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Customer Brand Analysis

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    Brand Analysis

    For brands to succeed and grow in China’s fickle and relentlessly competitive market, following the conventional wisdom and best practices is simply not enough. Marketing experts, need to constantly innovate to better understand their customers? How should we position and reposition our brands, connect them with our customers, and deliver the brand promise?

    Customer Brand Analysis

    A customer brand analysis is the digital branding work product produced during the customer brand analysis task that informally documents the results of the analysis of the customer organization’s existing brand.(www.opfro.org)

    According to www.opfro.org in customer brand analysis, there are few important factors that needed to be discussed. And these are:

    Logo This includes the content, standard colors (including graytones), default and minimum size, standard font, screen and page placement, and rationale of the brand’s logo.
    §  A well planned logo is very important for a budding company. It’s a small picture that represents the whole of the company. A logo should be able to penetrate the mind of the customers, something that can be tattooed on their minds for them to be easily remembered.

    Trademark This includes the standard font face, colors (including graytones), default and minimum size, screen or page placement, and rationale of the brand’s trademark, sales mark, or tag line.
    §  Trademark could refer to anything that the company would like to be known off.

    Brand Typography This includes the standard font face, colors, default and minimal font size, screen and page placement, and rationale for the brand’s typography.
    Brand Sounds This includes any standard branding sounds (e.g., jingles, recordings of spoken tag lines) and their rationale.
    §  These refer to the commercial ads played in radio or television that is easily remembered by the consumers referring to the brand. Although this is not necessarily for a confectionary company.

    Brand Messages (a.k.a., Brand Associations) This includes brand messages describing:
    The Business Enterprise (e.g., a competent and successful business)
    What the business enterprises does (e.g., it runs the premier online office supply e-marketplace.)
    The User’s Value Proposition (e.g., it empowers its users to easily and safely buy and sell the office supplies over the Web.)

    The customer analysis is the business (re)engineering requirements work product that documents the results of the analysis of the customer organization’s current business enterprise.

    The typical objectives of the customer analysis are to:

    Document the results of the customer analysis task.
    Document the customer organization’s current business.
    Provide a solid foundation on which to make recommendations for improving the customer organization.
    The typical benefits of the customer analysis are:

    Analyzing the customer organization’s current business enterprise provides a solid foundation on which to make recommendations for improving it.
    The Core Beliefs and Values of the business enterprise (e.g., user success, quality products, reliable service, credibility, trust, and dependability)

    Brand Personality (a.k.a., Brand Aura) This includes the:
    Brand Tone and Voice (e.g., serious, businesslike, technical, fun)
    Brand Look and Feel (e.g., clean, complete)
    Brand Metaphors

    Company’s Brand Analysis

    A business vision statement is the business (re)engineering requirements work product that documents the customer organization’s vision of their reengineered business enterprise.

    The typical objectives of a business vision statement are to:

    Document the results of business engineering.
    Document the development organization’s recommendations for reengineering the customer organization.
    The typical benefits of a business vision statement are:

    The business vision statement ensures consensus within the customer organization regarding the future of the business.
    It provides a foundation upon which to develop the application vision statements.
    Initially, the company brand analysis should include the following basic requirements:

    ·  New Business Overview:

    Description of New Business
    Business Drivers
    Challenges
    Opportunities
    Motivation for Reengineering
    ·  New Mission Statement

    ·  New Core Values

    ·  New Business Goals:

    Financial Goals
    (e.g., profitability, return on investment, first mover advantage)
    Market Goals
    (e.g., market presence, market share, digital branding, partners and suppliers)
    Organizational Goals
    (e.g., streamlined, profit and loss centers, staff retention and training)
    Technology Goals
    (e.g., pilot project of new technologies, standardize on technologies)
    User Goals
    (e.g., graphic, web, or wireless user interfaces)
    ·  Success Criteria

    ·  New Business:

    Lines of Business
    Target Market Segments
    Products and Services
    Business Object Model (summary)
    Business Process Model (summary)
    Market Channels
    Organization:
    Organizational Structures:
    Management Structures
    Business Units
    Stakeholders
    Partners
    Suppliers
    Major Initiatives
    Technologies
    Planned Applications
    Competitor Brand Analysis

    A competitor brand analysis is the digital branding work product produced during the competitor brand analysis task that documents the results of the development organization’s analysis of the competitor organizations’ existing brands.

    The typical objectives of a competitor brand analysis are to:

    Document the current brand of the customer organization’s business competitors.
    The typical benefits of a competitor brand analysis are:

    It provides the foundation on which to base the new digital brand.
    It is a source of branding information to either emulate or avoid.
    Furthermore, competitors brand analysis should comprise the following:

    Competitors and their Competing Brands for each competing Brand:

    Competitor Name
    Competitor’s Brand Identity that clearly identifies its business enterprise to both its external and internal stakeholders, which defines:
    Logo- This includes the content, standard colors (including graytones), default and minimum size, standard font, screen and page placement, and rationale of the brand’s logo.
    Trademark This includes the standard font face, colors (including graytones), default and minimum size, screen or page placement, and rationale of the brand’s trademark, salesmark, or tag line.
    Brand Typography- This includes the standard font face, colors, default and minimal font size, screen and page placement, and rationale for the brand’s typography.
    Brand Sounds This includes any standard branding sounds (e.g., jingles, recordings of spoken tag lines) and their rationale.
    Brand Messages (a.k.a., Brand Associations) This includes brand messages describing:
    The Business Enterprise (e.g., a competent and successful business)
    What the business enterprises does (e.g., it runs the premier online office supply e-marketplace.)
    The User’s Value Proposition (e.g., it empowers its users to easily and safely buy and sell the office supplies over the Web.)
    The Core Beliefs and Values of the business enterprise (e.g., user success, quality products, reliable service, credibility, trust, and dependability)
    Brand Personality (a.k.a., Brand Aura) This includes the:
    Brand Tone and Voice (e.g., serious, businesslike, technical, fun)
    Brand Look and Feel (e.g., clean, complete)
    Brand Metaphors
    Brand Comparison:
    Competitor Brand Stengths, Weaknesses, and Differentiators
    Customer Brand Stengths, Weaknesses, and Differentiators
    Customer Brand Opportunities and Risks
    Designing a Brand Identity

    What is a Brand?

    Brand is the promise, the big idea, and the expectations that reside in each customer’s mind about a product, service, or company. People fall in love with brands, trust them, develop strong loyalties to them, buy them, and believe in their superiority. The brand is shorthand. It stands for something.(Willer, 2006)

    Brands are very essential to one’s company, why? Because good brands build companies and ineffective brands undermine success. As products and services become indistinguishable, as competition creates infinite choices, as companies merge into faceless monoliths, differentiation is imperative.

