This report will look at the online branding and communication mix strategy of three competitors in the retail sector in the UK. The report will compare TESCO, Dunne Stores Company and Salisbury. The branding strategy as well as communication mix will consider how communication is used to offer services to the members of the public on online basis. At the beginning we shall consider how branding online products is used in theory. Branding of products and services in an online shop is essential in the success of the shop.
Branding products in online shops is an essential part of the online shop success; it requires development of sound and effective strategic marketing of the products under consideration and it includes product, the website that is used to sell the product and the marketing strategies employed. Currently not much has been done on this topic and hence it becomes a very critical need in the present trends of globalization that internet marketing is taken seriously.
It is imperative to develop sound and strategic marketing plan for effective internet selling. A website which is designed to sell needs a killer marketing strategy and sound feedback system which is provided by the client review system. The product needs to be marketed with forceful plan of action.
There is need to increase an understanding of information and technology and improve citizens ability to apply information technology and to make society at large more computer literate. The project aims to accelerate the extension of the latest trends on the news which can be incorporated to enhance the marketing strategy at international level. Internet activities are conducted to induce more people to go online and participate in the client review and user rating.
Product and brand management policies were introduced by some larger firms to build the qualities of the small firm into the advantages of the larger firm (Canon, 1996). A brand is a name, term, symbol, design or combination of these which identifies the goods or services of one seller or group of sellers and differentiates them from those of other sellers (Canon, 1996). Some brand names are very powerful and part of everyday use: to Hoover a room rather than to vacuum clean it and to Xerox rather than photocopy (Vandermerwe, 1997).
The brand identity gives the customer reassurance of quality and consistency. In some cases, brand loyalty emerges with the buyer actively searching out his preferred brand. The identification of brand and symbol or trademark can give protection from price cutting and individuality, and is a powerful cue for potential buyers, sometimes worldwide (Canon, 1996). Though ultimately, it’s the quality of the product that is responsible for brand identity, advertising is the main factor in which brand identity if first created. Names, terms, symbols or designs can be spread into the public mind through advertising creating brand identity.
Importance of brands
Brands are of a particular significance to the consumer and marketer.
Importance to the consumer: – Brands can have the following advantaged for consumers: they facilitate the identification of products at the point of purchase: they ensure the consumers of a uniform quality standard on which they can count continuously; they offer measures of protection to the consumers because they mostly identify the manufacturer/supplier. Regardless of where products are they lead to improved products due to competition and continuous product differentiation; they expedite the purchase transaction because the consumers know the brands; and they can serve as a warning at repetitive purchases if the first purchase and use of a product did not comply with the requirements.
Importance to the marketer: – Brands can be used by stores in four ways in particular to reach certain marketing objectives. Firstly, the brand often forms the corner-stone of the advertising and merchandising policy. The product image is built around the brand and to many consumers the brand can become more important than the name of the manufacturer. Especially products that are marketed on a self service basis inter alia rely heavily on the brand appeal. Products must be pre-sold through advertising so that the consumer will recognize and select them among all the competitive products on he shelves of the retailer.
Secondly, brands can help the stores to a specific brand benefit the owners of that brand while deliberate product substitution against the will of the consumer or without his being aware of it, is basically impossible will brand products. Furthermore brands hamper price comparisons between competitive products are no longer equal in all respects. Thus, brands facilitate the use of non-price competition can never be eliminated completely. Lastly brands facilitate product diversification in certain respects. A new product item can for example, be added relatively easier to a known product line compared with one which has no brands. Trading up and trading especially come to mind in this regard.
Stages in brand acceptance: – The acquaintance with and acceptance of a specific brand can differ considerably from consumer to consumer. Three stages of brand acceptance are distinguished namely brand recognition, brand preference and brand insistence. Brand recognition is the first stage in brand acceptance. Unknown new products are usually introduced through free samples and discount coupons to move the product from the “unknown” to the known category. Brand recognition increases the probability of repetitive purchases should the consumer be satisfied with the first trial. Brand preference is the second stage in brand acceptance. Consumers accept no substitute brand and search for the product involved until they find it.
Management issues involved in the brand policy: – At present virtually no processed product is marketed without some form of identification or brand. Thus for the modern marketer the use of brands is virtually a decided matter and he must take two decisions in particular regarding his brands policy.
Brand and communication MIX
Sometimes, a brand needs to be built from a scratch. In that case, it needs to reach out to all kinds of people from all spheres of work. The advertisement for three markets makes use of the iconic nostalgic images. The way they advertisement is used helps to build brand identity. The icons proceeds to list all the positive attributes of the product and points out that its available in the supermarket at which the girls abandon him and go away.
