A company's marketing efforts have a direct impact on sales and market share, but they are not the only factors that influence industry performance. A positive brand image is vital to business success, and a brand is much more than a familiar name presented through traditional advertising strategies.
A brand encompasses the consumer's complete experience with both the product and the company, making it a powerful tool for gaining market leverage. Apple, for example, built its brand on the passion and innovation of its founder, and it gained recognition for meeting the wants and needs of modern consumers.
Brand awareness obtained a fair portion of market share in the early days of personal computers, and it still takes a strong brand to remain a market leader in this field as technology advances. Apple upholds its positive brand image by connecting with consumers and continuing to meet their needs. Good business ethics and creative marketing campaigns also maintain the company's market position.
An integrated strategy for marketing and branding is the most effective at increasing market share. Marriott marketed its Renaissance hotel line as accommodations for business travelers with an interest in the culture and experiences a destination offers. The company built this brand image by creating an interactive website that allows visitors to explore local attractions near each hotel, a strategy that has earned the company a favorable position among the target segment of the market.
In some situations, a market may be primarily price-driven, meaning the company with the lowest product prices hold the largest share of the market. However, the power of branding and marketing is evident in these markets, too. Soft drink leaders such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi, for instance, consistently generate more sales than more cheaply priced competitors.