    While being remembered is essential, it is becoming harder every day. A strong brand stands out in a densely crowded marketplace. Translating the brand into action has become an employee mantra. There is substantial evidence that companies whose employees understand and embrace the brand are more successful. What began as corporate culture under the auspices of human resources is fast becoming branding, and the marketing department runs the show.

    Creating a Brand Identity

    While brands speak to the mind and heart, brand identity is tangible and appeals to the senses. Brand identity is the visual and verbal expression of a brand. Identity supports, expresses, communicates, synthesizes, and visualizes the brand. You can see it, touch it, hold it, hear it, and watch it move. It begins with a brand name and a brandmark and evolves into a matrix of tools and communications. Brand identity increases awareness and builds businesses. .(Willer, 2006)

    The need for effective brand identity cuts across public and private sectors, from new companies, to merged organizations, to businesses that need repositioning. The best brand identity systems are memorable, authentic, meaningful, differentiated, sustainable, flexible, and add value. Recognition becomes immediate across cultures and customs.

    Brand awareness and recognition are facilitated by a visual identity that is easy to remember and immediately recognizable. Visual identity triggers perceptions and unlocks associations of the brand. Sight, more than any other sense, provides information about the world. Through repeated exposure, symbols become so recognizable that companies, such as Target, Apple, Nike, and Merrill Lynch, have actually dropped the logotype from their corporate signatures in national advertising. Color becomes a mnemonic device—when you see a brown truck out of the corner of your eye, you know it is a UPS truck.

    Identity designers are in the business of managing perception through the integration of meaning and distinctive visual form. Understanding the sequence of visual perception and cognition provides valuable insight into what will work best.

    Why Invest in Brand Identity

    The best identity programs embody and advance the company’s brand by supporting desired perceptions. Identity expresses itself in every touchpoint of the brand and becomes intrinsic to a company’s culture—a constant reminder of its core values and its heritage. The mark is the pinnacle of a branding pyramid; recognition fuels comfort and loyalty and sets the stage for a sale. A stellar identity demonstrates rather than declares a unique point of view, from the interface of a website to the design of a product to the retail sales experience.

    Reasons to invest in brand identity
    v  Make it easy for the customer to buy
    Compelling brand identity presents any company, any size, anywhere with an immediately recognizable, distinctive, professional image that positions it for success. An identity helps manage the perception of a company and differentiates it from its competitors. A smart system conveys respect for the customer and makes it easy to understand features and benefits. A new product design or a better environment can delight a customer and create loyalty. An effective identity encompasses such elements as a name that is easy to remember or a distinctive package design for a product.

    v  Make it easy for the sales force to sell
    Whether it is the CEO of a global conglomerate communicating a new vision to the board, a first-time entrepreneur pitching to venture capital firms, a financial advisor creating a need for investment products, everyone is selling. Nonprofits, whether fundraising or soliciting new volunteers, are continually selling. Strategic brand identity works across diverse audiences and cultures to build an awareness and understanding of a company and its strengths. By making intelligence visible, effective identity seeks to clearly communicate a company’s unique value proposition. The coherence of communications across various media sends a strong signal to the customer about the laserlike focus of a company.

    Make it easy to build brand equity
    v  The goal of all public companies is to increase shareholder value. A brand, or a company’s reputation, is considered to be one of the most valuable company assets. Small companies and nonprofits also need to build brand equity. Their future success is dependent on building public awareness, preserving their reputations, and upholding their value. A strong brand identity will help build brand equity through increased recognition, awareness, and customer loyalty, which in turn helps make a company more successful. Managers who seize every opportunity to communicate their company’s brand value and what the brand stands for sleep better at night. They are building a precious asset.

    In Brand Leadership by David A.Aaker and Erich Joachimsthaler, Their basic premise is that “strong brands command a price premium.” A cup of Starbucks coffee is a case in point Aaker has also done research suggesting that “firms experiencing the largest gains in brand equity saw their stock return average 30%; conversely, those firms with the largest losses in brand equity saw stock return average a negative 10%.” Thus, there’s a need to invest in brand equity because later on the money you have invested will be returned double or even triple!

    Brand Value Proposition

    Customers perceive the value of a solution based on the relevance and applicability of the solution to them – the benefits that it creates, articulated in monetary gains or cost saving, time efficiency or what they wouldn’t be able to do otherwise. (Fisk, 2006)

    Consider a chocolate confectionary from Europe that would penetrate the china market:

    ·         Absolute benefits to the customer include an imported and world class type of confectionary coming from Europe will offer delectable chocolates for Chinese markets.

    ·         Comparative benefits recognize that the customer actually has a choice, and better alternative options from the one consumed by the market years ago.

    ·         Pricing should then reflect the marginal superior benefits attainable, but also recognize that ‘value for money’ requires a price that is more than justifiable for the additional benefits.

    Customer value propositions articulate the value the business offers to a specific group of target customers, by understanding them better, and the competition, and focusing on what matters to them – their situation, issues and opportunities, needs and wants. If you can really solve a problem, the customer will care less about what it takes, and how much.

    Products describe features (which may help solve the issue) As examples:
    Propositions describe benefits (derived from solving key issues) As examples:
    ’24 hour home maintenance’
    ‘Piece of mind at home’
    ‘Wireless e-mails on your phone’
    ‘Stay in touch anywhere’
    ‘New running shoes’
    ‘Achieve a personal best time’
    While it is tempting to jump to a slogan, a value proposition should be built up internally through structured analysis. There are 6 steps:

    1.      Who is the target audience – who are they, defined by name or segment, and why they are interested? What are their needs and wants, issues and aspirations?

    2.      What kind of solution do they seek – the simple type of solution, e.g. a more refreshing drink, a more convenient IT solution?

    3.      Why should they choose this solution – what are the differentiators, how is it better or different from others, what are the few unique benefits being offered?

    4.      How will this difference be delivered – what are the unique products, services or processes that enable these benefits to be unique and deliverable?

    5.      How much would they pay – e.g. 10% more than market average, as much as market leaders, 5% of incremental revenues?

    6.      What do they not get which others provide – available in fewer stores, limited colour range, doesn’t work on Macs, manual updating?

    The template defines the structure of a value proposition, although it might be rearticulated in simpler and more creative ways externally.

    There may be one proposition for every market, segment, or even every customer in some cases. They can be rapidly tested, customized and continuously evolved. In this respect they are far more flexible and relevant than brands or products.

    Most importantly, the same products and services might be delivered in support of a number of different propositions, but with different roles, benefits and pricing. Similarly, different products and services may be selected to deliver the same proposition, depending on the need and appropriateness.

    A conversation is distinctive in that it is mutual, progressive and desired. This requires communication which is on customers’ rather than the company’s terms, is interactive and two-way, interesting and memorable.

    Customers and data protection agencies are challenging this barrage and leading the drive for ‘permission’-based approaches, on customer terms. Seeking such permission could actually become a positive opportunity to create ‘terms of engagement’.

