Marketing is a set of management activities
This report is aimed to briefly yet comprehensively analyse the idea presented by Piercy (2009) that states that marketing is a set of management activities that define value, create value and deliver value for customers. The researcher in this report will explain the following three ideas; existence of brand value, creation of brand value and delivering brand value from the marketers’ perspective. Furthermore, this essay will explain how marketers manage this and will suggest steps that can aid in managing it correctly. The conclusions that the researcher derives from this research report is stringently backed by theoretical evidence. The researcher, after scrutinizing a variety of journals and books, has written this report such that it makes a logically sound study. In addition to this, the report will establish a link with the practical field by quoting an example from the ‘real’ world. The researcher in this report gives example of BMW’s MINI and explains how their marketing department has managed affairs related to brand values and will shed light on the benefits that the company has sought from it.
The essay systemically flows by briefly describing what marketing is in contemporary times and then moves ahead to elucidate the ideas of brand value, its creation and delivery. Ahead of this comes practical example guidance that is followed by a set of recommendations that can help other companies, BMW, marketers and marketing students.
What is marketing?
With increasing customer base, the right kind of marketing is becoming a critical tool for the success of any brand. Financial success often depends on marketing ability. Finance, operations, accounting, and other business functions will not really matter if there isn’t sufficient demand for the products (Kotler and Keller, 2008, p. 4). Today with fiercer competition, the scope of the meaning of right kind of marketing has also widened. Today marketing has become an integral part of our lives. From the smallest pins to the most luxurious of cars, everything is brought to notice using various kinds of marketing activities. So much so, individuals also market themselves on a regular basis e.g., a job interview (Holland and Ehrenreich, 2011, pp. 29-31). In such state of affairs it becomes necessary that you are identifiable. This recognition is mostly dependent on the value that a product is offering to its prospective buyer. In relation to this, Piercy (2009) gave the viewpoint that marketing pertains to a set of managerial activities that delineate value, generate value and distribute value for customers.
Brand value is a combination of concrete and abstract advantages that a brand offers to its consumers. It also includes the benefits that consumers think they can get by using this product (Wood, 2000, p. 14). Inculcation of this belief in consumers is a result of effective marketing techniques practiced by the company. Having an impactful set of brand values is important for healthy survival of the brand as it not only distinguishes it from others, but also give consumers a reason to purchase it (Burgh-Woodman, 2007, pp. 117-19).
Ravald & Gronroos (1996, p. 22) stated that in order for a brand to succeed it is necessary that superior value be delivered to the customers for a product they are investing in. They further added that this value deliverance would also help the brand build long term relationships with the customers. Brand value is inevitable for the success of a brand because today’s finance and quality cautious customer invest only in the products that they find promising or believe will deliver the right kind of value (Botha et al., p. 298, 2008). The idea of brand value carries with itself the concept that focuses on what makes a brand a brand. Elaborating on the personality of the brand and brand values aids in making a distinct mark of the brand. Despite such eminent importance, changes in the dynamics of the contemporary marketing environment has made value creation, its delivery and related managing processes to it, an arduous task (Christopher, 1996, p.98). Understanding the reasons regarding why brand values, its creation, delivery and marketing is so essential for a brand’s shelf life is a query that any marketing student may come across.
Various academic scholars from all over the world have proposed different ways to explain creation and delivery of brand value. Value is often regarded as the central concept in the marketing discipline (Doyle, 2000, pp. 15-21). Five major aspects associated with brand value include; value offer (the entire experience that the company is offering to its customers), deliverance of value, segmentation of value deliverance, an intra-firm value-delivery system; and a value delivery chain (value creation and delivery study at the macro level including all the stakeholders and processes involved (Woodruff, 1997, p.65).
Marketers and Brand Value Creation:
MacInnis and Gustavo (2005, pp. 90-92) conducted a conceptual study and used motivational and appraisal theories in advertising for articulation purposes. In their study, they borrowed the idea of ‘motivational theory of emotions in advertising’ from Rossiter and Percy. They believed that numerous sectors’ economic viabilities can be affected by the intangible consumer sentiments. They perceived that whenever consumers have high hopes associated with a brand, the marketers acquire an edge (Bhat and Reddy, 1998, p.26). In such situations, marketers can favourably add to the brand attitudes by enhancing cues, which may result in further formation of brand value and assure the consumer that a desired outcome will be achieved (Matear et al., 2004, pp. 88-90).
Merz et al. (2009, p.73) presented the idea that when it comes to brand value creation for the customer, brand identity is the element that marketers should cater first and foremost. Thus, the significance of ensuring that the brand’s original identity is not lost or overshadowed is magnified. A clear brand identity in itself helps to add value and to position the brand positively in many ways (Simms and Trott, 2007, p. 128). Another activity that has to be carefully managed is regarding the brand’s core spirit, i.e., the spirit of the brand that was developed during the brand inception and is/was destined to be delivered to the consumer. While marketing brand values, it is imperative that brand spirit is held closely. For example, brand spirit of D’Damas is to elegance and luxury. Therefore, while communicating its brand values and/or marketing the brand, it is important that the product looks elegant and luxurious on screen.
