In these times of increased competition and constantly shrinking budgets, why should a company continuously invest in seeking the most effective marketing strategy that it can develop? The main answer comes from the high profitability that marketing mix tactics brings about. A market-driven strategy allows a company to truly understand its marketing environment and customers, which are the basis of the market (Leventhal, 2005). Through the development of a marketing mix orientation, an organization determines its competitive positioning to match the needs of the customers with company capabilities, this effort enables an organization to get a more effective integration of all elements that may influence customer value, which in turn affects both return on company’s investment and profitability. Meanwhile, the different elements of marketing mix interrelate with each other to deliver satisfaction to the customers and success for the organization.
Take the world famous luxury watch brand Breitling for example, studying about positioning will be focused on marketing mix 4P’s of product, price, place and promotion. This essay first identifies the background and current position of Breitling watches. The second part is the analysis about how various elements of the marketing mix are being used to achieve Breitling’s positioning and relationships between these elements. The last section will summarize the main points and draw a conclusion. The marketing concepts
discussed have been sourced from the course lecture of Marketing Management. Material on Breitling is drawn from the company website (www.Bretling.com).
Since established on 1884, Breitling has been in the leading position of unique-style, durable and multifunctional wristwatches industry for more than a century. The focus of Breitling is based around practicality, functionality and diversity. Its long history of producing watches for aviation industry brings about remarkable brand characteristics. The marketers of Breitling always focus on the function orientation, by designing and adjusting its products to meet the demand of aviation, marine, navigation, driving and other special areas. As the world’s one and only watch brand that each movement comply with the requirements of Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC), Breitling watch is known not just as a timer, but also a precise instrument.
To successful people who pursue for a exquisite lifestyle, watch is considered not only as a timer, but also a sort of precise instrument, or even an artwork. As the most visual element in marketing mix, product is the foundation of the other elements. During the long history of producing luxury watches for various special area, Breitling formed its own brand effect that brings about added value beyond the product benefits. Initial discussion about Breitling watches focus on the brand logo it continuously used. It is designed as a sea anchor with a pair of wings. Obviously, this logo stands for Breitling’s long history of producing watches for aviation and navigation, and the unique status in the particular area of functionality. In the marketing mix strategy, brand is much more than just a name, strong brands deliver value to the customers to affect perceptions and preferences. Logos and packagings can be as identifiable as the brand name as they build a strong relationship between the overall brand and the customers’ trust. The long history of being applied in aviation and navigation brings about added value to the brand. Therefore, Breitling uses the sea anchor and wings not only to show its specialty on functional watches, but also to make customers’ purchase decisions easier by signaling consistent quality, reliability and durability.
A variety of luxury wristwatch brand competitors exist against which Breitling has to compete, like Rolex, Omega, Cartier and Vacheron Constantin, each of which has its own core competitiveness on products. Among these competitors, Rolex’s logo is designed as a golden imperial crown, which is a symbol not only for solemnity, authority and social status, but also for the brand’s unshakable dominance in the luxury watch market. Omega’s logo is the last Greek letter omega, which is shorthand enough for the customers to remember and distinguish. As another luxury wristwatch brand focuses on practicability and precision, Omega’s core competitiveness is related to sports spirit. Sports timekeeping has been a part of the Omega story for more than a century. It has been responsible for the timekeeping of the world’s most prestigious sporting events, including 25 Olympic Games, and is the only watch brand which has a special Olympic Collection. Cartier is the best at combing wristwatch with jewellery, while Vacheron Constantin achieve its brand effect by restricting its outputs. Beginning with this observation on product and brand effect demonstrate how Breitling positions itself differently to the other luxury wristwatch brands.
