The brand that will be under discussion in this report will be the Financial Times that was started in 1888 by James Sheridan and his brother. The Financial Times is a British newspaper that is published in London that primarily focuses on the financial market in the United Kingdom and the rest of the world. In the global context, the Financial Times competes with newspapers such as The Wall Street Journal that is circulated in New York and the Economic Times that is the second daily financial newspaper in the world.
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The Financial Times mostly specialises in UK financial news as well as international business news (Pearson 2010). The Financial Times otherwise known as the FT is the only paper in the United Kingdom that provides daily reports of the London Stock Exchange, the New York Stock Exchange and the European stock exchange market and other financial markets around the world (Busfield 2009).
The Financial Times, which falls under the Financial Times PLC Group, has been divided into two sections which cover national news and international news. These two sections provide financial news as well as financial information on the current markets in the UK as well as the rest of the world. Other editorial papers that fall under the Financial Group include the FT magazine, the How to Spend It magazine which is a weekly publication of the group, FT weekend edition, The Economist and the Financial Advisor.
Other brands that fall under the Financial Group include the FT knowledge which offers educational products and services to schools, colleges and financial institutions. The Financial Times has a newspaper circulation 432,944 in the international market while in the national market it has a circulation of 75,665 on a daily basis (FT.Com 2010).
The current brand target for the newspaper is financial corporations and institutions in the UK as well as business and financial analysts, stakeholders, financial advisors and experts, investors, and shareholders. The paper also has a target audience with normal UK citizens who have invested in the stock market and who also have shares in most of the financial institutions within the country. Newspapers are usually classified according to their target audiences and the market segments that they are intended for. The five general types of newspapers according to O’Guinn et al (2009) that serve different target audiences include newspapers, ethnic newspapers, business or financial papers, gay or lesbian newspapers and the alternative press.
These five types’ newspapers target audiences in both the United States and the UK. General population newspapers serve the local, regional or national communities and they report news that is usually of interest to the local population. Examples of general newspapers in the UK include the Star, the Sun, the Daily Mirror, the Observer and the Times. Business papers such as the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal serve a specialized business audience and they report news that is relevant to financial markets and institutions (O’Guinn et al 2009). Ethic newspapers target a specific group of people within a certain area or country that are growing in popularity.
A majority of these newspapers are published on a weekly basis and examples of these papers published in the US include newspapers such as the Michigan Chronicle and the New York Amsterdam News which are published to serve the black American community in the United States. Examples of ethnic newspapers in the UK include the South African Times, Muslim Weekly, New Zealand News UK, New Africa Analysis Magazine, Irish Post, Zimbabwe Guardian and the Jewish Chronicle. Gay and lesbian newspapers are usually published for smaller markets that exist in areas that have high gay or lesbian populations such as San Francisco which has the San Francisco Bay Area Reporter and Boston Bay Windows.
An example of a gay or lesbian newspaper in the UK includes the Plymouth Herald, Gay UK news, Gay UK Pride and the Pink Paper. The alterative press refers to newspapers that cover other areas of news such as entertainment, health, food and nutrition, dieting, shopping, motor vehicle magazines and children’s magazines (O’Guinn et al 2009). Examples of alternative press in the UK include the London Glossy Magazine, Spectator Magazine, street brand magazines, Time Out London magazine, TV Times magazine and weekly news (Mondotimes 2010).
Positioning is defined as how a product appears in a market when compared to other products. Brand positioning is the process of placing products or services in a target market by creating a brand image or identity that can be used to place the product in the minds of consumers. Brand positioning involves identifying markets within a particular target segment after which the attributes of the product are defined. Once the product’s attributes have been defined; the next stage will involve sampling a target segment of consumers within the market to determine their perceptions and opinions of the brands relevant attributes. Once this is done, the product’s share of mind is determined after which the location of the product is determined in the current location (Kapferer 2008).
The next stage will involve determining the target market’s preferred combination of brand attributes which could be the contents of the brand as well as the quality of the brand. The fit between the product and the preferred combination of product attributes is the measured and examined to determine whether the product meets the target market’s expectations. Once this fit is examined and found to be satisfactory the brand is positioned within the target market (Kapferer 2008). There are different brand positioning strategies that are used to place a product within a selected market. Examples of these strategies include category related positioning, benefit related positioning, price-quality positioning and positioning by usage occasion (Sengupta 2005).
