It is only after seeing the company’s brand identification that consumers will get the temptation to buy products in the firm. Therefore, the common aim of developing a good brand to all business organizations is creating new and loyal customers. In the past, in order to offer customer loyalty, business organizations employed classical techniques such as pricing or placing techniques based on products or services. De Pelsmacker.et.al (2006). However, this has shifted to brand identity, brand positioning and integrated marketing communication (IMC) in the modern world. This report seeks to examine the relevance of brand identity in the context IMC, discuss issues contributing to successful brand positioning in the UK market and develops a well designed IMC strategy with a keen interest to helping Burt’s Bees achieve communication objectives for market penetration in the UK. De Pelsmacker.et.al (2006).
We will write a custom Essay on Brand Identity Strategy and Imc: Burt’s Bees Case Study specifically for you
301 certified writers online
Integrated marketing communication (IMC) has been broadly accepted, thus becoming an essential part of brand strategy that requires broad brand improvement activities within the company before the start of any external brand communications efforts. Brand development and management should be used for instigating and sustaining continued dialogue with clients as well as promoting relationships amongst them. De Pelsmacker.et.al (2006). Therefore, strategically oriented integrated brand communication will help Burt Bees to progress in this competitive world of business. Even though various factors influence customer-based brand identity, including price, product, and distribution, in this paper, I will focus on the influence of IMC on brand equity. De Pelsmacker.et.al (2006).
Brand Identity Strategy and IMC
Creating and sustaining a brand identity is viewed as the first step towards developing strong brands. Three years ago Pickton and Broderick (2004) claimed that the study on the management, development and significance of brand identity is necessary to keep the importance of academic brand development research to the marketing practice. While brand identity assists in establishing a relationship between the customer and the brand through generating value proposition that involves emotional, functional, or self-expressive benefits, it becomes very difficult for brand identity to perfectly match with brand image following the intricate nature of the existing communications system. Fiske (1994), observes that, brand image is one of the input and should be an integral part of strategic brand analysis where brand strategists carefully evaluate their existing brand image as well as those of competitors to assist them in establishing their own brand identity.
After creating a brand identity the business organization should consider how suitable the intended positioning is against the brand’s identity i.e. after developing a unified brand, the organization should come up with the ways in which the identity will be communicated to all agents and employees who are responsible for marketing communication with prospects, customers, and publics. Fiske (1994) notes that, there is increased potential for conflicting messages since diverse communication options have different points of contact with various message receivers. In addition he asserts that brand identity should control integrated marketing communication in creating as well as maintaining effective and synergistic messages. An effective brand identity strategy is the one that guides, informs, and assists in nurturing, developing, and implementing the company’s overall IMC strategy through different brand identity contacts. Brand identity contacts can be managed effectively through brand identity factors, incorporating top management support, internal market orientation and identity-oriented culture. On the other hand brand equity contacts can be properly managed through brand equity contact factors for example, IMC effectiveness and IMC synergy.
As noted by Brassington and Pettitt (2005) IMC has changed from being a simple inside-out mechanism that assembles promotional tools to being a calculated process which is connected with brand management. It stresses on the benefits of connecting synergy across multiple media so as to develop brand equity of products as well as services. Brand identity contacts can also be effectively managed through the brand identity factors, which comprise internal market orientation, top management support and identity-oriented culture. In addition, brand equity contacts can be managed well through brand equity contact factors for instance, IMC synergy and IMC effectiveness. Brassington and Pettitt (2005) views brand equity as a discrepancy consequence of brand knowledge on customer response to the brand marketing. They suggests that brand knowledge is central to brand equity definition and argues that high levels of brand knowledge will always increase the prospect of brand choice, and defined brand knowledge in terms of image and brand awareness.
Brand Equity Contact Factors
Integration of marketing communications will ensure that Brand equity contacts are effectively managed. Thus, factors linked to the flourishing integration of marketing communications such as IMC effectiveness and IMC synergy will be helpful in brand’s equity contact management and, therefore, are positively related to brand equity.
Moreover, the brand identity assists the brand in achieving high equity. A well-communicated and a well-conceived brand identity makes positive contribution in developing brand equity through influencing the IMC processes i.e. firms can efficiently integrate and inform their marketing communications through managing brand identity contacts by top management support, internal market orientation and a brand identity-oriented culture.
