At core of building brand equity is marketing programs or strategies. Marketing activities can facilitate in increasing brand awareness as well as in creating the right brand image. Marketing activities can be weaved around product, pricing and distribution channel. But the way these marketing activities are carried out has gone under revolutionary change owing to the modern technological driven world.
Reason why modern world is different can be understood from consumer as well as companys perspective. Todays consumer is well informed about the product or service she is purchasing, reason been digital connectivity through internet, mobile etc. Product reviews are readily available forums or social networking sites, where in consumer can read understand experience of other consumers. Consumer have more access to customized products, there are websites which lets you design your own t-shirts or hoodies. Many of consumer purchase decision are made online; internet along with technology has given convenience to consumer. From companies perspective new technology frontiers has improved the way they understand consumer. Companies maintain large database storing consumption behavior; analyze this database to create consumer expectation matching products and services. Marketing tactics can be implemented by emails, forums on social networking sites etc. Internet retailing has created new supply chain model for companies, which is a challenge as well convince, because traditional distributes and agents have made way to courier services. For example products ordered from Dell are design, assembled in companys warehouse and then sent to customers.
Traditional marketing activities revolve around product, pricing and channel distribution. However, efforts are always on to make sure marketing activities truly reflect brand image and develop strong brand equity. One the marketing concept developed is called experiential marketing. This unique concept is associated with brands and experience consumer has with it. For example American Express, has been sponsor of US open for years, they have created marketing plan especially for their card holders. The card holders are part of daily draws, where winner are eligible to court side seats among many other freebies. Another marketing technique popular among markets is a form of direct marketing. Brands like Amway and Avon have followed this technique for some time now. In this form of marketing focus is on individual consumer and not a large group, their habits are recorded and on that basis other products are suggested. Flora 2000 is online florist who deliver flowers all around the globe, time to time they send reminders of important events like mothers day or valentine day with special deals to consumer, knowing consumer had previously made purchase around that period. Online retailer Amazon uses another marketing technique where they suggest a product to consumer after getting nod from them. Amazon takes permission from consumer before sending recommendation. This permission marketing enables companies to build unique brand image leading to strong brand equity.
Product remains first frontier for consumer to create opinion for brand. Marketing strategy around product is to highlight not only core benefits but also process or easy by which purchase is done there by creating a long term relationship with consumer where periodical information exchange can occur.
Pricing is crucial for brand image. To establish price, product cost should not be the only consideration. But consumer perception for potential product value and sensitivity to price is also of equal importance. Competitors price also cannot be ignored because price war will not benefit anyone in the market. An effort has to be made to educate the consumer about cost of serving them, for them to understand price of product.
Products are sold either through direct marketing channels or indirect marketing channels. These channels also play an important role in building brand equity. Again channel choice is dependent on product. Industrial product preferred way would be direct channel. But there are various factors like product category, customization, price, complexity which play a role in deciding marketing channel.
Marketers have to develop marketing programs keeping in mind above discuss points to build a strong consumer based brand equity.
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