Archives for posts with tag: Brand Image

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Once you’ve worked in marketing for let’s say, over two years. You come to realise that there can be tribal divisions between FMCG marketers, Retail marketers, and B2B marketers. So what are the actual differences between these three tribes (FMCG, Retail, B2B), if there are any, and what are the similarities?

FMCG Marketing

FMCG Marketing definition: Fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) or consumer packaged goods (CPG) are products that are sold quickly and at relatively low cost. Examples include non-durable goods such as soft drinks, toiletries, over-the-counter drugs, processed foods and many other consumables. Think of your average corner store or supermarket.

From a consumer psychology perspective FMCG marketers need to ensure that their brands have built a high level of brand awareness, and brand recall. What this means, is that when you go into a corner store looking for a drink to satisfy your somewhat-out-of-control sugar addiction, lot’s of people think the category “soft drink”, and voila, on the shelf in front of them are three kinds of Cola. Coke, Pepsi, and Sugar Daddy Cola.

So, we already know you won’t buy Sugar Daddy Cola, because you have zero awareness of it, and you can’t recall it’s brand attributes, and it’s imagery is meaningless to you.

Pepsi, you have awareness of it, you can recall the brand, and you know basically what it’s brand image is about. But, you don’t feel favourable to Pepsi! The last you heard they did some awful piece of social advertising which got negative reviews starring one of the Kardashians. Not too mention it was during a Pepsi commercial that Michael jackson was set on fire somehow.. So  I know about Pespi, but f*ck Pepsi.

Coke, iconic Coke. I have awareness of Coke, I understand the brand image (fun, social, cool, zero guilt), and I can easily recall it when I’m soft drink shopping. Plus, my perceptions are positive, Coke makes me feel good emotionally. So we buy the Coke.

So what does an FMCG marketer do?

They often spend ENORMOUS sums of money building their brands so that when shoppers walk into retail shops they are aware of their brand, they can recall it based on what they’re going in to buy (e.g. Coke is synonymous with the Cola category, but Sugar Daddy? Not so much), and the brand imagery is favourable/likeable, and ideally resonates with the shopper.

And if it resonates with the shopper, the shopper will buy it, which puts money in the pockets of the retailer, which means your brand stays on shelves, and everyone in the supply chain is making money (except the consumer of course).

Needless to say, some brands are done better then others.

But of course, if your brand is new, or there is a low level of awareness for your brand, or your brand is a less favourable than your competitors, there are ways to gain market share.

  1. Rebrand – build your brand again, and promote it’s new attributes/personality. It can differ from the market leader, or it can be similar. The choice is yours. Following the leader isn’t always a bad strategy though, so don’t feel you HAVE to reinvent the wheel. But then again… This is of course, where you would invest time in market research such as questionnaires and focus groups.
  2. Go cheaper – Battle on price. Be cheaper than the competition. This can act as an economic incentive, after all people do also shop with their wallets too not just their hearts, never lose sight of this fact. If you can encourage shoppers to buy your brand by dropping your pants on the price for a specific period of time (one week? one month? Every second weekend a month for a year?) then you can win brand loyalty, recall, and experience. Effectively switching a customer from a competitors brand to your brand. After all, an FMCG marketer wants shelf space in a retailer, BUT the retailer (who is the FMCG marketers direct customer) would prefer to have products on customers/end-users shelves.
  3. Go more expensive! – position your product as the upmarket version of competitor brands. Either through inputs and quality, or brand positioning. Thus, you can increase your price and increase profits. Although the volumes might be less, because you’re making more money… who cares? And trust me, retialer LOVE high margin product.
  4. Other promotion – similar to going cheaper, perhaps encourage the customer switches to your product by running an “enter-to-win” type promotion, a “buy 2 get 3” promotion, so one and so forth.
  5. Samples – Just get customer using your product! Who cares if it costs you some money or samples. E.g. post cat food to letterboxes, offer samples in the supermarket. The aim of game is to “switch sell” the customer into your brand/s. Getting them to use your product (albeit for free for a limited time) can be a good start.

In a nutshell that’s what you should be concerned with in FMCG, and a few ideas of how to do it. In FMCG, often they sell very cheap products (like a can of coke), so they want to sell large volumes to large quantities of consumers… and quickly! Hence FAST MOVING consumer goods. Also, food products can have a short shelf life so they need to move through them quickly.

B2B Marketing

B2B Marketing definition: B2B (business-to-business) marketing is marketing of products to businesses or other organizations for use in production of goods, for use in general business operations (such as office supplies), or for resale to other consumers, such as a wholesaler selling to a retailer.

First of all, usually a part of FMCG marketing involves some degree of B2B marketing. For example, Uncle Ben’s rice needs to build it’s brand in the eyes of the customer, but also it needs to do good business with the supermarket or corner store that it sells into.