To achieve its communication objectives for the UK market penetration, Burt Bees must adopt a well organized communication program that is internally consistent and customer-focused. As a concept for designing marketing communication programs, IMC will help promote all promotional activities i.e. sales promotion, advertising, public relations, personal selling, and direct marketing thus offering a consistent message across all audiences. (Belch and Belch, 2003) The major aim of developing a successful IMC programs will be creating a process that will enhance IMC audit design and use. The IMC audit will analyze the company’s internal communication network, evaluate customer databases, identify key audiences, assess messages in recent ads, promote sales and help in determining manager’s knowledge of IMC. Once the IMC process is implemented Burt’s Bees will want to assess its benefits, this will be aimed at trying to determine which promotional elements works better for the company. In this integrated program, media advertising will be used to create awareness, direct mail to offer additional information to individual prospects, sales promotion to generate an inquiry and a personal sales call to complete the transaction. (Belch and Belch, 2003)
Identifying the Target audience
Burt Bees should employ the first decision in developing its promotion program, this will be identifying the target audience, the group of prospective customer toward which a promotion program will be directed. To the extent to which time and money will allow, the target audience for the promotion program will be the target market for the company’s product, identified from marketing segmentation and research studies. The more Burt Bees knows about its target audience’s profile – including attitudes, values and lifestyles – the easier it will be for them in developing a promotion program. For example, if the company wants to reach you with television and magazines ads, it will be required to know what TV shows you watch. (Belch and Belch, 2003)
Specifying promotion objectives
After identifying the target audience, a decision should be reached on what to be accomplished by the promotion, customers can be said to respond in terms of a hierarchy of effects i.e. the series of stages a prospective client goes through from a product’s initial awareness to final action. (Adoption or trial of a product)
Consumer decision-making process
Behind the act of purchasing a product from a store or supermarket, there are five stages of decision making precede this action. These are the five stages of consumer behavior. They include problem recognition, information search, alternative evaluation, purchase decision and post purchase decision respectively. Companies in the soft drinks market need to have an intricate understanding of this process in order to market their product effectively. This process tells a company why consumers chose an e product over the other hence manufactures a product that appeals to the needs of the consumer(Minor and Mowen, 1997).
The problem recognition stage is whereby the consumer establishes a gap between his/her ideal situation and current situation. In this case, of soft drinks it may be after watching on appealing advertisement of a soft drink or an empty fridge or simply feeling thirsty. This triggers a perceived need that needs to be fulfilled. As a result, the consumer starts an information search about the products. The information gathering process seeks to clarify perceptions or seek value in information gotten from the source it can be simple as asking friends and relatives about the product, memory recall of previous experiences with product as a similar product, browsing product consumer report or marketer dominated source, e.g. A company’s website, advertising agency or a sale person (Mort, 2000). The adult soft drink industry is vibrant with new products being launched day and the old ones being improved. The consumers get bomb order with different messages from different companies about similar products. Thus before a consumer goes to buy a soft drink s/he has gathered information about the various brands and decided options considering its ability to meet the need and expectation of the customer. However, consumers believe in getting the best value for their money hence the third stage, which is doing alternative evaluation. At this stage, the customer tries to narrow down the options to one brand. This is done by assessing the objective attribute of a brand say quenching thirst, hydration, boosting energy, detoxing and the subjective factors such as image gotten by consuming a product consuming a product my be associated with prestige or trendy image and this influences purchase decision.
After assessing the attributes of the various products then the decision to purchase the best brand out of the various products is the next step. The purchase decision is affected by three variables i.e. from whom to buy from when to buy or not to buy. (Evans & Berman 1990) of course this depends on terms of sale, past experience at a point of purchase, return policy, shopping experience, time available and so on. After purchase and consumption, the consumer evaluates the value gained from the product. If s/he is satisfied, there is likelihood of the making a repeat purchase and establishing brand loyalty. The implication of the consumer buying process to soft drink companies is that they market their products in such a way that it arouses customers interests in buying a product, ensuring that stores don’t run out of their products so that customers have chances to switch to other brands. In addition, soft drinks should establish websites where customers can get right information regarding a brand especially if it is new in the market, advertising message reinforce positive perception regarding a product, making use of marketer dominated sources and influential groups to boost trust in the product. Pepsi has often used athletes such as David Beckham to promote Pepsi cola. He is on influential person who influences customers’ decision to purchase the product. Soft drink companies understand customers decision to buy a product is influenced by how much they feel they get value for money. Hence, variety and more attributes in their products for instance sugar-free, low calorie, preservative free, fortified fruit juice give four different attributed in one product. Similarly, creating a prestigious trendy image to its consumers in order to achieve this attractive packaging has played a major role. Moreover, soft drinks sold in grocery stores and leisure venues sell impulse out lets such as grocery stores, gas stations and fast food chains to boost sale and give the consumer pleasant convenient shopping experience. Finally yet importantly is the fact that soft drinks companies work hard to produce positive post purchase attitude in order to increase repeat purchase and dispel cognitive dissonance in customers about their brand. This is achieved using the many advertisements seen on television or papers.