    Conversations are typically stimulated by a compelling proposition that targets the crucial issues or motivations of the customer. This requires a deep understanding of the customer, perhaps built up over time, and also demands some relevant and new insights to stimulate their thinking and response.

    Creating a Brand Name

    In any business today, the term branding has a very significant role. Brands have an impact on cultures, create lasting memories, reduce mental anxiety, and serve as needed fuel for thriving economies everywhere. A commercial brand is an emotional relationship between the buying market and a marketed product or service—a bond of loyalty, a connection of relevance and earned trust. (Post, 2004)

    A brand is not just a logo, a catchy tagline, or a clever ad. Rather, it is the sum of all a company or offering does through every point of contact with and into its market. From customer service to a Web presence, a brand is what sticks to a buyer’s brain—the mental mark—and it is a crucial factor in the purchasing decision. (Post, 2004)

    Brand can make or break anyone’s company. What the company wants is to be able to put their brand to people’s mouth, and to their minds. A word of mouth is practically the cheapest way of marketing any brand. Creating a brand will definitely be the hardest up front of any organization, and will need a strategic planning for putting up on it.

    There are various brands that have been tattooed on people’s mind such as Coca Cola, Starbucks and Nike. These brands have been established worldwide and didn’t need much advertisement. You would want your brand to be recognized just like that.

    Many great businesses and super-brands started locally, regionally, or in a small niche. In many cases, smaller businesses can actually do a better job of branding with less resources because they can control situations better, move more quickly, and also clearly define, geographically contain, or lifestyle segment their market. Not only is branding not limited to big budgets and big companies. Branding is a huge opportunity and competitive advantage in all commercial sectors that sell products, services, or ideas to humans. (Post, 2004)

    Branding need not be expensive; rather it should have a concise and brief message with a high impact on consumers.

    Creating a Brand Strategy

    According to Miller (2004) positioning is about clearly differentiating the brand from competitors: find the gap, and then fill it. Positioning is a useful way of thinking about branding—so much so that positioning and branding have almost become synonyms of each other. Usually, when people talk about branding, they focus on the points of difference. However, branding is about more than creating a unique position. Brand strategy is more than brand positioning: there are a few fundamentals that need to be addressed before a positioning can be meaningfully achieved.

    Moreover, Miller (2004) explained what a brand strategy is. Many people regard positioning as the heart of branding—but brand strategy is more than creating a credible difference from competitors. A comprehensive strategy for a brand will ensure that consumers have a full understanding of the products or services being offered, and that points of parity with competitors are fully addressed.

    What is brand strategy? Any brand strategy should answer the following four questions:

    1.      Who are our customers?

    2.      What products or services will we offer?

    3.      How will we compete with products or services from competitors?

    4.      What resources and capabilities do we need to deliver these products or services

    Brand Awareness

    One of the powerful ways to maintain an emotional connection with your customers is through advertising to help maintain brand awareness. It’s the price you pay for staying in the game. It’s the expensive alternative to the cheap publicity that launched a lot of famous new brands in the past decade. But it’s still when you run an ad, you are putting out a stimulus in search of a response. . Advertising can help you seal your brand promise, and it can help you remind your customers of it, again and again.

    Identify the Building Blocks of a Business Brand

    Recognize what are the structures of your company in order to assess how you’re going to create brand awareness; here are few things to consider.

    Know where your company is positioned. Ask questions such as:
    • Does your company provide value for money, presents your customers with a great deal?
    • Is your company the best at what it does?
    • What about the quality of the products that you offer, is it of the best quality?
    • Is your company reliable: Is it a stable operation?
    • What are the things that your company values, and strives to pass on to your customers?
    • Purple Cow if any?
    • Is your company great at innovation, at customer service or at any particular areas?

    Identify what are your customers really like

    Distinguish your market. You should be able to invest in research in development as well. You just can’t penetrate your targeted market if you have no clue of what are their buying behaviors and what they really like in a certain product. Giving them what they want and need will somehow result to a better profit as well. In a Chinese market, China is not one single market, but is rather a number of provinces with different rules and regulations. For this reason, it is often difficult to establish national brands in many categories. The key to building brands in China is focus. Start small and build on success. The market is complex, so “don’t bite off more than you can chew.” Many marketers have failed in China because they have spread their resources too thin trying to accomplish too much too quickly. Marketers must continue to learn, learn, and learn more about the consumers in China. Understanding to whom you are selling is no different than in any other market, but it is made more complicated in China because of the geographic size and diversity of the country. Also, because the industry is developing, access to accurate and insightful information can be difficult. Innovation in research is key to understanding Chinese consumers.

    A market research will definitely point you in a direction what the customers are looking for in a particular product, in a form of survey or other method asking for the customers will have a benefit on your part because it is coming directly from your consumers and you will have a clue where to improve and focus.

    Having a clear, focused idea (business and creative) of what your brand will stand for and then executing that idea throughout the entire brand experience is key to success. Execution is everything. Marketing solutions are delivered on a path from “thought to reality.” Grand ideas (thought) are worthless if you don’t have the means to execute communication programs throughout the brand experience (advertising, retail, packaging, events, public relations, etc.) down to the last deal (reality). Therefore, keeping ideas and consequent programs simple and ensuring that they are well executed to a high standard are key to the impression your brand will leave on people. (Aspatore Book Staff, 2005)

    Because brands and advertising in China are still a relatively new concept compared with other more developed economies, there are a number of dynamics that have an impact on how advertising works. First, most categories are not as cluttered with brands as they are in more developed markets. Brands tend to be more mass market; as a consequence, brand owners try to build volume where it exists and there are nowhere near the levels of niche brands. As a result, awareness is extremely important to get brand names to the top of mind. This is particularly important for foreign brands that may be new to the market. With all that being said, China is not developing with normal product category lifecycles that have allowed consumers to be educated slowly over time as to the benefits of products in a category. (Aspatore Book Staff, 2005)

    Theoretically, advertising in China works exactly the same as it does in any market. It all about understands the people you are selling to and what will connect them with your brand—bringing that connection (benefit) to life through an advertising idea that will deeply resonate with those people in their lives. Inspire and excite them through communication that brings that idea to life and remain consistent to that idea through all facets of the brand experience. The dynamics of the market in China are different as outlined above, but the principles remain the same. The key to success understands the dynamics in a way that allows you to apply the principles.

