Archives for posts with tag: Below the Line

Creating a positive brand image takes marketing programs that link strong, favorable and unique brand associations to the brand in a person’s memory. And when measuring customer based brand equity it really doesn’t matter how they are formed; all that matters is their favorability, strength and uniqueness.

Its important to recognize that consumers can form brand associations in a variety of ways other than your marketing activities; from direct experience; through information from other commercial or nonpartisan sources such as Consumer Reports or other media vehicles; word of mouth; and any assumptions made about the brand itself e.g. its name, logo, identification with the company, country, channel of distribution, or person, place or event.

Ultimately you need to recognize the influence that these information sources can have on your brand/s and learn to manage them as well as possible by designing communication strategies which adequately account for them.

Strength of Brand Associations

The more deeply a person thinks about product information and relates it to existing brand knowledge, the stronger the resulting brand associations will be. Two factors which strengthen association to any piece of information are its personal relevance and consistency with which it is presented over time.

Consumers form beliefs about brand attributes in different ways. Brand attributes are those descriptive features that characterize a product or service. Brand benefits are the personal value or meaning that customers attach to the product or service attributes.

In general direct experiences create the strongest brand attribute and benefit associations and are particularly influential in consumer’s decisions. See the table below (fig 1.0) which illustrates how consumers evaluate the importance of different reasons for brand choice.

Fig 1.0

Company influenced sources of information such as advertising are often likely to create the weakest associations and thus may be the most easily changed. To overcome this hurdle, marketing communication programs use creative communications that cause consumers to elaborate on brand related information and relate it appropriately to existing knowledge. They expose consumers to communications repeatedly over time, and ensure that many retrieval cues are present as reminders.

Favorability of Brand Associations

To choose which favorable and unique associations to link to your brand, you will need to carefully analyze the consumer and the competition to determine the best positioning for the brand. You will need to create favorable brand associations by convincing consumers that the brand possesses relevant attributes and benefits that satisfy their needs and wants, such that they form positive overall brand judgments.

Thus, favorable associations are those that are desirable to consumers- convenient, reliable, effective, efficient, colorful- successfully delivered by the product, and conveyed by the supporting marketing program. Desirability depends on three factors: how relevant, how distinctive and how believable consumers find the brand association. Deliverability also depends on three factors: 1) the actual or potential ability of the product to perform, 2) the current or future prospects of communicating that performance, and 3) the sustainability of the actual and communicated performance over time.

Uniqueness of Brand Associations

All brands need a unique selling proposition (USP) which will give consumers a compelling reason why they should buy it. You may base your USP on product-related or non product-related attributes or benefits. In some categories non product-related attributes more easily create unique associations- for example the idea that Heineken is a suave, cool and popular young professional in their latest TV ad- The Entrance.

While strong and unique associations are critical to a brands success, unless the brand faces no competition, it will most likely share some associations with other brands. In actual fact shared associations can help to establish category membership and define the scope of competition with other products and services.

Consumers may consider certain attributes or benefits prototypical and essential to all brands within a category, and a specific brand an exemplar and most representative. For example they may expect a running shoe to provide support and comfort and to be able to withstand repeated wearing, and they believe that Asics, New Balance or some other leading brand best represents a running shoe. Another example is that consumers might expect an online retailer to offer easy navigation, a variety of offerings, reasonable shipping options, secure purchase procedures, responsive customer service and strict privacy guidelines, in which case they may consider Amazon.com to be the best example of an online retailer. Thus in most categories varying degrees of isomorphism can occur.

Thus, in almost all cases, some product category associations will be shared with all brands in the category. Note that the strength of the brand associations to the product category is an important determinant of brand awareness.

To conclude, to create the differential response which leads to customer based brand equity, marketers need to make sure that some strongly held brand associations are not only favorable but also unique and not shared with competing brands. Undoubtedly unique associations help consumers choose brands.

The Four Steps of Brand Building

I have mentioned the four steps to brand building very briefly during my first blog called Fairy Tale Branding. But here the fundamental questions to ask yourself when brand building:

1)      Who are you? (Brand Identity)

2)      What are you? (Brand Meaning)

3)      What do I think or feel about you? (Brand responses)

4)      What kind of association and how much of a connection would I like to have with you? (Brand Relationship)

 

Stay Breezy.

Oliver W

PS I will be discussing the building blocks further in the next couple of weeks so keep your eyes peeled for an article titled The Great Pyramid.  My next few posts will more than likely explore Local and mobile advertising and/or logos.

