will attach to a product owing the strength of the brand in the market or owing to the overall value that the consumers are likely to attach to that certain brand.
They are important aspects of the product that have helped the consumer to develop confidence in the brand and which makes them to ultimately choose to pay a certain price for that product compared to the others in the market. Brand equity according to Aaker According to Aaker, there are important steps that brand must go through in order to win the said confidence of the consumers. These are important steps that the brand goes through in the market before it is finally recognized by the consumer and before it makes an impact in the consumer market.
The following are the important stages that are important in building brand equity: • Awareness of the brand • Brand association • Perceive quality • Brand loyalty • Other brands asset or the competitive advantage Aakder assert that brand equity gives value to customer through building the capacity of the customer to interpreter and process the information and to develop confidence in the decision making process as we described above. It also helps to raise the valve of customer by enhancing the user satisfaction of the brand. (Aaker 1991, p. 92)
On the other hand the same brands equity provide value to firms through the enhancement of efficient and the effectiveness of the marketing program, enhancing brand loyalty, prices and the margin, and through enhancing the extension, the leverage of trade and raising its competitive advantage of the brand. (Neumeier 2006, p. 38) Brand equity is therefore useful to both consumers and the firms. It is an important marketing process that determines the way a product is received by consumers and how it performs owing the seen value to the consumers. (Chu and Hean 2006, p 24)
Application of the brand equity model to Blacks Leisure Group To accept and understand the applicability of brand equity model, we will review how this model can be applied to Black Leisure group to understand how the company has built its brands over the years. We will also give recommendation on the further steps that can be undertaken by the company to develop its brand more in the market in view of the personality qualities of the consumers who purchases products from the company. Black Leisure Group is one of the companies which have build strong brand in the UK market.
The company has been specializing in an exception market which can be perceived to have low demand of the product but apparently it is one of the biggest marketing the UK. The market has been growing over the years and the company has responded by producing various brands which are targeted to satisfy the growing market Brand awareness This is the initial step in any brand equity strategy. Brand awareness will encompass various efforts that are carried out by any company in order to raise the awareness of its brand in the market.
Brand awareness is usually achieved through a number of ways which are aimed at ensuring that the brand reaches to the target market. (Keller 2003, p. 50) Black Leisure Group has been making important steps in creating the awareness of their brands. The most important steps that have been taken by the company have been through advertisement in various advertising outlets. Advertisement remains the single most important activities that can be used by any company in order to create brand awareness in the market. The company has carried out various advertisements in the mass media which are aimed at reaching the target market.
However the company has not explored all the available channels to advertisement its product. It overlies on its website to take its proudest to the market. This means that brand awareness is only limited to the segment of the market which is searching for outdoor wear. It should diversify its advertisement strategy so as to reach wide segment of the market even for those who are not involved in advertisement. Brand association Brand association is an important factor in brand equity. Brand association describes the extent to which customers can actually association with the brand that is being sold in the market.
Brand association is determined by the extent to which a brand can satisfy the demands of the consumers. (Ailawadi, Donald and Scott 2003, p. 43) Black Leisure Group has come up with effective brands which the consumers can associate with. The Group has identified important characteristics in their target market group and the therefore it has produced products which reflect the needs of this group. Brand association comes as result of the product bearing the most important characteristic that the target consumers can identify with.
The company should therefore come up with an effective market data that will identify the specific characteristics which can be used by the target group to identify with. In order to understand the important characteristics the company will include in its product, an effective market study should be carried out which well help the company to formulate brand strategy to identify with the target consumers. Perceived quality Perceived quality describes how the consumer thinks they will get in the products compared to what they would get from another brand. It is the comparative advantage of a brand compared to the others.
Perceived quality is important in the purchase decision making process since it is the main factor that is considered by the consumers before they purchase their product. For a company like Black Leisure Group, consumers will make decision on whether to buy their products depending on the quality of their brands compared to other brands in the market. In order to rise the perceive quality of their brands, the company should come up with high quality demands that will meet the needs of the consumer and offer them at an affordable prices. This will ensure that the consumer finds more value for their money.
Brand loyalty The brand loyalty in a brand comes only after the customer has experienced the product and when they find that the product satisfies their demands. It is an after purchase experience of the product that makes the consumers to identify with a particular brand. When the consumer finds that the products are satisfying their demands, they are likely to purchase it again unlike when the product does not satisfy their demand. (Keller 2003, p. 41) Black Leisure Group has provided their customer with goods which keeps them coming again.
Most of the consumer in these shops has been repeated buyers which mean they have already experienced the quality of the products from these shops and they are likely to go for more of their products again. However the company should invest more in the development of their brand in order to address the changing consumer demands. With the increased globalization, customers are having experiences of different products and the marketing strategy has to be kept up to date with the new developments in the market. This will ensure that the company meets the changing nature of consumer demands. (Leuthesser, Kohli and.
Harich 1995, p. 92) Competitive advantage Competitive advantage describes how a brand appeals to the consumers compared to the other brands in the market. Competitive advantage is the sum of all the above process we have reviewed and it describes the specific way in which the brand appeals to the consumer when the compare its value and that of other brands. The Black Leisure Group products have created a competitive advantage over the other brands in the market by given consumer value for their brands. It has ensured that it provides quality products that meet the needs of the consumers.
Conclusion and recommendations Black Leisure Group has strived to create strong brands in the market which has become its important selling point. The company has risen to become a leading outlet for outdoor activity wears. However there are still important areas that the company can improve on in order to widen its market base. The company should come up with more advertisement activities which will ensure that it targets a large customer base. The company should also come up with a variety of needed products which are more aimed at addressing the changing nature of consumer demands in the market.