    The basics of advertising in China start with understanding Chinese people (“consumers” being those people you want to sell to) and identifying their core motivations for using products in your category. Why do they use your category? How do they use your category? On what do they make a brand choice? This should give insight into their lives as it relates to your category. You must understand how your brand is going to connect with those consumers on a functional level, but also on an emotional level. Many people make the mistake of believing that because marketing is developing in terms of brands, people are therefore more rational or functional in how they choose brands. In fact, research has shown the opposite. Because consumers do not hold a legacy with brands in the market, they are more willing to accept product claims at face value, and it is an emotional connection that stimulates trial. (Aspatore Book Staff, 2005)

    After articulating the platform that will connect consumers with your brand, it is key to build from that platform a creative idea that will bring the connection to life in a way that will truly resonate with Chinese consumers. That idea must then be communicated through advertising in a way that is fresh, engaging, and believable, such that it inspires trial in the immediate while building the reputation for the long haul. At the same time, it is key that the idea is consistently extended to all facets of the brand experience. (Aspatore Book Staff, 2005)

    According to Aspatore Book Staff (2005) China is still developing in terms of brands both domestic and foreign, it is not an excuse to lazily believe that Chinese consumers will not notice the difference. All categories in China will become significantly more crowded over the coming years, and those that have taken the expedient route to short-term sales without consideration for establishing the brand values and reputation over the long term will find themselves lost in the clutter of commodity. By this time, the relative cost of building those values into your brand will cost tenfold. It will never be cheaper to build a brand in China than it is now.

    Over the years that we have operated in China, we have conducted a significant amount of research into the types of advertising that works best among a Chinese audience. The results have debunked most of the commonly held myths that marketers hold about advertising to the Chinese.

    In short, we know what works: (Aspatore Book Staff, 2005)

    ·         Show, don’t tell. Brand rewards or benefits need to be highly visible through demonstration, dramatization, lifestyle, feelings, analogy, metaphor, and so on

    ·         Link brand to the action. The brand needs to be the major player in the experience, and the link between the brand and execution is clear (the scenario revolves around and highlights the brand).

    ·         Be single-minded. The execution needs a focus. A “laundry list” of product benefits results in sensory overload, resulting in no clear message being taken away.

    ·         Find emotional connections. Feelings need to be anchored to the needs and aspirations of the target consumer.

    ·         Strive for striking imagery. Striking, dramatic imagery is characteristic of many successful executions, enhancing their ability to break out of the clutter.

    ·         Have a unique personality. An original, creative signature or mystique exists in many of the best commercials to bond the consumer to the brand and give it a unique personality.

    ·         Be innovative. The best creative ideas for mature brands often use fresh new ways of revitalizing the message.

    ·         Make people laugh. When humor is used, it is relevant with a clear product purpose and it is not self-deprecating.

    ·         Wisely consider celebrities. When celebrities are used, they are well matched to the brands and have credibility as users, and their delivery is believably enthusiastic.

    ·         Be careful with exaggeration. Exaggeration, like humor, must be clever and used to stress a point, not cheat.

    ·         Search for the big idea. Drama, big idea, story. (It doesn’t mean a beginning, middle, or an end is needed.)

    Brand Implementation

    Brand Positioning

    Proper positioning in the marketplace is very essential to your company. To position the brand, you need to define the company’s strengths and weaknesses. You need to know your target market inside and out and you must be able to translate the company’s attributes into consumer benefits. You then need to combine all this with the brand’s personality or story.

    The target definition of the positioning statement must have more than just a demographic definition. To have a successful brand position, you must help define the need state of the target market. It is from this need state that, we hope, the brand will deliver its benefit.

    The second aspect of the brand positioning statement is the frame of reference. Defining the competitive frame of reference may sound pretty basic, but it does require some careful thought. For example, marketing for a confectionary, to be more specific a confectionary we are referring to is chocolate and coming directly from Europe. Each competitive frame of reference will then have an impact on the subsequent benefit of the brand.

    The third part of the brand positioning statement is the consumer benefit statement. What is the intended customers’ “take-away”? You are selling the brand of confectionary with a high quality imported from Europe. The secret to the brand benefit is to be as precise as possible to enable your consumers really understand your brand.

    The final aspect of the brand positioning statement is the brand personality. Within the framework of a positioning statement, it is important to sum up the characteristics that make the brand unique. For the positioning statement, you can expand the brand personality to include brand character or brand equity elements. For example, the brand personality of my chocolate confectionary is “high quality”. Expanding this definition is appropriate if you have an entrenched brand that is well defined.

    Brand Distribution

    There are various ways of distributing your brand. Here are some useful ways to do so according to Paley (2000)

    Exclusive
    If you sell a prestige product, you are likely to grant exclusive rights covering a geographic area to a specific wholesaler or retailer, protecting this firm against territorial encroachments by other companies carrying your products. This policy severely limits the number of middlemen handling your products and should be adopted only if you want to exercise substantial control over your intermediaries’ prices, promotion, presentation, and service. It results in a stronger commitment on the part of your dealers and, thus, in a more aggressive selling effort.

    Intensive
    Intensive distribution is the direct opposite of exclusivity. Popular among producers of convenience items, this policy aims to make these goods available in as many outlets as possible. As the category y name suggests, buyers of such products expect them to be conveniently accessible and will not expend much shopping effort.

    Selective
    Between the extremes of exclusive and intensive distribution falls selective distribution. This policy involves setting up selection criteria and deliberately restricting the number of retailers that will be permitted to handle your brand. More than one, but less than all applicants in an area will be selected. This approach implies quality without the restrictions of exclusivity.

    Selective distribution is far less costly than intensive distribution and affords greater control. In particular, it is suitable for such retail goods as name-brand clothes, which fall into the semi durables category (in contrast to the expensive durable specialty goods that are best handled through exclusive distribution).

    Brand Development

    According to Barrow (2005) a strong degree of consistency and continuity are imperative for maintaining the integrity and credibility of a brand, brands can never afford to stand still. People’s needs, aspirations and tastes change over time. Competing brands will forever be striving to offer new and better alternatives. Against this evolving background brand managers constantly need to refresh the way in which the brand is communicated and delivered. Products and services need to be constantly improved and upgraded. Brand communication requires constant creative attention to find new ways of dramatizing brand messages. Brand managers also need to explore new avenues for stretching and growing the brand by extending the product range, targeting new audiences or taking the brand into new geographical territory. Brands are either growing or dying. There is no middle ground.

    Maintaining a momentum is one of the most difficult issues facing internal brand programmes. Why? Because there’s too much focus on the launch, getting the message across, making an impact. Thus, maintenance becomes a hindrance; it should be well carefully planned and executed as well.

    Brand management has been successfully applied to building brand reputation and winning the commitment and loyalty of customers for over 70 years. As many companies are beginning to realize, the ‘joined-up’ discipline of brand management can equally be applied to attracting, retaining and engaging your most valued employees (from your top ‘strategic’ talent to your frontline ‘brand ambassadors’).

    Brand Extension

    Brand extension can help and liven up any product. It helps in maintaining the brands image and its success in a long run. A brand that has established itself in one business area may extend into others, launching new products or services under the same brand. Brand extensions can create value for a business in a number of ways: by accessing new sources of revenue, by revitalizing a brand in the eyes of the consumer, or by helping a business to respond to a significant change in the market.