 

Thanks as always to:

Keller, K L (2001).Strategic Brand Management: Building, measuring, and managing brand equity (3rd ed.).New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.

1) When a person goes into a shop to buy a product, will they be able to recognize your brand as one which they have already been exposed to? Yes? No? Maybe?

2) In which situations do they see themselves using your brand? For example are your sausages for the BBQ only? Or are they used for a mid week quick and easy dinner?

The two questions above address the concepts of 1)Brand Recognition and 2)Brand Recall.

Brand recognition is the consumers ability to confirm prior exposure of a brand when given the brand as a cue. Generally brand recognition is more important if the consumer is making a decision at the point of purchase where brand name, logo, packaging and so on will be physically present and visible. If consumer decisions are made away from the point of purchase, on the other hand, then brand recall will be more important. For this reason creating brand recall is very important for service and online brands: Consumers must actively seek the brand and therefore be able to retrieve it from memory when appropriate.

Establishing Brand Awareness

So how do we create brand awareness? Increasing brand awareness means increasing familiarity with the brand through repeated exposure, although this is generally more effective for brand recognition than for brand recall. The more a consumer “experiences” the brand by seeing it, hearing it, or thinking about it, the more likely he/she is to strongly register the brand in memory.

Anything that causes consumers to experience a brand name, symbol, logo, character, packaging or slogan- including advertising and promotion, sponsorship and event marketing, publicity and public relations, and outdoor advertising- can increase familiarity and brand awareness of that brand element. And the more elements you can reinforce, usually the better.

 

Improving brand recall will also require linkages to appropriate product categories or other cues which lead to purchase or consumption. Jingles, logos, symbols and characters aid brand recall. The way you pair the brand and its product category with advertising and slogans will help determine the strength of product category links. Strong links between the brand and the category or other relevant cues may become especially important over time if the product meaning of the brand changes through brand extensions, or even company mergers and acquisitions.

Product Category Structure

To fully understand brand recall we need to understand product category structure, or how product categories are organized in memory.

The beverage market is a good setting to examine issues in category structure and the effects of brand awareness of brand equity. The diagram below illustrates one hierarchy that might exist in consumers minds.

Consumers first distinguish between flavored and non flavored beverages (water). Next, they distinguish between non alcoholic and alcoholic flavored beverages. They further distinguish non-alcoholic into hot drinks like tea or coffee, or cold drinks like milk, juices, and soft drink. Furthermore alcoholic beverages are distinguished by whether they are wine, beer, or distilled spirits.Consumers will often make decisions in a top down fashion. Finally, consumers might then choose a particular brand within the product category in which they are interested.

The depth of brand awareness will influence the likelihood that the brand name will come to mind, whereas the breadth of brand awareness describes the different types of situations in which the brand might come to mind. A good general example is soft drinks- soft drinks have great breadth of awareness in that they come to mind in a variety of different consumption situations. For example a consumer may consider drinking Coke anytime anywhere.

Summary of Ideas

We create brand awareness by increasing the familiarity of the brand through repeated exposure (for brand recognition) and forging strong association with the appropriate product category or other relevant purchase or consumption cues (for brand recall). It is important to understand the product category structure of your market so that you can begin to examine the breadth of usage and depth of recall that your brand holds within its respective market.

Heavy Reading I know- refer back to this post every now and again when discussions on advertising, brand promotion or brand awareness pop into your mind or the office.

Now you know.

Ollie W

 

PS Next article I’ll look at brand image and ideas which will influence how you strategically position your brand.

Thanks to:

Keller, K L (2001).Strategic Brand Management: Building, measuring, and managing brand equity (3rd ed.).New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.

As I mentioned in my previous blog advertising can typically be grouped into two categories: above-the-line and below-the-line advertising. Above-the-line advertising is typically marketing that is done by ad agencies and includes television, radio and press promotion. Below-the-line advertising is typically conducted by the company itself.

Direct Mail Marketing

While direct mail can have mixed results, when used properly, it can be an effective means of advertising. Direct-mail campaigns should be professionally designed, and copywriters should be hired to create compelling messages that your intended customer’s can’t ignore. The costs for direct mailings are directly dependent on the size of your campaign but generally are lower than most above-the-line advertising techniques. The key to a successful direct mailing campaign is of course to have a database of relevant names and addresses- otherwise you won’t be doing much mailing at all. It never hurts to have an interesting piece of mail designed too- for example a 3D pop up envelope.