Setting the promotion budget
After setting the promotion objectives, Burt Bees should then decide on how much to spend. Arriving at the ideal amount for the budget can turn out to be difficult since there is no defined way to measure the correct results for spending the promotion dollars. However, Burt Bees can employ one of the methods described below;
Get your first paper with 15% OFF
Percentage of sales – in the percentage of sales budgeting approach, company’s funds will be assigned to promotion as a percentage of past or anticipated sales, in terms of dollars or units sold. This is a common budgeting scheme with an obvious advantage i.e. it’s simple and provides a financial safeguard by tying the promotion budget on sales. Conversely, there is a major fallacy in this approach which implies that sales cause promotion. Using this method Burt Bees may reduce its promotion budget because of a down turn in past sales or an expected down turn in future sales situations where promotion might be needed (Hart, 1998).
Competitive parity – Being the second common approach, competitive parity budgeting matches the competitor’s absolute level of spending or the proportion per point of market share. It is important for Burst Bees to consider competition in budgeting. Consumers responses to promotion are affected by competing promotional activities, such that if a competitor runs 20 TV ads every week, it may be difficult for the company to gets its message across with only five ads. The competitors budget level, however, should not be the only determinant in setting the firm’s budget. The competition might have very different level of promotion expenditures (Hart, 1998).
All-you-can-afford budgeting- This is a common to many small business in which money is allocated to promotion only after all the other budget items are covered.
Objective and task budgeting – This will be the best budgeting approach to use whereby Burt’s Bees will (1) Determine its promotion objective (2) Outline the tasks to accomplish these objectives and (3) Determine the promotion cost of performing these tasks (Hart, 1998).
This method will take into account what the company wants to accomplish and will require the specifications of objectives. Strengths of the other budgeting methods are all integrated in this approach because each previous method’s strength is tied to the objectives. For instance, if the costs will be beyond what Burt Bees can afford, objectives will be reworked and the tasks revised. The difficulty with this method is the judgment required to determine the tasks needed to accomplish objectives.
Selecting the Right promotional tools
Once a budget has been determined, the combination of the fine basic IMC tools- advertising, public relations, sales promotion, direct marketing and personal selling should be specified. While many factors provide direction for selection of the appropriate mix, the lager number of possible combinations of the promotional tools means that many combinations can achieve the same objective. Therefore, an analytical approach and experience will be particularly important in this step of the promotion decision process. The specific mix will vary from a simple program using a single tool to a comprehensive program using all forms of promotion. The Olympics, for example, have become a very visible example of a comprehensive integrated communication program. Since the games are repeated after every two years the promotion is almost continuous. The program comprise of public relations programs managed by the most cities, sales promotion activities, personal selling efforts by the Olympic committee ad organizers, advertising campaigns, and direct marketing efforts aimed at a variety of audiences including organizations, governments, firms, athletes and individuals. (Hart, 1998)
Designing the promotion
The major element of a promotion program is the promotion itself. Advertising consists of advertising copy and the artwork that the target audience is intended to hear or see. Personal selling efforts depend on the characteristics and skill of the sales person. Sales promotion activities consist of the specific details of inducements for example, coupons, samples and sweepstakes. Public relations efforts are readily seen in tangible elements such as news releases and direct marketing actions depend on written, verbal and electronic forms delivery. The design of the promotion will plays a primary role in determining the message to be communicated to the audience. This design activity is frequently seen as step requiring the most creativity. In addition, successful designs are often the result of insight regarding consumer’s interest and purchasing behavior. All of the promotion tools have many design alternatives. Advertising for example, can utilize fear, humor or other emotions in its appeal. (Hart, 1998) Similarly direct marketing can be designed for varying levels personal or customized appeals. One of the challenges of IMC is to design each promotional activity to communicate the same message.