    Established brands face a particular challenge. If the brand isn’t kept up-to-date and fresh, it risks losing its relevance and appeal. On the other hand, if the brand isn’t consistent—if it moves too far, too fast—it risks undermining the bonds it has with existing consumers. Striking the balance between change and consistency is an ongoing issue for established brands—and launching brand extensions is one method of addressing this. (Miller, 2004)

    Situation Analysis (5000)

    1. Assessment of the current confectionery industry in China in relations to brand

    Going by both the qualitative and quantitative research performed, there are several insights that can be gained and applied to developing a branding strategy for the confectionery market in China. In this section, I will draw upon the information gathered from the branding strategies carried out by the two successful brands studied taking into consideration our understanding of the China market environment and using various tools to propose an overall branding plan for a hypothetical confectionery company, ABC Confectionery, intending to expand into China.

    Some of the assumptions on the characteristics of ABC Confectionery Company include the following:

    ABC Confectionery is a multinational company with operations in many locations globally.
    It originated from a European country and has existing brands with a rich and proud history.
    The Company manufactures and distributes only high quality chocolate products.
    With these assumptions, I now attempt to develop an effective branding strategy for ABC Confectionery, targeted at winning the Chinese confectionery market.

    Creating an overall branding plan

    I will be applying Aaker’s proposed process or structure (Aaker, ___) to help me create an overall branding plan and strategy. According to Aaker, in order to create an effective brand in China, we need to consider the following:

    A.    Brand Analysis

    B.     Creating a Brand Identity

    C.     Determining the brand value proposition

    D.    Building customer brand awareness and relationship

    E.     Brand Implementation

    We will be discussing each of these in detail in the following sections.

    A. Brand Analysis

    A brand analysis allows us to first understand the environment and market in which the confectionery company intends to operate in. Having this insight will provide brand managers to design and implement a brand which consumers want. This information feeds the subsequent development of brand identity, brand value proposition, building customer brand awareness and relationships, thus reducing the risk of brand/business failure.

    A comprehensive brand analysis would have to consider:

    i.  The Customer

    Similar to any marketing plan, a brand analysis needs to be build from the knowledge of the target customer. This includes an understanding of not only the customer characteristics but also the economic, political, social and technological environment of the customer.

    A product that adapts to the preferences of the Chinese consumer is only part of the equation. The success of western snack foods also relies on strategic positioning in the Chinese market. The global appeal of explicitly American brands (e.g., Levi’s, Marlboro, and Coca-Cola) suggests that while Chinese consumers may reject the unfamiliar flavors of western snack foods, they are likely to respond favorably to a product that appeals to their aspirational desires. Although an all-American appeal may have easily opened doors a decade ago when western products were new and readily accepted, today’s Chinese market is more competitive, consisting of several major players with more discerning consumers. According to a 2001 Access Asia market report, “Basically, foreign goods can no longer rely on exoticism in order to attract sales, but now have to compete with domestic products on key elements of quality, packaging, price, renown and service.” When simply being western is no longer a compelling proposition, marketers must develop insights based on marketing research to create new strategies. To fully understand how snack foods companies should position their products in China, we need to gain a better understanding of the immediate customer.(Dayal-Gulati & Lee, 2004)

    A brand helps the Company to target its audience. As such, before we develop a branding plan, it is probably worthwhile for us to identify the target market for confectionery products. The first step is to bring together our analysis to identify the target market for confectionery products, understand the preferences of the Chinese consumer, leverage on the knowledge of the historical legacies facing this newly developed market and thus determining the motivation of purchase to determine our branding approach.

    Confectionery plays an important role in China’s packaged food industry. On formal and festive occasions, sugar confectionery and standard boxed assortments have showed strong growth especially in cities. Tablets and countlines tend to appeal mostly to female consumers while gum is most favoured by male consumers as chewing is thought to add to a cool image. While urban children are switching to chewing gums, children in rural areas tend to still be fond of bubble gums, which have a much lower retail price. The continued demand justifies the stable growth for confectionery in China, in addition to growing disposable income levels backed up by vigorous economic growth. Total confectionery sales in China amounted to almost RMB41 billion in 2005, representing growth of over 6% in current value terms over the previous year. (Euromonitor International estimate, 2006)

    Moreover according to Bowles (1998) given the country’s vast size, some food industry analysts have tended to believe that the development of food brands in China, especially national-level brands, could take many years. Only brands of high-priced “status” goods, such as cars, stereos, and clothing, were believed to have attained widespread recognition among China’s consumers. But according to a recent survey, a national market for brand-name food products has already begun to emerge in China, and the regional variations in market share of brand names appear to be much smaller than previous research suggests.

    China is expected to be the biggest emerging market of this century. Having just emerged from its dark cultural ages, the new generation of Chinese seeks to improve their lives and aspire for the greater comforts of life. Population statistics have shown that the 3 quarters of 1.3 billion of the population makes up the middle class and rich Chinese who have both the desire and ability to purchase. Middle class group is as defined earlier, refers to the group of Chinese which have disposal income over and above what is required to purchase basic necessities. According to research, China’s middle class and rich Chinese has an average disposal income exceeding 73.5%. ABC Confectionery should be targeting these segments of the population as these will be consumers who have both the ability and the desire to purchase its products.

    Bernd Schmitt, a China marketing expert at Columbia University and the China-Europe International Business School, has stated that until recently, “understanding of the Chinese consumer market has been severely limited due to the lack of reliable data regarding consumer perceptions and consumption patterns. As a result, little is known about Chinese consumer behavior and how to segment the market.” Because of the lack of knowledge about consumers, demographic segmentation is currently used by a vast majority of consumer good marketers, including those marketing western snack foods.

    In many markets, companies segment the market by age to reach people who have common needs that are driven by their stage of life. In China, historical factors unique to the country offer even more compelling reasons to segment the market based on age. People across different age groups do not differ just in terms of their life stage but also in terms of their political beliefs and experiences. The rapid rate of change for China’s political and social influences has a profound effect on consumers segmented based on age and other demographics. .(Dayal-Gulati & Lee, 2004)

    Population demographics are an important consideration in the branding as the brand needs to appeal and be relevant to the target market. As ABC Confectionery currently has existing brands, the company will have to consider the alignment between the personality of its existing brands and the organisation of the company to the customer and market characteristics. Further discussion on this alignment will be discussed in the next section.  The location of the identified middle class and high income population resides mainly in 3 major cities in China, namely, Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou. It is therefore worthwhile for ABC Confectionery to consider establishing its brand in these key locations to target this particular group.