B2B marketing is incredibly varied, some examples would be selling coffee beans to Kraft foods (which they in turn sell to a retailer, who sells to the end-user). Microsoft, who sell software packages to schools and universities (who in turn charge students fees), John Deere who sells tractors to a farmer (who ploughs his fields and sells his produce to a market, who in turn sells it to end-user), television channels who sell advertising time-slots on FMCG companies or retailers (who advertise product and brands to customers hoping they’ll buy it, or build brand awareness).

B2B marketing is varied, but you will NEVER be selling to an end-user directly. Needless to say, you can still build your brand with consumers, but they won’t buy from you directly. If you do, you might seriously anger a retail or on-seller partner, which is not recommended.

Furthermore, in B2B vs B2C marketing, in both occasions you’re marketing to human beings. B2B however is often a small & focussed target market made up of committee’s, in a higher-risk purchase environment. However, in B2C marketing your target market can number in the millions, made up mostly of individuals, in a lower risk purchase environment.

In B2B, you might only sell one product a year, but it could be a product that you sell for millions of dollars. And generally speaking, sales staff will be heavily involved with process too (e.g. offering more information, relationship building over a long period of time). On the other hand, in B2B you might sell thousands of products to another business and only be making twenty cents off each item. It doesn’t matter, you are thinking in volume not just profit.

Retail Marketing

Retail Marketing definition: Retail is the sale of goods and services from businesses to an end user (customer). Retail marketing is the process by which retailers promote awareness and interest of their goods and services in an effort to generate sales from their consumers.

Now, from a consumer psychology perspective, retail marketing differs somewhat from FMCG marketing or B2B Marketing, because a retailer doesn’t usually invest anytime in building the brands it stocks, the FMCG marketers and B2B marketers have already done this. But it does invest lots of time in telling you which brands/product it stocks. There are five key things people want to know when shopping from a retailer:

  1. What categories do they sell? e.g. food? electronics? fashion? sports goods?
  2. What brands do they sell? e.g. Coke? Samsung? Gucci? Adidas?
  3. Where are they located (where can I buy from)? e.g. Online? Locally? Across town?
  4. What are their store hours? e.g. 9am-5pm 7 days a week? Late night Thursday? 24/7 online?
  5. How long is the sale on for? e.g. 3 days only! Today only! Must end Sunday!

If nothing else, ensure that you answer the five questions above when doing a general retail promotion. People need to know what you sell (breadth), how much of it you sell (depth), where they can get it (place), when they can get it (store hours), and how long it’s available for (e.g. three days only!). This last point, how long is it available for, can be a good place to start as a call-to-action. If people perceive that time is running out, and they might miss out on a deal (assuming they’re in the market for your product), they will make sure they can come and buy something from a retailer shop.

Remember to stay price competitive, because whilst shoppers can be brand loyal, they won’t necessarily be loyal to the retailer they buy that brand from. E.g. Shop A is advertising a Samsung TV I want for $300, but shop B sells it for $288. I’ll buy from shop B.

So when working as a retail advertiser, ensure you answer the above questions, remain price competitive, and entice people where necessary with a ‘hook’. A hook can be a hot price, a value add (e.g. bonus sound bar with your Samsung TV, or a bonus scoop with your John Deere tractor), a tight timeframe to score a ‘deal’, a NEW product, or a bundle buy (buy 2 get 3), to name a few.

Further reading?

To read a little more, try my previous blogs about normative influences versus informational influences to better understand the psychological drivers between low-involvement purchases, which are generally associated with retail and FMCG, and high-involvement purchases, which are generally associated with B2B.



This is a quick blog which compliments my previous article on Brand Names which you can read here.

The Brand name is generally the main element of a brand, although visual elements play a critical role in building brand equity and especially brand awareness. Logos themselves have a long history as a means to indicate origin, ownership or association: e.g. the crucifix representing our mate Jesus and Christianity, the protractor of freemasonry, or the Hapsburg eagle of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Logo’s range form corporate names or trademarks (word marks with text only) written in a distinctive form such as Coca Cola, Dunhill, Kit Kat. Through to abstract logos like that of Mercedes star, Rolex crown, Nike swoosh. These non-word mark logos are often called symbols. Many logos fall between these to two extremes. Some are literal representations (Apple logo=Apple which was very clever of them 😉 ). Of course some times certain physical elements can become a symbol too, e.g. Playboy bunny or the golden arches of McDonalds.

Like names, abstract logo’s can be quite distinctive and thus recognizable. Alas, because abstract logo’s may lack the inherent meaning present with a concrete logo, one danger is that consumers may not understand what the logo is intended to represent without a significant marketing initiative to explain it’s meaning.

