The following will be a comparison and contrast of brand strategies for business markets, service branding, and technology markets. The respective business strategies discussed are brand superiority, internal marketing, and company branding.
Business markets in reference to brands that sell to other businesses and organizations such as firms, institutions, government (Tybout & Calkins, 2005).
Brand superiority. One of the several strategies used in business market is brand superiority. This strategy is centered on beating the competition by having the better feature (s) or attribute (s) (Tybout & Calkins, 2005). The risks related to this strategy are that competitors can respond with product advancement. However, the advantages are great in that customers can easily evaluate features which can lead them to adopt the brand. If competitors do not step to challenge of responding with a superior product, the brand can have a leading brand position in the market (Tybout & Calkins, 2005).
Service markets have to do with organizations that provide services to consumers such as hotels, airlines, advertising agencies, consulting firms (Tybout & Calkins, 2005).
Internal Marketing. It is true that company communications with to the marketplace help create brand associations and customer expectations. However, the experience customers have with a brand frontline employees, trump any brand advertising or marketing. Customer experiences with a brand employees leave a lasting impression and create the formation of brand perception, value, and expectations for future encounters (Tybout & Calkins, 2005).
Internal marketing, or marketing to employees, is a necessary strategy for service brands. It encompasses effectively communicating to employees the importance of their role in representing the brand to create the intended associations and expectations and their value to the brand. Employees must be treated with respect and feel as they are respected and valued. Additionally, customers expect that the brands they patronize treat their employees respectfully (Lazorko & Zajac, 2014)
Technology markets. Technology market branding focuses on branding the company instead of the particular product (Tybout & Calkins, 2005). This reason for this is because technology is constantly changing and improving with accelerated innovations (Tybout & Calkins, 2005) have very short lives (Vantage Media, n.a). For one example, Apple releases a new iPhone every fall (Bolluyt, 2015). Another reason is that technology companies produce a variety of products. Going back to the Apple example, they produce phones, laptop computers, desktop computers, drives, tablets, recording software and phone applications among others. This method of branding is important to differentiation as consumers often rely on brand recognition, instead of comparing specs and claims, to make their purchase choice (Vantage Media, n.a.).
Comparison and Contrast
Contrast. One way in which business markets are different from service branding and technology markets is that they have few customers and typically do not depend on traditional media for branding (Tybout & Calkins). In brand superiority, the strategy is centered on providing the superior product, not necessarily the superior brand message. The superiority of the product embodies the message. This is beneficial, as aforementioned, customers can easily evaluate the features of a product. Service branding is, as the name implies, centered on the service provided by frontline staff. Traditional media is used but can be useless if the service does not meet the expectations of customers. In technology markets, features are not easily evaluated by consumers and brand messaging is very important to creating messaging those shape customer perception which influences purchase decisions.
Comparison. In both business markets and service branding, consumer response is not reliant on or determined by marketing messaging (although it is important). However, the weight of customer response is mostly determined by the superior product or service. In service marketing messaging, customer service is highlighted over the product. The airline United is well known for its “Come fly the friendly skies,” slogan. The focus of this campaign is to the friendly service customers will receive, instead of the smooth, safe flight they will enjoy because of superior planes.
With any brand or market that deals with customers, this researcher posits that customer service is a very important aspect affecting customer experience and the creation of meaning of the brand. In business markets, in addition to product superiority, customer services is also an important element of branding. For example, in the construction industry the total project management, including the physical product and service delivery impacts customer brand perception (Haverila & Fehr, 2016). Similar to service branding, technology markets have large a customer base. And technology customers need technical support in regards to the products purchased. So although technology markets branding is centered on the product, customer service can also play a part in brand perception.
In conclusion, in business markets the branding is focused on the product, in service brands, the branding is centered on the frontline employees and in technology markets branding is focused on the product. Although each market has a different focus of branding, customers service is the link that ties them together because it also plays a significant role in brand perception.
Lazorko, K., & Zajac, M. (2014). Internal marketing and talent management as integral elementsof employer branding strategies. Economic Processes Management, (1), 1-10.
Tybout, A. M., & Calkins, T. (2005). Kellogg on branding: The marketing faculty of the Kellogg School of Management. Hoboken, NJ
Haverila, M. J., & Fehr, K. (2016). The impact of product superiority on customer satisfaction in project management. International Journal Of Project Management, 34(4), 570-583. doi:10.1016/j.ijproman.2016.02.007
Vantage Media (n.a) Why technology branding is different [Web Log]. Vantagemedia.com.Retrieved from http://www.vantivemedia.com/brandingtechnology.php
Bolluyt, J. (2015, July 11) Does apple make new iPhones too often? Cheatsheet.com.Retrieved from http://www.cheatsheet.com/gear-style/does-apple-make-new-iphones-too-often.html/?a=viewall
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