    Many analysts of the Chinese consumer market emphasize its fragmented, regional nature. Interestingly, the Seymour-Cooke survey revealed that while there is considerable regional variation in product prices, the variations tend to be random–there is as much price variation within a particular city as between regions. For example, despite the large number of expatriates in Beijing and the perceived affluence of Shanghai residents, prices for brand-name food products are not significantly higher in these two cities than in the other four cities surveyed. And, though some of the retail centers surveyed are closer to the production plants of certain goods–meaning lower transportation costs for the product–these cost savings do not appear to translate into lower retail prices for any given brand. (Bowles, 1998)

    Despite the explosive economic growth experienced by the Chinese, the historical legacy and insecurity experienced by the emerging middle class Chinese, are driving them to protect and project their wealth in the most expressive and explicit ways. Branding is therefore seen to be the key to winning the China market.

    Branding in China is not a new concept. China is composed of several provinces with different rules and regulations, thus is not considered as a single market. As such, it is difficult to establish national brands in many categories. Focus is the key essential in building brands in China. Start small and build on success. The Chinese market is considered to be complex. Many marketers have failed in China because they have spread their resources too thin trying to accomplish too much too quickly. Thus, marketers must have an in depth study about the consumers in China. It is made more complicated in China because of the geographic size and diversity of the country. Also, because the industry is developing, access to accurate and insightful information can be difficult. Innovation in research is key to understanding Chinese consumers.

    Having a clear, focused idea (business and creative) of what your brand will stand for and then executing that idea throughout the entire brand experience is key to success. Execution is everything. Marketing solutions are delivered on a path from “thought to reality.” Grand ideas (thought) are worthless if you don’t have the means to execute communication programs throughout the brand experience (advertising, retail, packaging, events, public relations, etc.) down to the last deal (reality). Therefore, keeping ideas and consequent programs simple and ensuring that they are well executed to a high standard are key to the impression your brand will leave on people.

    ii. Competitor Analysis

    In most of the world’s emerging markets, domestic brands and international brands, whether imported or produced locally, compete vigorously for market share. International food brands sold in China–brands that are owned and produced by non-PRC companies–include many Western household names, such as Cadbury (Cadbury Schweppes P.L.C.), Nescafe (Nestle S.A.), Kellogg’s (Kellogg Co.), Keebler (United Biscuits UK Ltd.), and Wrigley’s (Wm. Wrigley, Jr. Co.); as well as well-known Asian brands Lotte (chewing gum), Khong Yuan (biscuits), Nissin (biscuits), and Lam Soon and Hop Hing (cooking oil). .(Bowles, 1998)

    According to Chinese saying, to win in battle one needs to not only understand one’s strength and ability but also that of the enemy. Apart from understanding the customer, ABC Confectionery needs also to understand its major competitors in China.

    The Chinese chocolate market is a fairly young and under-developed market. The current players in the market include:

    Cadbury (China) Food Company

    Since its development of a greenfield site 15 kilometers outside Beijing, China, in 1995, Cadbury has racked up many successes in the market. The venture, a partnership between Cadbury Schweppes Australia and Beijing General Corporation for Agriculture, Industry and Commerce, was an investment of $A42 million.

    Currently the factory manufactures block chocolate, the Cadbury-branded Eclairs, drinking chocolate, products for the children’s market, gift boxes and tins, as well as industrial chocolate. These items are sold in the Hong Kong market, and, says Marketing Manager Tony Lee, “Further expansion is planned in the future.”

    Cadbury’s goal for the factory is to ultimately turnover control of its operation to the Chinese. From the first batch of chocolate that was produced, the factory, built to Western specifications, was under Chinese supervision.

    According to Dr. Barry Kitchen, regional director, China, at Cadbury Schweppes Pty Ltd in Melbourne, Australia, the company’s commitment to China is for the long-term, as demonstrated by its use of local sources for quality ingredients.

    The company has gone so far as to bring experts to the Chinese market to work with local suppliers to improve the quality of raw materials with the goal of ensuring the quality of the product produced in the Chinese factory is of the same level of quality as at the company’s other factories worldwide. (An Excerpt from CANDY INDUSTRY MAGAZINE, 1998)

    Mars Inc

    U.S. candy and snacks group Hershey Co. and South Korea’s Lotte Confectionery Co. will set up an $80 million joint venture to make chocolate in China, aiming to boost share in a market dominated by Mars Inc.

    China’s chocolate market, which Lotte estimates at about $600 million and sees doubling annually in tandem with economic growth, is 50 percent controlled by Mars. (China Daily, 2007)

    Nestle

    NESTLE is the world’s largest manufacturer of soluble coffee, chocolate and confectionery, powdered and condensed milks, infant nutrition, mineral waters, bouillons and seasonings, as well as petcare. The NESTLE Group is also involved in non-food-related products, including ophthalmic products (Alcon) and a minority participation in the L’Oreal cosmetics group. NESTLE operates 487 factories worldwide and employs 253,000 people.( http://www1.zhaopin.com/Publish/Company/Nestle/index.jsp)

    NESTLE established its first trading office in Shanghai as early as 1908. In order to better serve the entire China area, Nestle opened its Corporate Head Office in Beijing in 1996. To date, NESTLE in Greater China Region has made an investment of some RMB 7 billion and operates 21 world-class factories. 99% of Nestle products sold in Mainland China are locally manufactured. NESTLE in Greater China Region employs more than 12,000 people, and total sales reached RMB 11.2 billion in 2005. (http://www1.zhaopin.com/Publish/Company/Nestle/index.jsp)

    iii. Self Analysis

    In performing a self analysis, ABC Confectionery needs to identify it product and organisational strengths and weaknesses. In the case of ABC Confectionery, its key strengths lies on the fact that the Company has a few key quality products and both the Company and products have a long, proud history in the Confectionery industry worldwide. These strengths can position the Company in a positive and favourable light with the Chinese consumers.

    However, the company should also realise that there are incumbent competitors already in the China market. Its competitors (eg, Mars) have already built strong market shares and the company will need a compelling value proposition to offer the consumers before market share can be wrestled from competitors.

    Looking at the above analysis, we can apply The Ansoff’s Matrix. According to the Ansoff matrix, ABC Confectionery should be working towards a market penetration strategy since both the market and products currently exists for chocolates in China. This will be further discussed in the section of Brand Implementation.

