Marketing is the process through which companies identify their customers’ needs in order to develop solutions that satisfy the identified needs. An effective marketing strategy enables companies to build a strong brand. This is often achieved through a “marketing mix that enables the marketing executives to develop the right product and to sell it at the right price in the right place”.
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Moreover, using the most appropriate promotional activities helps in building a strong brand. In this regard, the components of a strong brand include brand awareness, image, personality, culture and identity. Prada is an example of a strong brand in the UK. This is an indication that the brand was established using an effective marketing strategy.
Brands create value to consumers who use them and the companies that own them. A company with a strong brand is often capable of outperforming its competitors in the market. This is because customers usually identify with strong brands by associating them with superior qualities or attributes. A brand audit refers to the process through which a company undertakes a comprehensive examination of its brand.
An effective brand audit should enable the firm to identify the source of its brand equity and how it can leverage it. This paper will focus on inter-brand marketing audit. Concisely, it will analyze the Prada brand and one of its products.
Key Components of a Brand: Prada
A brand refers to the idea or the image of a specific product that consumers connect with by indentifying the name or the logo of the company that owns the product. Branding is the process through which the idea or image is marketed so that customers can recognize and identify with it.
Thus, a brand is a differentiation tool that is used to distinguish a product from its competitors in the market. For instance, Prada uses a logo and a name to distinguish itself and its products in the textile and apparel industry. The main components of a brand include the following.
Brand identity is a set of distinctive characteristics or attributes that define the brand. These attributes define what the brand stands for in the market. In this context, the attributes of a brand are essentially a promise from the company to the customers. In a nutshell, a company must be able to offer products whose actual qualities match the perceived qualities.
Hence, brand identity helps companies to strengthen the relationship between their brand and customers. This is often achieved through a value proposition that is characterized by functional and emotional benefits. Prada is associated with high quality, luxurious and trendy products (Prada). These are the unique associations that define Prada’s brand identity, and promise to its customers.
Concisely, the customers expect the company to consistently offer high quality and trendy products. Brand identity is often reflected in the pricing strategy. For example, a brand that is associated with superior qualities often sells at a higher price than similar brands that are associated with inferior qualities.
Brand image refers to the brand’s reputation in the markets in which it is sold. It describes customers’ current perception of the brand. A strong brand image helps in creating a recognizable brand identity. Prada has a strong brand image due to its good reputation in the market. Customers believe that Prada’s products are superior and unique.
Individuals interested in luxurious fashion products often purchase the Prada brands in order to distinguish themselves from the rest of the society. Prada established a strong brand image by aligning its marketing mix to the values of its customers (Prada). This involved improving product quality by incorporating customers’ feedback in product development.
Brand character refers to the integrity or the trustworthiness of the brand. A strong brand must be trusted by the customers. This can be achieved if the company is capable of maintaining a specific level of service or product quality over a period of time.
Thus, brand character also represents the company’s promise to its customers. Having stayed in the industry for close to a century, Prada has established a brand character that is known for consistent quality and value for money.
Brand awareness refers to the ease with which customers can remember and recognize a particular brand. It enables customers to link the brand name or logo to past experiences with the brand. Prada’s logo plays a critical role in enhancing its brand awareness.
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This is based on the fact that the company’s logo is associated with the quality and authenticity of its products. In a nutshell, the customers use the logo to distinguish the original or genuine Prada brands from the fake ones.
Brand personality refers to the human attributes that are associated with a given brand. These attributes include gender, age and socio-economic status. Prada has products that are associated with certain human characteristics. For example, the wallets are associated with male customers.
Brand culture is a type of an organizational culture that enables the employees to uphold the brand values. It enables employees to develop solutions that help in delivering a branded customer experience. A relevant and sustainable brand must operate like a culture. The company must convince the public that it believes in its brand.
Thus, the brand must always be included in the company’s official communications such as advertisements, business memos and public statements. Prada enhances its brand culture by using its logo in every written statement that is meant for public consumption.
Comparison of Brand Logos (the logos are shown in figure 1 and 2 in the appendix)
|Prada’s Logo||Louis Vuitton’s Logo|
|Consists of the brand name and an image (an inverted triangle). The image helps the customers to recognize the brand in the market||Consists of the brand name and the initials of the company’s name. The brand is mainly recognized by its name|
|Has a catchphrase that indicates the year in which the brand was established. This helps in enhancing the brand image by assuring the customers that the brand has a history of good reputation||Has no catchphrase that highlights the quality or reputation of the brand. Thus, the brand image has been established through the company’s reputation in the market|
|Has a black color that distinguishes it from other brands||Has a brown color that helps the customers to identify it in the market|
|Is mainly embedded on one side of Prada’s products such as ladies handbags. This improves the visibility of the logo and enhances brand recognition||Is embedded on all sides of Louis Vuitton’s products. Consequently, recognizing the brand is easy|
Marketing is “an all-embracing function that links the business with customer needs and wants in order to get the right product to the right people at the right time”. Thus, marketing is an organization-wide process in which customer requirements are identified and fulfilled in a manner that is efficient and profitable.
The main objective of marketing is to enable a business organization to achieve its goals by outperforming its competitors in satisfying customer needs. The roles of marketing include the following. First, it helps the company to identify customers’ requirements. This is often achieved through marketing research that focuses on customers’ needs or changes in tastes and preferences.
