A company's marketing efforts have a direct impact on its sales and market share, but they are not the only factors that influence overall performance. Creating a positive brand image through marketing efforts is also vital to a business's success.
The following are some of the ways that a strong brand image and marketing strategy can help a company build market share:
- Creating a positive brand image through marketing efforts is vital to a business's success.
- A brand encompasses the consumer's complete experience with both the product and the company and the mix of associations that develop as a result of these interactions.
- Brand image is important in generating customer loyalty and persuading clients to continue buying your products in the future.
- It is also important to distinguish your brand from competing products in order to gain a stable market share.
- Apple and Marriott International are two highly successful brands within their areas of business.
Brand Image Drives Consumer Behavior
A brand is much more than a familiar name or logo that identifies a business, product, or service. A brand also encompasses the consumer's complete experience with both the product and the company and the mix of associations that develop as a result of these interactions.
The brand image that a company achieves is a powerful tool for gaining market leverage; when a company has created a positive brand image, it can influence its target audience's buying habits.
With the influx of available brands on the market currently, more consumers are making their buying decisions based on the brand image rather than the product.
Brand Image Educates Consumers About Values
Apple Inc. (AAPL) built its brand image on the passion and innovation of its founder, Steve Jobs. Their advertising campaign with the slogan "Think Different" encapsulated their values: Defying expectations and acting rebelliously is the way to achieve greatness. Not only have their marketing efforts established for the consumer what the company stands for and what sets them apart, but they are also savvy about educating consumers about what makes their products different.
The company has gained further recognition for its ability to evolve quickly to meet the wants and needs of modern consumers.
Brand Image Creates Consumer Loyalty
In the early days of personal computers, brand awareness was necessary to obtain a fair portion of market share, and it still takes a strong brand to remain a market leader as technology advances in this industry.
Apple upholds its positive brand image by continuing to meet the needs of consumers. Good business ethics and a history of creative marketing campaigns also maintain the company's market position. Brand image is an important driving force in establishing customer loyalty. This can be observed when a consumer who has already invested in an iPhone is more likely to switch to the next generation of the same brand when it becomes available.
It is important to differentiate your brand from competitors. Otherwise customers may leave in search of a cheaper product.
An Integrated Strategy Can Grow Market Share
The most effective way for a company to increase its market share is to create an integrated strategy for marketing and branding. An integrated approach creates a unified and seamless way for consumers to interact with the brand.
When Marriott International, Inc. (MAR) started marketing its line of Renaissance Hotels, they marketed the brand as offering accommodations for business travelers who also have an interest in the culture of their business destinations. The company crafted this brand image by creating an interactive website that allows visitors to explore local attractions near each of their hotel locations.
In 2019, the company took this concept a step further, introducing a campaign called "Discover This Way." As a part of this campaign, each of their hotels now has a Renaissance Navigator, a local host who curates unique experiences based on the lifestyle and interests of each hotel guest.
The hotels have also partnered with local venues—called This Way partners—that help facilitate these experiences. When guests check in, they're given a map identifying This Way partner locations. If they decide to visit these locations, they can present a token provided by the hotel and get an exclusive perk such as access to a secret art gallery or an off-menu, hand-crafted cocktail at a local bar.
This strategy has earned the company a favorable position in the target segment of the market. Renaissance Hotels added more than nine new locations in 2019 and renovated more than 15 of its locations in 2019.
How Do You Create a Brand Image?
According to the online learning platform MasterClass, the key to building a brand is to know the target audience and understand their needs. Some audiences will be focused on finding the lowest price point for their products, while others may be more value-sensitive. After that, it is important to define your brand's value proposition and use it to shape your brand's identifying features. Choices like colors, fonts, and artwork come with subconscious associations that can draw customers to your brand. Finally, plan a marketing campaign that stays consistent with your brand's values.
How Do You Calculate Market Share?
A company's market share is calculated by dividing the company's sales by the total sales for all companies in the same industry. For example, if the auto industry as a whole sells one million cars in a year, and Ford sells 250,000 cars in the same year, we can say that Ford has a market share of 25%.
What Are Some Examples of Strong Brand Image?
McDonald's and Apple are frequently cited as examples of a strong brand image. Almost anywhere in the world, the golden arches are closely associated with affordable fast food, just as consumers closely associate the apple symbol with premium electronics. This association is due to careful brand cultivation that differentiates both products from their competitors.
The Bottom Line
The marketplace for products is very crowded, with many similar products and a lot of advertisements trying to get the attention of consumers. Companies that have developed a strong brand image know the effect of how a brand is communicated to consumers. Getting noticed is important, but it's even more important to know who your consumers want to be.
Apple has been able to connect with an audience who think of themselves as out-of-the-box thinkers and innovators. With their Renaissance Hotel line, Marriott has been able to get in touch with the sensibilities of businesspeople who also think of themselves as adventurous travelers. Effective marketing reinforces beliefs that consumers already have about themselves.
In some situations, a market may be primarily price-driven, meaning the company with the lowest product prices will hold the largest share of the market. However, many purchasing decisions are impacted by emotion and are not solely rational (they do not maximize savings). There is evidence of this in the soft drink industry, where The Coca-Cola Company (KO) and PepsiCo, Inc. (PEP) are able to compete with—even generate more sales than—generic versions of their sodas that are made using the same ingredients but are more cheaply priced.