    B. Creating a Brand Identity

    Brand identity refers to the distinctive identity has a brand has. In creating a brand identity, ABC Confectionery needs to understand and view its brands in four perspectives:

    ·         Brand as a product

    ·         Brand as a personality

    ·         Brand as an organisation

    ·         Brand as a symbol

    Viewing the brand that ABC Confectionery intends to take into China from this four perspective would allow the company to develop and design a holistic brand identity that fits not only the product the company is trying to sell but also the personality of the product, its organisation and what it symbolises to the consumer. As such, the brand identity can thus be applied to ensure consistency and alignment of ABC Confectionery’s business, operational and human resource strategies.

    i.        Brand as a product

    For ABC Confectionery to view its brand as a product, it needs to consider the quality, packaging, support, portfolio, availability and warranty of the product.  ABC Confectionery would not need to be too concern about quality of product since it currently already sells high quality chocolate products in its other market. However, maintaining quality will be an area of concern when ABC Confectionery decides to manufacture the chocolates in China. As previously highlighted, while heavy technological investments can be pumped into its China operations in an attempt to maintain quality of products, ABC Confectionery would face issues such as human resource capabilities to run the machines in an effective and efficient manner to ensure its quality. In order to maintain the high standard, raw materials such as cocoa beans and milk will have to be imported or will use the same product to ensure quality of the end manufactured goods.

    It is also important for the company to be able to understand the nature of the product they are selling to determine customer behaviour towards the product. The Chinese believe in the balance of life or the balance of yin and yang. In this respect, chocolate products are considered by the Chinese to be a “heaty” or yang product and thus should not be consumed excessively as it might cause an imbalance between the yin and yang of one’s health. Understanding the cultural belief regarding the product would help the brand manager to better plan and position the branding of the product and its value proposition.

    ii.            Brand as a personality

    Creation of a brand personality personifies the brand and allows the brand to build a relationship with its consumers and customers. Drawing from the brand analysis, ABC Confectionery can determine preferences of the Chinese market as it was considered to be a complex market, because of its cultural diversities.

    Customer analysis insights will allow the company to assess and select the personality that relates best with their targeted customers, the middle and high income earners. As can be seen from our earlier analysis of the Chinese buying motivation, status, aspiration and protection are key drivers of purchase and consumption. As such, ABC Confectionery needs to achieve a personality which embodies these characteristics while at the same time maintain reality, credibility with its consumers.  For example, the Company can position its products as a high quality, health enhancing, imported product with a wealth of history and tradition, a product which has been highly sought after by the affluent.

    The personality of the brand should not only create a fit between the company’s strengths and customers’ needs, it should also be a factor which differentiates it from its competitors.  Different brands have different personalities and where personalities differ, consumers tend to build loyalty with brands which they can personally relate to. Therefore ABC Confectionery should carefully think through their brand personality and determine how their personality is going to differ from that of Mar’s “Dove – as smooth as silk”.

    iii. Brand as an organisation

    The identity of a brand is also reflected in the way the company is organised. It is important that consistent goals and values are upheld in all parts of the organisation from the marketing to sales and finance.  For ABC Confectionery, all departments in the organisation have to strive to achieve its value proposition to the consumer. ABC Confectionary is already an established company, and considered to be one of multi companies in Europe, and been operating for years. Aside from that various established locations could have an impact with consumers knowing that it is already well known in other countries, that could be correlated to brand awareness and at the same time would have a positive impact on the organization as well.

    Aside from the organization, people are also concerned on how the company operates and inside and out. Meaning, inside the company’s environment could have an impact on how consumers will be able to perceive it. Thus, the image of the product and the company as a whole would have a great influence.

    As a part of globalization, the introduction of foreign brands particularly those that have been marketed internationally and gained world-wide recognition. Using foreign brands is often perceived as a symbol of market presence and penetration. However, promoting foreign brands in order to increase awareness and build a quality image will be a long-term engagement, resembling similar patterns of development as in the home country and entailing a strong financial commitment. The general perception by consumers in China that a foreign branded or a joint venture product is a synonym for good quality has encouraged many foreign companies entering into joint ventures in China to use their own brands. Chinese partners also welcome foreign brands in the conventional belief that a foreign brand will increase the marketability of the products. (Reuvid & Yong, 2005)

    Although some foreign manufacturers have been successful in using their own brands in China, others have experienced difficulties in keeping the quality image of the products and services that their brands represent. Factors associated with the brand image need to be considered and evaluated before a decision can be made to use your own brand.

    iv. Brand as a symbol

    The name of a brand is that part of the brand that can be articulated and represented in letters, words, numbers and sometimes even symbols. It is a distinctive feature that not only identifies the product, it intrinsically guarantees a specific level of quality, allows for self expression and allows targeted customers to easily identify and remembered positively.

    ABC Confectionery would do well to think creatively about the name of the product. According to George Eastman founder of Eastman Kodak in 1888, a brand name should be “short, vigorous, incapable of being misspelled…and in order to satisfy trademark laws it must mean nothing”. Since then, other additional criteria have been included. Other criteria includes “unique to the brand, consistent to the desired brand definition, must sit within the existing brand architecture, capable of international usage without causing embarrassment of cultural offence, capable of grabbing attention, capable of being protected and liked by the target audience” (Cheverton, 2006)

    In the case of ABC Confectionery which currently has a well established European brand, the challenge for the company is to establish its symbol in the Chinese market. In doing so, company’s brand name and symbol should have a consistency so that there wouldn’t be confusion from the consumers. Even though there would be language translations, brand symbol are enough to carry the product.

    C. Determining and realising the brand value proposition

    Figure 3 : Value Proposition Diagram

    A brand holds value for the consumer when it fulfils at least one of the following, functional purpose, emotional purpose or self-expressive purposes. In the case of ABC Confectionery, the target audience was already identified and was already discussed from previous sub headings. Here, various benefits of chocolates will be discussed as well. Functional purpose of chocolate can be positioned as not only provides luxury quality chocolate but also a product which gives satisfaction to well being of consumers. On the emotional aspect, chocolates can be positioned as an indulgence product, to be enjoyed by one who earned it. This not only provides a sense of fulfilment, enjoyment and achievement. In addition, some chocolate products such as dark chocolates can be positioned as a healthy alternative that gives us natural anti-oxidants to promote well being of consumers.

    There are several benefits of chocolates and thus can be correlated with emotions and its purpose as well. Given luxury of the product, the price, the positive benefits associated with the consumption of the will enable the target audience to buy it. This would particularly appeal to the middle and high income earners in China who seeks for status and achievement recognition, especially when the product is either presented to others as gifts or publicly consumed. The status associated with the brand would also serve to express the aspiration of this group to seek and enjoy a higher quality of life. This would definitely appeal to the growing number of more affluent parents who strives to give the best to their families. While a product may present several value propositions to the consumer, in order for the brand value to be realised and delivered to the consumers/customers, ABC Confectionery needs to ensure that the value drivers are appropriately identified and monitored towards achieving the brand objective.

    Applying Treacy’s and Wiersema’s three value drivers model, for a successful business, at least one of the drivers needs to stand out, distinguishing the business from its competitors. We will now assess the each of these drivers and consider the possibility of each of these drivers for a confectionery company.

    i. Operational excellence

    Operational excellence in the context of a confectionery company would mainly be in the areas of marketing, production, logistics and channel management. These functions form the core of the confectionery operations and where activities would add value to the customer. Factors supporting the development of operational excellence in China include the fact that there is high level of technology transfer incentives by the government which further serves to increase the inflow of technology investments in China, hence improving its ability to excel in its operations. Aside from the technology advancement, cheap labor dominates China, but you can still count on the product’s quality to be of high standard.

