Brand building is such an important element to success that most large companies hire people with the title of Brand Manager, as well as look to outside agencies for help building brands. Successful brand building involves paying constant attention to user enjoyment of a given product or service, setting sufficient budgets for marketing, and evolving the brand over time as markets and opinions change.
Companies invest in building and marketing their brands for a number of reasons, including:
• Increasing recognition
• Establishing trust
• Building brand loyalty
This last point, brand loyalty, is of particular importance, and worth looking into further. Brand loyalty is achieved when consumers stay faithful to a given brand and, whenever possible, take pains to continue their use of that brand. We will explore this concept later in this section. Consumer behavior dictates how important brands are to driving increased corporate revenues. According to the Grocery Manufacturers of America, which studies consumer trends in grocery stores, half of all consumers consider the brand to be either the first or second most important element when deciding which product to buy (other important factors include nutritional information, cost, and nostalgia for products they remember using from childhood). In addition, 13% first try a brand because it was recommended to them by someone they trust—further establishing the importance of brands in building a loyal following of customers willing to pass the word on to others.
Marketers do not expect consumers to spend time consciously contemplating their brands. However, they do know that strong branding helps forge emotional connections between their brands and the targeted consumer. Marketers hope the brand association will translate into brand loyalty. Brand loyalty is a consumer’s commitment to a brand, and it occurs when a consumer will go out of his or her way to buy specific brands that they trust, even if they are harder to find or more expensive than other available options. After brand loyalty has been established, it can be diffi cult for competitors to sway that consumer from his or her preferred brand.
A good example of brand loyalty can be seen with some computer users, especially proponents of Macintosh computers. Although the Mac has significantly less market share than its Microsoft Windows counterpart, Mac has managed to build such brand loyalty among some members of its core market that dedication to these computers
sometimes reaches a cult-like status. Focus groups run by competing computer manufacturers have shown that if a new Windows-based computer were introduced that ran twice as fast as the focus group’s current computer and was priced competitively, Windows users would quickly switch to the faster one. Of the Mac users, almost none agreed to make the switch. When the Mac users were offered the faster Windows-based system for half the price of their Macs, they still refused to switch, a trend that continued regardless of how low the price for the PC dropped. Mac enthusiasts have such a strong emotional connection to the brand that convincing them to switch to a different brand can be an extraordinarily steep, uphill battle.
The Mac example is an extreme illustration of brand loyalty; however, the example does underscore how strong an emotional connection can be between a brand and its consumer. For a competing Brand X to win over a consumer who is enamored with Brand Y, it may take a combination of giveaways, enticing promotional offers, rave reviews of Brand X by trusted friends and family, and a prolonged marketing effort to get the consumer to even try the product. Even then, there is no guarantee that the consumer will make the switch and make it permanent.
Attachment to a brand is built through a number of factors, including overall benefit to the consumer, relative value versus price, accessibility, and emotional connection. Each of these variables, when changed, can positively or negatively affect how a consumer relates to a brand.
Brand loyalty is the jewel in the marketing crown; however, there are several levels of commitment that consumers can make to brands. In their relationship with brands, consumers can fall into one of the following categories:
• Brand loyal: Consumers who are committed to one brand, so much so that they will travel out of their way to get it. Very little will take them away from a brand that they trust, and these consumers are typically eager to tell other people about their favorite brands. In the Grocery Manufacturers of America study, 76% of all shoppers said that they would leave the store and shop elsewhere or live without the product until their next shopping trip if their favorite brands were not available, rather than buy a competing brand.
• Brand preferred: These shoppers prefer certain brands over others and will go a bit—but not far—out of their way to get them. Slight price differentials or reduced accessibility are not enough to make them change brands, but significant changes in either variable may cause them to convert.
• Brand aware: These shoppers may like one brand over another enough to recommend that brand to others—but hey would not go out of their way for it. Slight differentials in price or accessibility compared to competing brands might sway their purchasing decisions.
• Brand conscious: These shoppers do not have a preference of one brand over another, and they would not go out of their way for any one brand. Price and accessibility are often the determining factors in deciding which products to buy. These shoppers still prefer to choose among brands that they know or about which they have formed an opinion (either through direct use or reputation). Th ey stay away from brands that they don’t know and avoid generic, unbranded products.
• Brand indifferent: Shoppers who base their decisions strictly on price and convenience. They are open to brands that they do not know and are also open to generic, unbranded products.
Welcome to The Masters Group
The Masters Group is Randi Masters, Stephanie Pink and Ingrid Jarisz.
We are a dedicated team of real estate professionals with the goal of providing exceptional service to our clients and together we bring over 50 years of real estate experience ranging from multi-phase project sales to first time home buyers. We offer proven marketing experience, extensive local real estate knowledge, strong negotiating skills and a broad network.
We want to be your advocate throughout the real estate transaction. We have proven sales success over several years as Gold MLS® Award winners for the Victoria Real Estate Board (top 10% in sales volume). The team approach allows us to employ streamlined systems and concentrate on getting your home sold fast and for the right price. On average, our listings have sold for over 96% of asking price.
Real estate is our passion; people are our priorit