Scheduling the promotion
Once the design of each of the promotional program element is complete, it will be important to determine the most effective timing of their use. The promotion schedule describes the order in which each promotional tool is introduced and the frequency of its use during the campaign. An instant-win sweepstake, for example, can be employed to generate interest in products before their release scheduling of the various promotions will be designed to generate interests, bring consumers into shops and encourage additional purchases after testing the brands. Several factors for instance, competitive promotion activity and seasonality will also influence the promotion schedule. (Hart, 1998)
Executing and evaluating the promotion program
According to Pickton and Broderick (2004) the ideal execution of a promotion programs involves pretesting each design before it is actually used to allow for changes and modifications which improve its effectiveness. Similarly post tests are recommended to evaluate the impact of each promotion and the contribution of the promotion toward achieving the program objective. The most sophisticated pre-test and post test procedures have been developed for advertising. Testing procedures for sales promotion and direct marketing efforts currently focus on comparisons of different designs or responses of different segments to fully benefit from the IMC programs. Burt Bees must create and maintain a test result database which will allow comparison of the relative impact of the promotional tools and their execution options, in varying situations. Information for the database will allow informed design and execution decision and provide support for IMC activities during internal reviews by financial or administrative personnel. (Pickton and Broderick, 2004)
Carrying out the promotion program can be expensive and time consuming Belch and Belch (2003), estimates that a firm with sales not exceeding $10milion can successfully implement an IMC program within one year, sales between $200m $ 500m in 3 years and 2-5 billion in 5 years. To enhance the transition these are about 200 integrated marketing, common agencies in operation additionally some of the largest advertising agencies are employing approaches that embrace total communication solutions.
Brand Identity and brand’s positioning has worked for Burt’s Bees in its marketing efforts in various parts of the globe especially in the UK. These have led to continued brand loyalty for their products as demonstrated by the consumers. Through employing Integrated marketing communication, companies have achieved great brand improvements for their products. It’s no doubt that after employing the report’s proposed communication program Burt’s Bees will achieve its communication objectives for the UK market penetration. This will go along with developing the promotion program, identifying the target audience, specifying the promotion objectives, setting the promotion budget, selecting the right promotion tools, designing the promotion, scheduling the promotion and lastly, executing and evaluating the promotion program. De Pelsmacker.et.al (2006).
- Amanda Bennet, “GE Redesigns Rung of Career Ladder,” Wall Street Journal, 1993 (of) P. B7
- Belch, G. and Belch, M. (2003), Advertising and Promotion an Integrated Marketing Communications Perspective, 6th ed, (London: McGraw-Hill Education).
- Brassington, F. and Pettitt, S. (2005), Essentials of Marketing, (Harlow: Financial Times Prentice Hall).
- Brierley, S. (2002), the Advertising Handbook, 2nd ed., (London: Routledge).
- Butterfield, L. (1999), Excellence in Advertising the IPA Guide to Best Practice, 2nd ed, (Oxford; Butterworth-Heinemann)
- De Pelsmacker.et.al (2006). Marketing Communications; Branding and reposition of a Product.
- Fill, C. (2005), Marketing Communications: Engagement, Strategies and Practice, 4th ed., (New York: Prentice Hall/Financial Times).
- Fiske, J. (1994), Introduction to Communication Studies – Studies in Culture and Communication, 2nd ed., (London: Routledge).
- Hart, N. (1998), Business-to-Business Marketing Communications, 6th ed, (London: Kogan Page).
- Heaker, A. (2001), Public Relations Handbook (Media Practice), (London: Routledge).
- McDonald, M. (2002), Marketing Plans How to Prepare Them, How to Use Them, 5th ed., (Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann).
- Pickton, D. and Broderick, A. (2004), Integrated Marketing Communications, 2nd ed., (Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall Financial Times).
- Parter, M.E. “Changing Patterns of International Competition” California Management Review (1986)
- Richard E. Caves, Multinational Enterprise and Economic Analysis. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996
- Riquelme, P. (2002), Do Customers Know What They Want? The journal of consumer marketing, 16(2), 436-452
- Sharon, D. (1999), Applied Multivariate Techniques. Journal of Consumer Research
- Smith, P. (2004), Marketing Communications: An Integrated Approach, 4th ed,( New York: Prentice hall)
- Solomon, M., Bamossy, G. and Askegaard, S. (2002), Consumer Behaviour – An European Perspective, 2nd ed, (Harlow: Financial Times/Prentice-Hall).
- Sandhusen. R.L. 2000: Marketing: ISBN 0764112775, Barron’s Educational Series.