Benefits of Logo’s and Symbols

A branding advantage to logos is that because they are non verbal, they are versatile when it comes to transferring communications across cultures and over a range of product category. For example, corporate brands often develop logos in order to confer their identity on a wide range of products and to endorse different sub-brands.

Also, logo’s unlike brand names can be adapted over time to achieve a more contemporary look. The history of the Microsoft Windows logo is a good example of this. In updating however, marketers need to make gradual changes and not lose sight of the inherent advantages of the logo.

Regardless changing  a logo is not cheap. According to Allen Adamson of Landor Associates- creating a symbol or remaking an old one for a big brand “usually costs 1 million dollars.”

I’m not  a logo designer so this is all I am going to say on this topic. I would verge on bluffing if I wrote too much more.


O W Lovell

Thanks as always to:


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

The brand name is a fundamentally important choice because it often captures the central theme or key associations of a product in a very compact and economical fashion. Because brand names are so closely tied to the product in the minds of consumers however, the brand name is also the most difficult element for marketers to change further down the track. Thus it’s a good idea to research them before making a decision.

Naming Guidelines: Selecting the right brand name for your product or service is a true art and science. Figure 1.0 and below displays different types of possible brand names. Like any brand element, brand names must be chosen with six general criteria in mind; memorability, meaningfulness, likability, transferability, adaptability and protectibility.

Figure 1.0

Brand awareness

Brand Awareness can be improved if brand names are simple and easy to pronounce or spell. Familiar and meaningful, and different, distinctive, and unusual can obviously improve brand awareness.

Simplicity and ease of pronunciation and spelling reduces the effort consumers have to make to comprehend and process the brand name. Short names can also facilitate brand recall because they are easy to encode in memory- e.g. Raid, Off, Aim, Bic. It’s also an option to shorten longer names e.g. Coke (Coca Cola), Chevy (Chevrolet) and Bud (Budweiser).

Familiarity and Meaningfulness can tap into existing knowledge structures. It can be concrete or abstract in meaning. Because the names of people, objects, birds, animals and inanimate objects already exist in memory, consumers have to do less to understand their meaning as brand names. Links form more easily increasing memorability. You can also suggest the product or service category to improve brand recall e.g. Ticketek, Juicyjuice, Newsweek. For example, it may be difficult to introduce a soft drink if the brand name is Juicyjuice.

Differentiation, distinctiveness and uniqueness– although choosing a simple brand name can improve recallability, if you want to improve brand recognition your bran name needs to be different, distinctive, and unusual. A brand name can be distinctive because it is inherently unique, or because it is unique in the context of other brands in the category.

Brand Associations

Because the brand name is a compact form of communication, the explicit and implicit meanings potential customers derive from it are important. In particular, the brand name can reinforce positioning. See figure 1.1 below:

Figure 1.1

Meaningful brand names are not necessarily restricted to real words. Consumers can extract meaning, if they so desire, even from fanciful or made up brand names. Marketers generally devise made up brand names systematically, basing words on combinations of morphemes. A morpheme is the smallest linguistic unit having meaning. There are 6,000 morphemes in the English language, including real words like “man” and prefixes, suffixes and roots. By combining carefully chosen morphemes, marketers can construct brand names that actually have some relatively easy inferred or implicit meaning.

Figure 1.2 below contains an overview of different categories of linguistic characteristics, with definitions and examples. Even an individual letter can conatin meaning that may be useful in developing a new brand name.

6 Step System (to creating a ‘def’ Brand Name)


  1. Define Objectives: What are your branding objectives based on the six general criteria I mentioned earlier in this article? Define the ideal meaning the brand should convey. Think about how your brand should relate to other brands in the same category, and consider the brand heirarchy (see my pevious article on brand hierarchy here.)
  1. Generate Names: With the brand strategy in place generate as many names as possible. Any potential sources of names are valid: employees, company management, existing or potential customers, ad agencies, specialized naming consultants.
  1. Screen Initial Candidates: Do a quick and dirty legal search to help screen out possible problems. Remove names that have 1) unintentional double meaning 2) are unpronounceable 3) have obvious legal implications and 4) contradict the positioning in an obvious way.


  1. Study Candidate Names: Collect more extensive info on the final 5-10 names. An international legal screening is a good idea.


  1. Research final Candidates: Conduct consumer research. Sometimes firms will attempt to simulate the actual marketing program consumers are likely to engage with. Thus, they may show consumers the product and it’s packaging, price, or promotion so they understand the rationale for the brand name and how it will be used.


  1. Select the Final name: Based on all the information you have collected from the previous step, choose the name which maximizes the firms branding and marketing objectives and then formally register it.


O W Lovell



Thanks again to:


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

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 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.