The ideas mentioned above makes the job of marketers more focused. Davis (2009, pp. 164-6) stated that the advantage that can be sought from this focus is a more diligently designed brand strategy, which goes beyond the available options and finally add up to the value that may result in a competitive proposition of value for the company.
Marketers and Delivery of Brand Values:
When a consumer decides to purchase a product, they have to go through a number of steps and sentiments to finally reach a conclusive decision (Wang and Tzeng, 2011, p. 81). Based on this proposition, Wang and Tzeng (2011) devised an approach to deliver brand value using the multiple criteria decision making (MCDM) model. Similar theoretical perspective was presented by Schau et al. (2009, pp. 154-56), their theory, however, was social practice theory, that investigated the numerous steps involved in the pre-purchase stage, which is greatly affected by exogenous factors.
Delivering brand value might appear as the last step in the value cycle, but is indeed the most important and critical one. The significance of delivering brand value is vital as it is the actual evidence that a consumer is getting. Advertisements may promise a variety of benefits or it may claim many advantages, make a brand appear as the most desirable product in its category, but yet fails if the company is unable to deliver it. The only effective way to deliver way to customers is to ‘actually do it’ and to make brands an experience worth remembering. Many scholars believe that the best way to ensure that brand values are transmitted to consumers is to keep all the stakeholders on board.
Aaker (1996, p. 111) in his research presented a ‘brand-as-product’ perspective to explain the importance of delivering brand value. The central focus of this perspective lies in establishing and delivering a brands value proposition. Value proposition usually encapsulates functional benefits essential for all brands and is integral to all customers. This is because if a brand does not generate value, it will be vulnerable to competitors. As a result of following this approach marketers’ focus on value rather than specific functional benefits and a set of measure is created that acts as indictors of brand’s success. The researcher also proposed two ideas via which brand value can be measured. This includes;
Value that a brand delivers to its customer against the money
Reasons that a brand shall be preferred over competitors
One might presume that the job of marketers is limited to communicating the brand value to the target market; however, that is not the case. Delivering brand value might appear as a job that is to be done by producers’, but marketers have equal responsibility. It is for them to ensure that the claims that they have publicised are delivered and if that’s not the case, they should consider working on an alternative strategies.
To maintain the link of the study with the practical world the researcher chooses to select a brand and explain the ideas in light of the modus operandi opted by the manufacturers of that brand to establish a name and repute for their brand. The brand selected, in this case, is BMW’s MINI, a brand that revolutionised consumers’ perceptions regarding driving.
Studying marketing, brand values and its management, leads one to note that the producers of MINI state that when a customer buys MINI, they buy a lot more than just a car. The reason why the producers of MINI are so confident in their product is because they know they are providing value to the customers by effectively handling their sentiments. MINI works on the principle of innovation, not merely in the context of introducing new design or technology, but in spurring a desire in consumers that was non-existent previously.
MINI works as a separate identity to BMW, yet both design products adding value whilst encouraging consumers to realise how much they want this product and how that, beyond any doubt, it can cater to their desires and fulfil their expectations. The producers of MINI provide customers with reasons to be emotional committed to the brand (Schau et al., 2009, p. 4), a sense of brand recognition (Viet Ngo & O’Cass, 2009, p. 78), perceived paybacks, good experience (Chernatony, et al., 2010, p. 375) and credibility and hope that they will not be disappointed in a long term perspective.
The brand has strived hard to attain the status that it is enjoying today and for the retention of this status in the future, they have to provide their customers with a consistent a consistent quality standard whilst also increasing the level of their aspirations (Simms and Trott, 2007, pp. 46-49). Motivation and surprising the customers time to time is also necessary.
In this brief study, the researcher has tried to give maximum evidence regarding the significance of ‘value’ to both brand and customers. During the course of study, the researcher has highlighted information that clearly demonstrated that many companies are facing intricacies in implementing their ideas, with some companies having developed bizarre myths regarding the idea of brand value or that they are practicing the wrong way. Hence, there are some suggestions that the researcher would like to present that can be a help in rightly practicing the idea. These suggestions include:
Consumer research: Taking consumers response from time to time always help a brand to evolve. Companies should often engage themselves in consumer research to understand what consumers actually want and how their wants can be linked with a brand’s image and spirit.
Active customer relationship management: The previous step can help a firm in understanding the value creation; whereas, this can help them in value delivery. Customer relationship management is an ideal value for a firm who wishes to deliver value to its customers. It happens as the CROs show warmth, consideration, attention to customers and answer their queries and problems.
Total quality management: Developing a system of total quality management can create value not only for the brand, but for the entire firm. A philosophy within management sciences stresses on improving the product and service quality until it reaches the levels of perfection (Hawarna and Mohammed, 2011, p. 73). The basic premises of the concept lies in the fact continuous improvement is the best means towards customer satisfaction and company’s success in the long run (Anand et al., 2009, p. 448). Consequently, it makes a firm and almost all the brand under its banner a valuable preference.
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