Moreover, brand assists in segmentation to a large extent. The target market of Breitling is segmented initially on demographics mainly concentrated on age, gender and income, successful males aged from mid to late thirties through to sixties with a sufficient disposable income. Although Breitling also produces watches for female, but they only account for a small proportion (about 10 to 15 per cent). In terms of lifestyle influences, the target market is likely to be mainly successful people who are seeking exploring and exciting lifestyle, interested in outdoor activities or even exploration, and prepared to pay for a price premium for the particular demand. By providing customers with professional watches of high quality in aviation, navigation and other special areas, Breitling satisfies customers’ needs and wants in chasing for practicality, durability and functionality. Due to the unseparated connection with aviation, the most particular target market of Breitling is the private planes owners. By these ways Breitling is able to occupy a less congested space and allows development with continuous launches of new products. Also, following on from the demographic segmentation, Breitling undertakes psychographic segmentation by targeting those who have strong demand for self-image and social status, which can be achieved through a watch brand they trust. This trust comes from the heritage of Breitling’s brand which has been a leading watch producer since the late nineteenth century.
Furthermore, various collections allow Breitling to target multiple segments. In the long-term functional development, Breitling formed a brands structure constituted of four main collections, Navitimer, Superocean, Nightlight and Professional, each of them has particular segmentation. Specifically, mainly targeted on private plane owners and members of aviation club, Navitimer is equipped with the function that of a aviation computer, which helps pilots to measure the flying speed, check flight plan and calculate fuel consumption, thus it becomes one main collection of Breitling. In the area of underwater, watches from Superocean collection can resist water pressure under unbelievable 3000 meters, which safety coefficient is 10 times higher than the other common or even luxury watch brands, such as Rolex and Omega. Unlike other series that target at males, the Nightlight collection concentrates mainly on females who are style conscious and seeking for a better self-image with luxury jewellery such as gold dial and diamond decoration. The Professional collection provides with more professional assistance in particular circumstance for the customers who are eager to take part in exploring activities.
Breitling’s premium position is not only showed on the high-level product image and high-income segmentation, but also achieved through the decision of selective intensity distribution. This channel strategy is mainly depend on price level, product characteristics, organizational and marketing objectives, customers’ buying behaviour and the changing environment. With a annual output of 130000 wristwatches, Breitling has more than 2600 points of sells in all over the world. Due to the high price and the luxury brand image, watches can be purchased in small number of carefully chosen channels, including their own stores, which are located in the luxuriant city centers, excusive stores which are set up with agency, leading retailers such as Goldsmith and Berrys in UK, and online watch stores which particular sell luxury wristwatches such as the Watch Gallery and Watch Finder. These selections show how Breitling is positioned as a premium product not only by customers but also by the leading distribution channels.
Breitling is not attempting to position itself as wristwatch as the other brands, it seeks to occupy a place as a functional and professional choice. Since the aim of marketing is to provide customer with satisfaction, Breitling concentrate on customers’ buying behaviour in order to provide them with the offerings they desired and also attract potential customers. When customers make purchase decisions, difference between types of products lies in amount of thought and level of involvement. They make final selections after information search and alternatives evaluation, through which they take cost, performance, social and availability attributes into consideration. Customers’ buying behaviour is usually influenced by environmental elements such as social cultural and technological factors. Many people make purchasing decisions on the basis of how closely the brand image relates to their self-image. With particular high incomes, customers who are pursuing for social status and self esteem have the need to conform with the norms of the high society groups. Thus, for the social cultural influence, Breitling meet these customers’ social cultural demand by providing them with high quality and high price watches which is the symbol of social status to a large extent. Then, in terms of technological influence, Breitling keep researching on combining high technology with their products to achieve more functions and better quality. For instance, Breitling’s precision meter factory located in La Chaux-De-Fonds Switzerland owns the most advanced laboratory in the global watchmaking industry in order to achieve continuous improvement in technology. The classic professional wristwatch Emergency is a high-tech flagship product, equipped with special requirements conform to Cospas Sarsat Global search and rescue system. It can send SOS signals at the same time of guiding the search and rescue. As the first wrist watch equipped with double-frequency personal locator beacon, this watch is one of the important tools to ensure safety no matter the customers are on the land, underwater or in the air.