Customers’ needs can also be identified and understood through an effective feedback system that enables the firm to communicate with its customers. Second, marketing helps in creating awareness about the company’s products. Awareness is created through marketing activities such as advertising, personal selling and sales promotions. Third, marketing helps in satisfying the needs of the customers.
Concisely, marketing initiatives help in product development. For instance, the feedback obtained from customers through a market research helps managers to develop the right products. Finally, marketing helps in establishing and maintaining relationships with customers.
Marketing initiatives such as loyalty programs enable companies to establish long term relationships with their customers. Similarly, discounts and after sales services help businesses to nurture their relationships with customers.
Marketing mix is a tool that enables a company to develop the right product and to sell it in the right place at the right time using the most appropriate promotional activities. The key elements of a marketing mix include place, price, promotion and product. Price refers to the monetary value of the product or service that is being sold. It is the “amount of money that a customer must pay in order to acquire a product or to enjoy a service”.
A product refers to the “actual good or service that satisfies the specific needs and wants of the customers”. Place refers to the location in which the product or service can be bought. It describes the distribution channels that are used by the company to reach its customers. For example, retail outlets are normally used to sell consumer products such as cosmetics.
Finally, promotion refers to the business communication initiatives that enable companies to reach their customers. Promotional activities usually provide information that enables customers to make the right decisions before purchasing a given product or service. The roles of marketing mix include the following.
First, it helps marketers to understand what customers want from a given product. It enables marketers to identify the needs that their products are expected to satisfy, as well as, the features that their products must have in order to satisfy the identified needs. In this context, marketing mix facilitates marketing functions such as product development, branding and product differentiation.
Second, marketing mix helps companies to identify the places in which buyers look for their products. In this case, it enables marketers to select the right distribution channel and the most appropriate selling method. For instance, it will be necessary to use a sales force if customers are interested in products that are delivered directly to them.
Third, marketing mix is used by managers to select the best communication channel. In this regard, it helps managers to appraise the existing marketing communication channels. For instance, a company can decide to create awareness about its products through TV adverts if the targeted customers have access to TV sets. Additionally, it enables companies to analyze the effect of their competitors’ promotional activities.
Finally, marketing mix helps in formulating the pricing strategy (Kotler, Keller and Brady p. 117). Concisely, it enables marketers to understand the customers’ perception of the product’s value. Moreover, it enables marketing executives to analyze the effect of price changes in the market.
Prada is known for manufacturing and selling luxurious handbags. In order to satisfy the needs of its customers, the company sells a variety of handbags. Concisely, the handbags have different colors, shapes and sizes. Additionally they are made of different leather materials.
Prada’s handbags have been positioned as the best products in their market segment. This is because they are made of high quality leather. Moreover, their designs are considered to be the best in the industry.
Prada’s handbags are distributed through three channels. First, the handbags are sold through the company’s retail outlets (Prada). The company has established several retail outlets in various cities in the UK. This distribution channel was adopted to enable the company to interact with its customers. The interaction enables the company to understand the needs of its customers.
Second, the handbags can be bought through the company’s distributors. This is meant to improve the visibility of the product. Third, the handbags can be bought through the company’s sales website. Selling the handbags through the company’s website was adopted because it is efficient and cost effective.
The website enables the customers to view the handbags that are available so that they can choose the right product (Prada). Moreover, online sales enable the firm to reach customers who are not located near any of its retail outlets.
Prada’s promotional activities include discounts, advertising and internet selling. The adverts are done through print and electronic media. The company also uses its sales website to advertise the handbags that are available in its stores (Prada). Additionally, social media such as facebook and twitter are used to inform the customers about the products and the promotional activities that are being run by the company.
The sales promotions include discounts on cash purchases (Prada). For example, a customer who is participating in the company’s loyalty program is entitled to a discount on repeat purchases. Internet selling is done through the company’s website, which contains all the information about the handbags and how they can be purchased.
The price depends on the size of the handbag and the material that was used to manufacture it. For example, handbags that are made of pure leather cost approximately 1050 Euros. Prada uses the premium pricing strategy to determine the retail price of its high quality handbags.
In this case, the handbags are sold at a high price due to their superior quality. However, the firm uses the penetration pricing strategy to determine the price of its standard handbags. This involves selling the handbags at low prices in order to gain market share (Kotler, Keller and Brady p. 89).
The strengths associated with Prada’s marketing strategy include the following. The brand has several distribution channels that enable customers to access the product easily. By selling a variety of handbags, the firm is able to meet the diverse needs of its customers. The pricing strategies that have been adopted by the firm can help it to increase its market share and revenue.
However, they can have a negative effect on the brand identity because the handbags have different prices. Thus, customers who are not able to distinguish the features of the handbags will not connect or identify with the brand. Despite this weakness, Prada’s marketing strategy is effective due to the aforementioned strengths.
Marketing enables companies to identify customer needs and to develop products or solutions that can satisfy the identified needs. An effective marketing strategy must have a good marketing mix. The elements of the marketing mix include place, price, product and promotion. By leveraging these elements, a company can build a strong brand.
This is because customers are likely to identify with a brand that is known for high quality and is sold at the right price in the right place using the most appropriate promotional activities. In this regard, the components of a strong brand include brand image, character, awareness, culture and identity.
Figure 1: Prada’s Logo
Figure 2: Louis Vuitton’s Logo
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