    However, any company choosing to focus efforts in this area needs to consider the following:

    a. Lack of adequate consumer/customer information.

    Successful marketing and channel management requires relevant and reliable customer and consumer information which in the case of China is not easily available. As discussed, China is a country to have a diverse culture, thus market is composed of various personalities and can’t be determined easily.

    b. Poor infrastructure

    Despite heavy investments in the transportation and logistic infrastructure of in the country, China is still struggling to develop infrastructure especially in the less developed parts of the country where the vast pools of cheap labour are concentrated.  Confectionery productions can leverage on the lower cost labour in those locations but may face issues on transportation and logistics of those productions to the market, which are usually in the major cities. Specialized refrigeration required confectionery production are not easily available, making the transportation of such products difficult if and costly at the same time.

    c. Lack of technical capabilities

    Although there may be a large pool of lower cost labour available in the country, the technical capabilities of the labour force leaves much to be desired. According to research by Beijing Review (2002), China is currently experiencing a structural unemployment situation. This arises due to the fact that large pools of the rural poor have not been educated to the point of being able to meet the skill requirements of the multinational companies. Without a skilled workforce, it would be an uphill task for any company attempting to achieve operational excellence.

    d. Fake productions

    There are a lot of multi national companies who have chosen China to manufacture their goods because of cheap labour costs. But, there is a considered downside of it, fake productions. According to some reports, some officials stated that supported fake goods production and intellectual property rights infringements behind the scenes. A few officials even joined those unlawful behaviors themselves, which has become the major barrier for eradicating fake goods production and intellectual property infringements. (www.newsgd.com)

    ii. Product leadership

    According to Cooper (2000) product leadership is synonymous to product innovation. Every company should know how to innovate products and develop new ones that will become leaders of their markets. Just as like the saying goes “innovate or die”. In confectionary industry in China there are already big companies who have been emerging in chocolate confectionary market. But this would not hinder ABC Confectionary to introduce new products that would be suitable to Chinese markets. Though, it would be hard for ABC Confectionary to be the leading chocolate confectionary supplier, if we would be on the right track in developing new marketing strategies and innovating ideas, those giant companies such as Cadbury would become one of our tightest competitors.

    iii. Customer intimacy

    The Operating Model of Customer Intimacy (by Thomas Watson)
    Successful customer-intimate companies are those that have become expert at their customers’ business and at creating solutions. But no matter what their formula for combining help in using the product, advice on transforming the underlying processes, and responsibility for achieving results.
    ABC Confectionary should be highly client-driven. It should be proactive, change-oriented, and proud of its superior knowledge of the application of its products. The company should also employ new methods such as investing new practices, new ideas, and new approaches to the application and management of business machines

    Deep customer knowledge and breakthrough insights about the client’s underlying processes are the backbone of every customer-intimate organization today.( Treacy & Wiersema,1999)

    In order to be effective, one must offer more than just service. ABC Confectionary should have a broad product line that is configurable to the specific needs of consumers. Product should also be tailored to a client’s very specific needs is often better than the more advanced, but inflexible, product. Although, the company would not highly invest on leading technologies to be used in making confectionaries, they should practice solid tested products that are tailored to fit clients’ needs.
    Conclusion

    China is composed of diverse consumers and as well as a complex location. Penetration in China market requires a great deal of carefully planned marketing strategy even if the brand has already been established internationally. It is still challenging for any companies to win the Chinese consumers. It should modify the product to conform to local tastes and then positions it strategically to affluent consumers.

    For ABC Confectionary to emerge as one of the competitive chocolate supplier in China, they should introduce new products and continue to innovate to enable them stay competitive with other global chocolate companies that have already been emerging in China.

    ABC Confectionary should create brand loyalty, and innovation is the key to establish the company as one of the leading brands. Branding is very essential in China because of the extent of counterfeiting, thus when the brand has already been established there’s a sense of certainty that the product is of high quality. With a growing middle class, brand loyalty is also likely to increase as consumers use branded goods to convey status and achievement.

    ABC Confectionary should know how to connect with the Chinese Consumer and should try to segment based on attitudes and aspirations. The company that connects with consumers on these higher-order characteristics will create deeper, more meaningful relationships between the consumer and the brand.

    As of today, China’s population has reached to billions, although ABC Confectionary has already a definite targeted consumers, it is well likely to consider establishing its products to undeserved areas in China where there’s a little competition and they could emerged as the leading brand on the particular area. Slowly, after been recognizing and focusing on certain regions, it could hit the mainland China and other provinces as well, thus ABC Confectionary will able to win the complex Chinese consumers through it’s competitive strategies and the global brand.

    References:

    Aspatore Books Staff (2005) China and Hong Kong Inside the Minds: International Advertising: Successful Advertising Techniques from Agencies around the Globe Aspatore Books © 2005

    Barrow, S & Mosley, R. (2005) Chapter 6 – Brand Fundamentals The Employer Brand: Bringing the Best of Brand Management to People at Work John Wiley & Sons

    Bowles, R. (1998) Chinese consumers are increasingly voting with their yuan for the food brands they prefer. Beijing Review

    Fisk, P., (2006) Track 8 – Propositions—Seeing Business through Customers’ Eyes Marketing Genius John Wiley & Sons © 2006

    Kapferer, J. (2001) Chapter 16 – Energize the Value Chain of Your Brand [Re]Inventing the Brand Kogan Page

    Kelley L & Jugenheimer, D., (2006) Chapter 7 – Brand Positioning Advertising Account Planning: A Practical Guide M. E. Sharpe, Inc.

    Miller, J & Muir, D. (2004) Chapter 6 – Strong Brands Can Launch Successful Extensions The Business of Brands John Wiley & Sons

    Paley, N. (2000) Chapter 10 – How to Manage Your Distribution Strategy The Marketing Strategy Desktop Guide Thorogood

    Reuvid and Li Yong (2005) Brand Management and Publicity Doing Business with China, Fifth Edition Global Market Briefings

    Treacy, M & Wiersema, F. (1995) The Discipline of Customer Intimacy The Discipline of Market Leaders: Choose Your Customers, Narrow Your Focus, Dominate Your Market Perseus Publishing

    Internet Sources:

    China Daily, 2007. China Chocolate Beauty. Jan 29, 2007 (http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/)

    http://ezinearticles.com/?expert=Daniel_Toh

    http://www.opfro.org

    http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/200504/28/eng20050428_183070.html

    http://www.adweek.com/aw/magazine/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003526223

    www.newsgd.co

    http://www1.zhaopin.com/Publish/Company/Nestle/index.jsp

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