Door-to-Door Marketing

Door-to-door marketing takes selling to a personal level, and this is one of the most common forms of below the line advertising. This technique requires highly trained sales staff that know how to build customer relationships and can walk that fine line of being persistent without being annoying. Most door-to-door marketing campaigns are set up to pay on commission, so upfront costs can be kept low and salespeople have more incentive to make sales. An example of door-to-door marketing would be mobile phone packaged sales. An agent goes through their territory, knocks on doors and then tries to sell a data plan if the person is interested in learning more about what they have to offer.

Exterior Location Marketing

Exterior location marketing involves driving interest to an event or sale through the strategic use of employees placed outside the location. Typically, these methods include sandwich-board style promotions or even dressing up the employee in a costume to draw more attention to the location. These employees may stand alongside the road, getting the attention of passing drivers. While this technique is not often employed, it can be beneficial for small companies, restaurants and auto dealers.

Email Marketing

Email marketing can also be a form of below-the-line advertising if your company conducts the campaign on its own. You are communicating directly with the consumer through this form of marketing and can direct them to a landing page where they can learn more about what you are offering. This in turn gives you the ability to measure campaign effectiveness. Email marketing is generally inexpensive, and results can be good if the email list is targeted and fresh and follows double opt-in guidelines Double opt-in refers to the process where consumers have to confirm their subscription to an email list before emails can be sent to them. Don’t spam people- there are laws against it. You will need their permission first- having a function on your website where people sign up to a mailing list can be an easy way to achieve this.

Social Media Marketing

Social Media marketing is a great way to communicate with anyone who has a social media account on facebook, twitter or myspace (for example). Social media is a great way to target people interested in your brand and update them on sales promotions or any other activity you wish to inform them of. Don’t over do it though! Whereas it’s appropriate for a person to update their face book page every 15 minutes- a brand should maybe give updates every few days or even once a week. Remember Social Media requires people to choose to want to follow your activity- so by the time you’re engaging with a customer at this level you have most likely successfully implemented other media- such as above the line activity or other below the line methods. Social Media is free to use and very easy to use. If your brand doesn’t have a facebook page get one yesterday! Assuming your B2C, B2B it probably isn’t so important.

Catch you Later.

Ollie W

Next post: A look at building customer based brand equity- business school models and examples.

Bread and Butt

This blog defines and discusses the neologism of above, below and through the line advertising. Because the bigger half of anything is to understand the vocabulary used, a logical start is for us to put definitions in place for these terms.

Mostly the business world is made to sound more complex than it really is through the use of confusing jargon and non-descript terminology.

View this article as a brief educational piece for new comers to the world of branding, and perhaps a refresher course to those who are already here but didn’t get time to do their homework for one reason or another.

Above the Line Media

Above the line media are mass media formats such as television, cinema, radio, print (newspaper and magazines), out-of-home (billboards, bus stops). It is the advertising method of choice when the target group is very large and/or difficult to define.

Below the Line Media

Below the line media are generally targeted and specific forms of communicating with customers such as email, internet games, smart phone applications, direct mail (posting information out to a specific person), face-to-face selling and social media.

Below is a chart I’ve taken from the DARE website which outlines the differences between above and below line nicely:


Above-the-Line Media… Below-the-Line Media…
Are tailored to reach a mass audience Are targeted at individual consumers, based on their expressed needs and preferences
Establish brand identity or reinforce emotional concept surrounding a product or brand Issue a “call-to-action,” inspiring specific customer activity or tailored messages about a product or a brand
May or may not drive customer response Drive individual responses
Are difficult – if not impossible – to measure with any accuracy Are highly measurable, allowing marketers insight into their return-on-investment, as well as those tactics that are (and are not) working
Cater to the mass market Establish one-to-one relationships between consumers and marketers
Source: V12 Group

Through the Line (Integrating Media)

Through the line is when you successfully point customers to your Below the Line media from information given to them in your Above the Line media (or vice versa). For example, a Radio ad for a Sportswear distributor might mention a new product line in store that will be discounted if you go to their website and sign up to their mailing list. Or a Newspaper ad which encourages potential customers to “like” their face book page. Assuming you sign up to the mailing list or “like” the face book page the advertiser has successfully driven you through the line. In essence, through the line is an action whereas above and below the line are general terms for some of the tools that marketers use when building brand equity.

Follow the YouTube link below to see a good case study on a strong real world example of how to integrate marketing communications well…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwIM6Gwk0kc&feature=results_video&playnext=1&list=PLD4597CBE66AE29CB

Have fun.

Ollie W

PS My next blog will be up in the next day or two. I will spend more time discussing Below the Line Advertising there.