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(Solved) Fragile, Homogenous Brands: A Looming Crisis By: Jeri


I have a marketing question ( the answer should be around 400 words). Details are provided in the word document. Please find attached two documents ( one word and other pdf). 


Fragile, Homogenous Brands: A Looming Crisis

 

By: Jeri Smith

 

Marketing Insights

 

This was originally published in the May/June 2014 issue of Marketing Insights.

 


 

Key Takeaways

 


 


 

As marketers focus more tightly on

 

social media and real-time

 

marketing, more brands are

 

making nimble responses to

 

current events and customer

 

conversations a focal point of their

 

activities.

 


 


 


 

Promotions and sponsorships

 

have become a much relied-upon

 

means of boosting brand

 

awareness and engagement.

 


 


 


 

Advertisers who are cognizant of

 

the risks faced by brands can

 

compensate for them and continue

 

to maintain their brand values.

 


 

Standing out among increasingly accepted generic brands

 

In the recent article ?Killing Brands Softly? in the Journal of Brand Strategy, authors Don

 

Schultz and Martin Block identify a clear trend that has been occurring over the past decade

 

that does not bode well for brand marketers: Increasing numbers of consumers perceive

 

different brands within a category as being more and more similar to one another. A new

 

Mindshare report also finds that consumer relationships with brands are weakening,

 

according to consumer surveys that they have conducted in the past four years.

 

Why is this happening? Is it simply the growing acceptance of generic brands that is

 

causing softening in perceptions of brand differentiation? Or are there other factors at play?

 

Will the trend continue? And most importantly, what can brand marketers do to make it

 

easier for consumers to discern and retain the difference between their brand and others?

 


 

Beyond the growing acceptance of generic alternatives across categories, there are at least

 

three separate factors contributing to this trend. All three are predicted to strengthen over

 

the next few years, and marketers who do not actively work to counter these factors will see

 

further erosion in their brands? differentiation?and value?in the years to come.

 


 

Real-Time Hyper-Focus

 

As marketers focus more tightly on social media and real-time marketing, more brands are

 

making nimble responses to current events and customer conversations a focal point of

 

their activities. Their hiring reflects this concentration. However, with more staff in the mix

 

who are speaking on behalf of the brand, the brand voice is inevitably blurred. This

 

diminishes consumers? sense of how a particular brand is different and creates confusion

 

about the unique space the brand occupies. For example, during this year?s Super Bowl,

 

most of the big game?s advertisers had ?war rooms? in which teams of employees were

 

busy monitoring Twitter and trying to get into the conversation by tweeting about each

 

other?s commercials. However, in an informal review, the vast majority of the contributions

 

from these advertisers were completely off-brand?getting their two cents in but doing

 

nothing to build their own brands.

 


 

Specials That Aren?t So Special

 

Promotions and sponsorships have become a much relied-upon means of boosting brand

 

awareness and engagement. We know that investing marketing dollars in this type of

 

activity can generate both awareness and sales. But the best promotions and sponsorships

 

are those that are consistent with the brand and also reinforce and build brand equities.

 

Currently, many such efforts are now designed primarily to engage and sell. For example, if

 

you?ve got a brand that helps consumers get fit, participate in fitness-related promotions.

 

But when upscale auto brands give away music festival tickets to those who test drive a car,

 

this does nothing to further brand values. We spent two years examining one particular

 

product category?s promotions and sponsorship activities. While the majority of brand

 

promotions in the category generated at least some positive sales results, only about onethird produced favorable shifts in perception of the brand.

 


 

Short-Term Targets, Long-Term Decline

 

Marketing mix modeling has been used for years to identify which elements in the marketing

 

mix generate the best ROI, helping advertisers to know how to maximize their marketing to

 

build the bottom line. Looking ahead, marketers are rightly enthusiastic about the evolution

 


 

of data analysis. The old marketing mix models are turning into an exciting new

 

environment in which Big Data tools can actually link advertising exposures to product

 

purchases carried out by the exposed consumers. It?s a great way to isolate the impact of

 

advertising on sales, but in this brave new world, the ads that make the short-term sales

 

seem to be those that marketers value most. It?s hard to argue with sales results, but ads

 

that imbue consumers with belief in the brand for the long term have massive value. Today,

 

though, marketers increasingly favor ads that create the urgency to buy tomorrow. The

 

ultimate result will be brands that stand for less, have less real consumer affinity, and are

 

less able to command premium prices.

 

None of these dynamics are necessarily negative. However, longitudinal data highlights the

 

relative fragility of brand equities, and the danger of not actively engaging in the practice of

 

advertising to reinforce brand equities.

 

Specifically, that longitudinal data suggests that even a window as brief as six months,

 

during which consumers don?t see brand-building advertising for a brand, is long enough for

 

a brand to begin to rot. Brand equities on dimensions?such as ?a brand for people like me?

 

and ?worth paying more for??can deteriorate by as much as 20% in those six months. The

 

weakening is most severe in highly competitive categories, those in which the brands have

 

strong ?badge? value, and those with frequent purchase cycles. But this deterioration is

 

present in virtually every advertised category that we?ve examined.

 

For every advertiser who recognizes the importance of the brand?and its value in the

 

market?these observations are cause for concern. Advertisers who are cognizant of the

 

risks faced by brands can compensate for them and continue to maintain their brand values.

 

By all means, capitalize on the opportunities offered by social media, real-time

 

communications, strategic promotions and Big Data. But without brand-focused strategies

 

for all of those elements, yours may become a brand that tomorrow?s consumers can?t

 

distinguish from competitors.

 


 

This was originally published in the May/June 2014 issue of Marketing Insights.

 


 

 


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