The value of branding to the buyer and the seller
In their simplest form, a brand is a name or a logo associated with a product, service or business (Kotler and Armstrong, 2014). However, most authors recognise that a successful brand constitutes far more than just these components and in many cases a brand is associated with a particular lifestyle or a mark of quality for the business.
Indeed, Orend and Gagné (2009) describe the practice of individuals adorning their skin with tattoos of corporate logos to associate themselves with a particular brand. In this case, the brand has value to both the buyer and the seller. Few things are more permanent than a tattoo, so the buyer is showing commitment and loyalty to the brand and their affiliation to the positive attributes of that brand, benefiting the individual’s image. The seller also benefits by demonstrating their experience in that sector and the long term reliability of their products, resulting in greater sales.
What are some ways of promoting brand loyalty?
Tattoos are perhaps the ultimate way of demonstrating brand loyalty but not all methods need to be so permanent! Speyer (2010) describes the pursuit of brand loyalty by marketers as the creation of value for a consumer by targeting the aspects of a brand or product that they think will appeal to their target market segment. This could be by providing exceptional customer service, associating their brand with a certain type of lifestyle or exploiting a price point.
Consider the Cola wars of the 1980’s. Campaigns by Coca Cola and Pepsi were designed to divide opinion on the respective beverages and increase brand loyalty of one over the other (Muniz and Hamer, 2001). In a crowded soft drink market, targeting sales on facets other than price was essential to maintain market share.
Why would customers prefer a no-brand-name PC? Is the price all that matters? Shouldn’t they also be concerned about quality?
Hall (2013) raises the importance of first describing a clear mission for the brand and then determining where the brand sits within the wider market so that it can be marketed correctly.
Ali (2007) describes how in general consumers prefer branded products even if they are more expensive as there is an element of trust associated with the quality of the brand. However, Tuttle (2012) observes that increasingly there is a trend towards non-branded products, with consumers looking to save money. With personal computers, price is obviously one of the deciding factors in determining whether a purchase is made but as Tuttle notes, quality is less of a factor as many manufacturers of branded computers already use non-branded components and there is less distinction between the quality of branded and non-branded products.
Ali, K. (2007) Why Do People Prefer Brand Name Products? [Online]. Available from: http://ezinearticles.com/?Why-Do-People-Prefer-Brand-Name-Products?&id=774044 (Accessed: 9 February 2013).
Hall, S. (2013) The Marketer’s Guide to Developing a Strong Brand Identity. [Online]. Available from: http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/34238/The-Marketer-s-Guide-to-Developing-a-Strong-Brand-Identity.aspx (Accessed: 9 February 2014).
Kotler, P. & Armstrong, G. (2014) Principles of Marketing, 15th Edition. London: Pearson Education Ltd.
Muniz, A. & Hamer, L. (2001) ‘Us Versus Them: Oppositional Brand Loyalty and the Cola Wars’, Advances in Consumer Research, 28, pp.355-361. [Online]. Available from: http://www.acrwebsite.org/search/view-conference-proceedings.aspx?Id=8512 (Accessed: 9 February 2014).
Orend, A. & Gagné, P. (2009) ‘Corporate Logo Tattoos and the Commodification of the Body’, Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 38(4), pp.493-517, Sage. [Online]. Available from: http://jce.sagepub.com/content/38/4/493.short (Accessed: 9 February 2014).
Speyer, B. (2010) How to Establish Brand Loyalty and Increase Sales. [Online]. Available from: https://websuccessteam.com/WSTblog/2010/02/how-to-establish-brand-loyalty-and-increase-sales/ (Accessed: 9 February 2014).
Tuttle (2012) Brand Names Just Don’t Mean as Much Anymore. [Online]. Available from: http://business.time.com/2012/11/01/brand-names-just-dont-mean-as-much-anymore/ (Accessed: 9 February 2014).