Michael Levine (2003) says that this ad communicates important information about the product and more than that manufactures its brand identity well. Consumers seeing this ad will become aware that there is a new product container in supermarkets. Beyond factual information, the ad also conveys the feeling of nostalgia associates itself with something the consumer already known and trusts subconsciously. This makes the message that follows more believable. The setting of the ad perpetuates the nostalgic flavor and reminds people of the calmer, easier, friendlier atmospheres of past times.
The plate of chips brings the brand identity into the twenty-first century through humor. The brand name is repeated several times through flying ad in this the website and hence the average consumer will tend to remember the story line and the brand name after a single viewing (Levine, 2003). The rest of the information may be registered later in the mind after repeated viewings and translate into a sense of fun and pure enjoyment.
The brand identity is well established through this commercial. All ads must politely and lovingly convey the core information in. It must be remembered that the key goal of advertising is to enhance the sales of the product and to establish and reinforce brand identity. Once the brand has been established, advertisements alone cannot maintain it. There will be the need of marketing, public relations and brand maintenance plan to keep it all going (Levine, 2003).
Advertising is most often the public face of brand displays and can be the first, more memorable impression a brand can make on a consumer. For example, the Tesco logo was making popular only through advertising campaigns over several years (Levine, 2003).
When the symbol was first unveiled, the public could not relate to it in any way emotionally. It was a swirl that did not mean anything to the consumer. But when Tesco used this symbol in a brilliant set of advertisements, that were able to visually capture the brand’s identity, the swoosh became part of that identity. Now, whenever people see the emblem, they are able to connect to the feeling of movement, of activity and determination that it symbolizes. This takes into account the power of an advertisement and the strength of associating with a celebrity as a promotional element.
According to Epstein, there are three processes to explain the psychology of advertising: adaptation, classical conditioning and operant conditioning (Levine, 2003). Adaptation happens though repetitive projection of the message or the image to the consumer so that the consumer learns to recognize the message and associate it with the product thereby creating brand identity. In the case of the second factor, classical conditioning, it involves the pairing of two stimuli – an already powerful stimulus is paired with one that is not that powerful. The use of celebrities in advertising makes use of this process of classical conditioning.
When a celebrity is shown wearing the symbol of the company, it is something that the consumer will remember even though he may not notice it, and the association will be made on the subconscious level of the public’s collective mind. This association is direct, effective and has the power to be a central image in strong advertising campaigns (Levine, 2003). Operant conditioning is more subtle and more associative compared to classical conditioning. Epstein explains operant conditioning is based on the principle that if one does something and it’s successful, one tends to do it again. It is how behavior is affected by outcomes.
Advertisements urge a consumer to sample a particular product but if it does not perform to the expectations raised by the advertisement, the consumer will not be convinced to sample it again. Hence, it is important that the advertisement is true to the product quality. Sometimes operant conditioning is brought into play when an association is made between the use of the product and a benefit to the consumer. This is the most popular method used in advertisements.
What is shown is that if people use a certain product, they will experience amazing consequences. It is very difficult to show a direct benefit for every product that is advertised and sometimes, the benefit is shown in the lifestyle projected in the ad. Here the unstated promise is that if this product is used, you will have the rich, lush lifestyle. Such operant conditioning is used in ads for TESCO, Sainsbury or Dunnes where happy successful people are shown patronizing these brands and the satisfied sounding statements of the narrator. The operant conditioning of these ads will reach the emotional psyche of the consumers (Levine, 2003).
Advertising provides opportunities for dramatizing the organization and its offerings through its creative use of print, sound, visuals and color. However, commercial advertising does not have control over the way the audiences perceive the message and do not guarantee attention or response (Kotler and Bernstein, 2006). It is only a monologue and not a dialogue with the audience. Hence, other promotional activities may be used to build brand identity on their own or to strengthen the functioning of the advertisements in brand identity creation.
For examples, sale promotion offers that encourage purchase of a product by incorporating some concession, or discount or offers give value to the consumer while at the same time, they generate an interest in focusing of future offerings of the company. PR events such as news stories, events and press releases can help to bring public interest to the brand (Bernstein and Kotler, 2006). Keller (1987) has found that the packaging can be used as a communication vehicle to facilitate the recall of ad information provided for brand identity creation purposes. Trade shows and conventions are good at creating awareness. A brand’s identity may be built by aligning it with particular sports and experiences.
For example, Timothy Dewhirst and Robert Sparks argue that through its sponsorship of Formula One and Indy Car-racing, the Philip Morris Marlboro brand of cigarettes has built its “lone cowboy” image to include contemporary concepts of “individualism and self-sufficiency” (Keillor, 2007, 18). Likewise Castle lager uses association with sports such as soccer, rugby and cricket to build its brand identity in South Africa, drawing on its national pride of the South African population.