Category related or corporate identity positioning involves positioning the product by choosing a product category in which the brand will be positioned. Benefit related positioning involves selecting a particular benefit of the brand that will be used to give the product a competitive advantage over its rivals. Positioning by usage occasion involves dominating a particular market that utilises the product.
This type of brand positioning allows for the differentiation of one brand from one or two usages of the brand that the competition has ignored in the target market. Examples of brands that incorporate positioning by usage occasion include Listerine (used during the day and night), Nescafe (during the morning) and Domino’s. Price quality positioning involves positioning products within a market based on the price and quality of the product within that particular market (Sengupta 2005).
Brand positioning as well as product or service positioning can be expressed in various forms which could range from a slogan to an awareness campaign or an advert displayed in the media. The brand positioning strategies that is used by The Financial Times involves positioning by corporate identity.
Since its inception in 1888, the UK newspaper has involved the use of positioning by its corporate identity and the use of its corporate logo and trademark FT to position itself in the UK market. The Financial Times which has a financial audience mostly incorporates the use of corporate identity to position itself within these audiences given that the Financial Times Group has invested a high stake in the financial market within the UK (Parameswaran 2006).
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Such high stakes have forced the company to use its credentials and corporate image to position itself among the financial readers in the UK market. Many of the Financial Times consumer recognise the FT logo to be that of providing financial information news in both a local, regional, national and international context. The FT brand has therefore become integrated in the Financial Group’s brand markets within the UK which comprise of financial institutions, financial experts, business analysts and shareholders. Many financial readers in the UK recognise the FT brand to be that of providing financial news and editorials on financial information as well as the state of the financial markets around the world (Sengupta 2005).
The Financial Times Group incorporated the use of a slogan “No Financial Times, no comment” to position itself within the financial market. This advertising slogan gave the newspaper a competitive edge over its competitors given that it provides up to date financial news on what is happening in the financial markets around the world. The slogan was however recently changed to another slogan that reads “We live in Financial Times” meaning that the current world is more financial than ever before and the news paper is the go to source of information when it comes to money and financial information (Talking Biz News 2010). The company also a website known as the FT.Com website that contains up to date stock and share prices as well as financial information and news as it happens in the real world.
An effective marketing communication strategy is important for every business whether it is non profit or profit, or it is small or large. Marketing communication strategies help an organization to harmonize and integrate all the communication tools into one approach that will be used to market the brand. A marketing communications strategy could include the selection of target markets, brand positioning or the incorporation of marketing communication tools to communicate the product to a target audience. Developing marketing communication strategies is an important activity as it ensures that the product delivers maximum benefits to the company. These will therefore require the brand marketer to be innovative and creative to ensure that the product has been communicated effectively to the target audience (Smith and Taylor 2004).
There is no single approach that can be used in developing a marketing strategy and some companies as a result of this opt to not develop marketing communication approaches. However marketing communication strategies are important for companies as they help them to integrate all the communication tools into the marketing activities of the brand name. This ensures that the marketing activities are moving in a single direction thereby reducing marketing costs that could be incurred by the company. A simple technique of formulating marketing communication strategies is to develop alternative strategies that will be used to generate strategic options which will then be considered in developing marketing communication strategies (Smith and Taylor 2004).
The Financial Times has incorporated the use of a marketing communication strategy that positions the Financial Group Company as one that offers financial news and information in the UK. The Financial Times has marketed itself as a solution provider for financial news and information on financial markets around the world as well as financial information on the business performance of certain industries within the UK.
The Financial Times has also incorporated a marketing strategy that communicates to the company’s target audience that it creates financial editorial content that is used in educating the general audience in the UK on financial matters and issues that exist within the country (Koch 2006). The newspaper has also incorporated a marketing strategy that has made it to be a definitive business newspaper within the UK that has made it to be relied on by many of the world’s most influential political and business figures (Financial Times 2010).
