In a highly competitive and low involvement impulse segment, major players in the segment have shown good results through innovative advertisements which occupied the customers’ minds. Increase in sales, reach and other factors helped these large players to achieve success over years. But the key factor which makes any player unique in the market and occupy major mind share of the consumer is its “Brand Image.” It is image of the personality of a brand in the consumer’s mind which can be developed over years with a consistent message delivered through different means. The organizations which plan to develop a strong brand must take strategic or tactical decision based on core value proposition of the brand.
Brand Involvement VS Product Involvement
This model assesses consumer involvement at two levels, product and brand. The more the involvement the more it is likely to be chosen by the consumers depending on the kind of product at our interest.
a) Brand loyalists: Brand loyalists are consumers that are highly involved with the product category as well as the brand. The marketer should provide information about the product category as well as the brand.
b) Information seekers: Consumer put in efforts to search and collect information and next they process such information, compare the various options and make a decision on which brand is best.
c) Routine brand buyers: Routine brand buyers are not highly involved with the product category but shows involvement with a particular brand within that category. They show a level of loyalty towards the brand, although they are not more involved in the product category. If and when they need to use a product, they patronize a particular preferred brand only.
d) Brand switchers: They buy anything they can get hold off and not particular about the product or the brand.
In low involvement product where consumers doesn’t spend much time in search of the product. Hence emphasising on the product attributes may not lead to high product involvement.
The key challenge any organization encounters is the decision on “Marketing Communications Mix” i.e. selecting the right communication strategy, the budget allocation within the selected ones but the key issue is how to maintain consistency in the delivery of core brand value proposition. Some of the key marketing communication tools are advertising, sales promotion, public relation and publicity. Most of the major players are investing advertising to connect emotionally to the consumer as the emotional connect with the consumer is the key for any brand to develop a strong brand.
Advertising reaches a wide market which is geographically dispersed. Even the consumers believe that a brand advertising heavily should offer a good value. So advertising has a key role in delivering the message of a brand efficiently. But the strategies employed in developing advertisements must be in alignment with phase of the product in which the product or brand is positioned in a product life cycle curve. For new products, initial advertising often concentrates on creating brand awareness but subsequent advertising attempts to craft the brand image. Before going to understand the transition required for a brand advertising strategy let us examine the impact of brand involvement.
Brand Story should merge with Consumer’s Personal Story:
The communication should capture the consumer’s imagination at a personal level which enables it to connect with them at a deeply emotional level. Then the persuasive advertisements along with the merge of brand story with consumer’s personal story allows the consumers to participate with the brand which leads to the desired results of a brand.
Competitors cannot copy the Brand Story:
The established story owns the emotions associated and surrounding it. The persuasiveness and authenticity of the communications by a brand will be extremely difficult to replicate by the competitors.
The merging of Brand’s story with the Personal Story of the consumer results in the following:
- Mirror a fundamental and subconscious structure that gives meaning to the consumers with the presence of our product with them
- Strengthen emotional bond with the Brand by identifying Personal story with Brand story
- Tap into a vast realm of sub-conscious and powerful emotions of the consumer
Transformation from Product Awareness Marketing to Product Preference Marketing:
Product Awareness Marketing is used in the introductory stages of the brand. This majorly creates impact on the awareness with the use of both rational and emotional benefits of the product. Given that a brand has acquired consumer’s mind space and unaided awareness through its present positioning, the growth stage should be supported by Product Preference Marketing which emphasizes on the consumers’ purchase attitude along with rational and emotional benefits.
Hence a brand should transition from Product Awareness Marketing to Product Preference Marketing after achieving a significant market share.
The article is authored by Shravan Kumar Potnuru from IIM Indore