When customers make purchase decisions, price is an important element customers need to consider about. Therefore, Bretiling uses price as marketing mix not only from organization’s, but also from customers’ perspectives. In the process of buying behaviour, customers’ price assessments are mainly influenced by functional, quality, financial and personal factors. They would like to pay more for products with greater function and quality because of the higher cost performance (Pradeep, 2010). On personal factors, customers are more likely to purchase for the products which can provide them with intangible benefits such as self-image and social esteem. Take customers’ price assessments into consideration, Breitling pays more attention on watches’ functionality and quality, and the strategy of brand heritage. Moreover, price is relative to segmentation, as different segments react differently to price levels. As a luxury watch brand, Breitling is able to charge the premium price to cultivate customers’ brand loyalty, because it is segmented mainly on successful people who are prepared to pay for the luxury wristwatch to ensure their social status and get better self-image. On internal influences, price plays an important role in achieving long and short term marketing objectives, which can cover a wide breadth and depth of the product lines. In the process of price setting, Bretiling also desire to maintain its status. For differentiated products, higher prices signal a brand image and significant role, so Breiling use price as a signal for its luxury status in watchmaking industry. With the price ranging from £1300 to £8000, Breitling positions itself as a mid range luxury brand. Omega is of the same level with a price ranging from £700 to £16000. Although on the same level, Breitling distinguish itself from Omega by providing customers multifunction and practicality. By contrast, Rolex is high-end luxury brand with a price ranging from £2000 to £40000.
Among the various elements of marketing mix, promotion is the most obvious aspect of positioning. What Breitling communicate must be consistent with their target market, their desired market position in relation to competitors and also with the product, price and place tactics they have taken about positioning. Moreover, communications can be used to build a brand image, create customers’ interests in the product and motivate customers’ buying behaviour. Breitling uses integrated marketing communications to deliver a consistent message and thus position through all communication activities. As a luxury wristwatch brand, it focuses on brand-image and brand information communications that can build a strong brand trust among its target customers, and highlight key products attributes which differentiate the brand. The primary traditional way in which Breitling communicate with their customers about products, brands and position in the marketplace is advertising. It is achieved through various channels like magazines, TVs, the Internet and other media. To build an high-end brand image and enhance customers’ preferences, Breitling uses emotional ads based on celebrity endorsement. It has invited the world famous Hollywood movie star John Travolta as its global brand image spokesperson since 2005.
Also, in the autumn of 2012, Breitling invited David Beckham to be the spokesperson for its new collection of Transocean Chronograph Unitime. Furthermore, cooperating with other influential enterprise is another important measure for Breitling’s promotion. Since 2002, Breitling has built cooperate relationship with Bentley, the world famous luxury brand in the area of automobile, creating a win-win situation by launching the Breitling for Bentley collection. After 10 years’ development, it has become one of the most luxury collections of Breitling. In 2013, David Beckham was invited again as the spokesperson for Breitling of Bentley. Additionally, Breitling owns a professional jet display team in Switzerland to advertise for its special relationship with aviation through aviation display with various aviation clubs. By these ways Breitling achieved the communication with customers to deliver the brand information and build high-end brand image. By contrast, Omega achieves its promotion mainly through sponsoring for world famous sports events as sponsors gain publicity and the opportunity to promote their brands. Omega has been responsible for the timekeeping of the world’s most prestigious sporting events, including 25 Olympic Games, which greatly promote its brand impact to the customers.
After carefully studying on Breitling’s current positioning and the marketing strategy it used, it can be obviously concluded that Breitling’s positioning is successful as it enables Breitling to a build a unique status in the wristwatch market. Focusing on its products’ functionality in special area and unique history of applying in aviation, Breitling build a strong connection between its brand image and customers’ trust. Segmented mainly on successful people with sufficient income who are seeking for a exciting and exploring lifestyle, Breitling uses high price as a tactic by providing them with intangible benefits such as self-image and social esteem. Furthermore, Breitling’s premium position is not only showed on the high-level product image and high price, but also achieved through the decision of selective intensity distribution. Finally, to build an high-end brand image and enhance customers’ preferences, Breitling uses integrated marketing communications to deliver a consistent message and thus position through all communication activities, such as emotional ads focus on image and celebrity endorsement. Overall, The interaction among elements of marketing mix enable Breitling to achieve its successful positioning.