The degree of creativity that has been incorporated in the development of the Financial Times marketing communication strategy was high in nature to ensure that the newspaper stood out from other financial newspapers in the UK which include the Guardian, the Telegraph, and the Times. The Financial Times has incorporated
The use of integrated marketing communication strategies to ensure that the financial newspapers produced by the Financial Times Group have a competitive edge over those of competitors. The integrated marketing communication strategy adopted by the company involves choosing, implementing and controlling the various elements of marketing communication which has eventually led to the company being able to effectively utilise its costs thereby achieving maximum results as a result of this strategy. The marketing communication strategy for the Financial Times has been successful as the company has continued to experience an increase in the newspaper’s readership (Sisodia and Telrandhe 2010).
The readership of the newspaper as at 2009 was estimated to be 432,944 in the international market while in the national UK market it was estimated to have a readership of 75,665.The company has continued to achieve high levels of readership by involving the use of creative marketers who design the newspaper to continue appealing to financial markets and individuals who require the use of financial information so that they can make useful financial decisions. Creativity is therefore important in ensuring that the Financial Times remains the most popular newspaper that delivers financial information and news of financial markets to its readers (FT.Com 2010).
As explained in the above sections of the report, the target segment of the Financial Times is mostly financial institutions, companies, business analysts, businessmen, financial experts and people who are interested in financial news in the UK. This means that the majority of the readers are people who have financial interest and investments in the financial markets such as the London Stock Exchange market or the New Stock Exchange market.
These individuals could be viewed to form a mature audience that ranges between the ages of 35- 65 years and over that are interested in investing in various sectors within the UK economy as well as in financial corporations that have been listed on the London Stock Exchange. This therefore means that the Financial Times has an audience that is mostly mature and aware of their financial status within the UK society.
A new target segment for the newspaper could be young people who fall in the 21- 35 age bracket who are still in college or have recently been employed in the UK job market and are interested in investing in the country’s financial market. This age bracket could also be targeted by the newspaper as they are the most vulnerable when it comes to making poor financial decisions and purchases. The young population in the UK as well as the rest of the world lack any basic information that they can use to engage in investment decisions. This leads to a situation where they invest in stock options and shares that do not yield any returns. More and more young people who are employed in the UK are now opting to take out mortgages but they lack the appropriate information that they can use to acquire a suitable mortgage (Jenno 2007).
Taking a mortgage without the necessary information might prove be a dangerous move as failure to pay off the mortgage might lead to the recovery of the home by the bank or the borrowing institution. It therefore becomes imperative to create a product that can be used by this target segment to make their financial decisions in a better. Given this segment lacks any information on financial investments and the stock market, the Financial Times should develop a newspapers that will meet the financial needs of this target segment.
The newspaper could develop a segment or a newspaper journal that is an affiliate of the Financial Times that would be used in helping the young people within the newspapers market that want to invest in various businesses in the country on the available investment options. The newspaper could incorporate the use of simple language that will allow young people who are not financially savvy to be able to make sense of the various financial terms that exist in the financial world.
By focusing on the youth, the Financial Times will target a segment that has long been ignored by many financial newspapers in both the national and international arena of financial news. Many of these papers focus on the older or mature generation that are aware of financial situations around the world and are also aware of various financial terms that are used in the financial market.
Creating news items that focus on the youth will ensure that young people are able to make sound investment decisions when it comes to purchasing stock options, buying company shares and also taking out mortgages. The creation of such a newspaper will also give the Financial Times a competitive edge over its competitors in both the UK and the international world.
To target the identified market segment, the company will have to incorporate a brand positioning strategy that will involve a catchy slogan specifically designed to draw the attention of the young people. The slogan could involve the use of youthful language that is mostly common in the urban areas of the UK to draw more youths to read the financial newspaper. An example of a slogan that can be used by the newspaper is “Time for Music, Time for Finance” to denote the music listening culture of young people in the UK or “FT is your financial friend too” to denote the aspect friendship and peer influences that are mostly common amongst young people (Clancy and Krieg 2007).
To position the new brand of Financial Times in the target market, the marketing communication approaches that can be used to position the product effectively in the youth target market is the use of social networking sites such as Twitter, Myspace and Facebook. These social networking sites are popular and common amongst the youth as they share their opinions in these sites. The newspaper should therefore utilise these approaches to position the new brand in the youth segment market.
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