‘Branding doesn’t impact my purchasing decisions’….. She said naively!

Kelly West – 500122265

 

I have always viewed myself as a smart consumer who makes choices to buy products or services because I wanted to and not because a company’s ‘branding’ of said product or service has influenced me. You know, ‘you can’t out smart me’ sort of attitude (insert self-inflated ego here)! Then I diligently participated in my Marketing Management Topic 6 class which covered brand and that’s when I realised not only have my perceptions of my purchasing behaviours been wrong this whole time but I also discovered the following 4 things;

  1. What a brand actually was – as in not just a name;
  2. The importance & function of branding;
  3. That there are different branding strategies; and
  4. Branding matters… BIG TIME.

So, it is the above four key areas that I found myself particularly interested in and will explore for all of you blog fanatics!

 

Let’s begin with the basics, what is a brand?

Simplistically a brand begins with a name that a company uses to label a specific product, however good brands are ‘portfolios of qualities associated with the name’ (Iacobucci, pg. 77, 2013). The portfolio includes elements such as:

  • The name
  • Product packaging/ shape
  • Brand logo
  • Colours
  • Tag line/ slogans
  • Spokesperson(s)

These elements assist to create brand association in consumers and organisations need to ensure that all of the above, which are forms of outgoing messaging to the market place about the product/service are positive, intentional and excellent (Iacobucci, 2013).

 

So now that we know what a brand is, why is branding important?

Good branding helps position the product/ service in a consumer’s mind to differentiate it from other brands in that industry (Tsai, Y, 2015). If we think about this further, it is a huge competitive advantage for organisations, particularly in markets that have a number of service/ product providers.

There are advantages for both the consumer and the company as a result of branding as seen in the image below.

Capture 1

Source: Iacobucci, 2013 pg. 78.

I was particularly interested in the status a brand can convey to consumers and the reduced risk factor consumers also may associate with brands. This lead me to ask a number of colleagues in my organisation why they fly Qantas and ‘only Qantas’ and 8/10 of those I surveyed stated it was because they “knew” or “trusted” that Qantas were most likely to, in their experience, leave on time and not cancel flights which meant they would eliminate the risk of missing meetings due to flight delays which aligns with the view that a brand can reduce have a perceived risk factor for a consumer. A majority also admitted that they viewed Qantas as “the premium” Australian airline and they “enjoyed the Qantas lounge over other lounges.”

 

Different branding strategies

Many company’s produce multiple products and ask themselves (well, should be asking themselves) what their branding strategy for each of these products is and there are a couple of common strategies they can consider;

  1. The Umbrella Approach which is the strategy to use the same brand name for all products it creates and releases to the market, and
  2. The House of Brands Approach which is the strategy to use a new brand name for each line of product it creates and releases to the market (Iacobucci, 2013)

Nike

Samples of Umbrella Brands

Pacific

 Samples of House of Brands – Pacific Brands incorporates all of the above brands

Does branding matter… you bet!

Qantas as an example of the correlation between brand value and profitability.  According to analysis by Brand Finance in 2016, ‘Qantas recorded the largest percentage increase in the Australia 100 bands with an 83% rise in value to almost $2.97 billion.’ This coincided with Qantas’s return to profitability after a well-publicized financial loss in previous years.

2

Source: Brand Finance

The results of my mini office survey about the purchasing behaviour of my colleagues for flights also highlights the significance of branding. As our corporate travel agent continuously points out, more often than not Qantas is the more expensive national airline. However, this financial driver is outweighed by the status and risk factor that our organisation associates with Qantas and therefore Qantas is the “only airline” we fly with.

Sticking with the aviation theme, Richard Branson recently posted his own blog about the importance of brand and for those of you, like me, with a particular interest for the marketing strategies that underpin the multi-billion dollar aviation industry his blog makes for a good read.

Now I am off to go and book my Qantas flights because I will admit…. I, like my colleagues, like the status!

 

References

Iacobucci, D., 2014, Marketing Management (MM4): Student Edition, South-Western: Cengage Learning, Mason.

TSAI, Y et al, ‘What’s in a Brand Name.’ Journal of Marketing Research (JMR). Dec2015, Vol. 52 Issue 6, p865-878

http://www.businessinsider.com.au/qantas-profits-soar-no-dividend-yet-but-a-share-buyback-2016-2  [accessed 28 August 2016]

http://www.businessinsider.com.au/these-are-australias-10-most-valuable-brands-in-2016-2016-4 [accessed 28 August 2016]

https://www.virgin.com/entrepreneur/richard-branson-how-virgin-became-way-life-brand [accessed 28 August 2016]

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