Through baseball, MasterCard builds its brand identity by communicating with its American customers on the sponsorship platform (Duffy and Hooper, 2003). Today, in the digital age, more than 40% of merchants reach customers through a combination of stores, catalogues and the internet and this has given way to new methods of interactive brand building (Haggin, 2006). The highly regarded Williams Sonoma Kitchenware brand image was built through transactional catalogue marketing and an early entry onto the ecommerce stage (Haggin, 2006).
Thus there are various other effective methods of building brand identity apart from advertising. But it must be noted that advertising has its own advantages as it’s a highly public and pervasive medium and this confers a kind of legitimacy on the product, thereby easily laying the foundation of building brand identity.
There is no denial of the fact that poor advertising is sometimes responsible for decline in the rate of sales of a product and marketing management blames it for such reasons. At the same time it must be remembered that advertising is an integral part of the marketing management. It is the marketing department of a company that identifies it as a separate body and shifts the burden of responsibility over it. Recent day, on most of the occasion marketing department itself sets the norms for advertisement that in the promotion of their products certain aspects have to be followed and they lay down the central aspects, which need to be focused, before the advertising team.
Depending on those issues the team comes up with the ad, related to promotion and advertising campaign of the product. (Lewin, 2008) Even after following all these process if a company fails to reach its sales target, then is it rational to put the entire blame on the department of advertisement? Poor advertising is definitely responsible but at the same time lack or planning and farsightedness of the marketing department is equally responsible.
If look into the marketing management system of the successful corporate houses, we will see that the professional relationship chemistry between advertisement department and marketing group is perfect and consequently the rate of success in these companies is higher than the others. It is a matter of primary level importance that the marketing management body must feel the advertising team as an integral part of its system and then only such problem of communication gap between these two departments can be solved. Consequently it will lead to creating perfect ads and better communication between the market and the company will be established.
Analysis of Branding Strategy and Communication MIX
USING communication mix factors the communication mix used by the three competitors in marketing their products the following result is deduced. The companies in question have used communication mix and branding strategy very well in their websites in passing a message to their customers. Looking at the websites of Dunnes one will note that the products that are sold in the market are similar thought with those that are found in Salisbury and TESCO. However the delivery of the product into the market i.e. advertising is different. The only advertisement made by the websites of this company passes a message to the customers about the product and their purchase.
A customer is given information upon browsing the website of the companies. When entering the website of the company you will find a section advertising products from ice cream to clothing. The website is structured in a manner that every 30 seconds a different advert appears.
This helps the company in branding itself as a company to rely on in purchasing your product. On the face value of websites there is a section of women fashion clothes, men and kids then other is a section of wine and spirits. In the advertisement which comes after every 30 seconds there is an icon which one clicks to enable him or her purchase online. This helps the company in branding and positioning themselves in the market.
In the website of TESCO, upon browsing you will find an advert advertising various products. Groceries, wine, entertainment, insurance phones and many others. Like Dunes TESCO online advertisement takes 30 minutes before a new advert appears. They use flying method of slide show in advertising the product of a company. When one wants to buy a product online there is a store locator which one creates then he is able to enter into transactions with the organization.
The company has also opened accounts with customers where one deposits some amount which he uses in shopping. They have an online grocery shop where you can purchase anything online so long as it is within a deliverable distance and the product is in store.
Salisbury website also has similar facts like the other companies but they have different approaches in advertising their products. The online companies’ website at the beginning shows a number of items which have discounts with the price value indicated. Outside a free delivery offer funds there is an icon which indicate start shopping. Upon clicking start shopping icon one will enter into the shop and begin shopping. on the face value of the. company there is a home page Food and wine icon’ finance more online stores in store about Salisbury, online community and careers.
In the home page, they have indicated that all deliveries are carried out on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday on orders of over 100 sterling pounds. There is also an online calculator which assists the buyer to make various decisions In relation to the product.
Conclusion and Recommendation
For future success of dunes stores the company management, should think of expanding their online store to include other products especially electronic products and offer delivery services to unexploited products such as India, Africa, china,. This will increase their income and eventually profits will go up. The success of Dunnes store will depend mostly on its retailing activities and effectiveness of the activities associated with key activities.
Moreover, evaluation of the entire potential market for each product should include an analysis of consumer behavior, its competition especially E retailing competition as well as stores that offer similar services. The analysis should also consider the effect of competitors reaction towards policy changes in dunes stores.
This report has brought forward the im0pact of internet on Dunes store image and its branding strategy. Dunes store competitors as well as dunes are using various images in bringing the products to the attention of the customers who log in to their system.
This influences the consumer decision to purchase the product online. They have used various distribution channels such as information, price, assortment, convenience and entertainment as well as introducing the product to the market. This shows that internet has provided a good medium for promotion of the good product. Lastly, Dunnes compared to competitors like TESCO and Salisbury benefit less from pricing strategy in online services as compared to TESCO however there is great hope of increasing the market.
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