- Opinion & Analysis
- Read Time: 11 min
Marketing research must become a model for innovation rather than support the mere incremental administration of brands.
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Many companies’ brand portfolios have become bloated and obscured. A five-step approach can illuminate which brands should be supported, retired, repositioned or otherwise honed to bring greater clarity to the portfolio.
Green marketing hasn’t fulfilled its initial promise, but companies can be more effective with it if they realize that a one-size-fits-all strategy doesn’t exist. Consumers swear that they want green products, but in checkout aisles, most revert to more common requirements — convenience, availability, price, quality and performance. The authors show how companies today can choose among several different green strategies targeted to specific customer segments.
Even the best companies let their customers down sometimes, and many disappoint frequently. The authors lay much of the blame for this on companies’ obsession with uniqueness and differentiation. According to their analysis, companies are too quick to dismiss “category benefits” as a source of advantage. They explain why companies such as Toyota, Cemex, Orange, Medtronic and Sony are successful because they are simply better at offering what customers really want.
At a time when competitive factors have weakened the power of many storied brands, companies can regain an advantage by acquiring or developing a branded feature, service, program or ingredient. As examples, the author cites Westin Hotels, Krispy Kreme, UPS Supply Chain Solutions and many others.
Brand management has evolved from a dialogue between manufacturers and customers into a multilogue with a host of parties. To that end, the authors have developed a theoretical framework that helps companies to better manage brands, proposing the concept of a brand space, based on whether the brand has become independent from its associated product and whether the brand focuses more on the meaning of a product or its functionality.
Increasingly, information technology isn’t just for supporting the strategy, it is the strategy. Unfortunately, many CEOs send their managers negative signals about IT’s role. Only the “believer CEO,” who demonstrates through daily actions a belief in the strategic value of IT, can help others manage effectively in the Information Age. The authors offer examples of such CEOs and give some techniques for addressing blind spots to improve an organization’s competitiveness.
Effective service recovery is vital to maintaining customer and employee satisfaction and loyalty, which contribute significantly to a company’s revenues and profitability. Yet most customers are dissatisfied with the way companies resolve their complaints, and most companies do not take advantage of the learning opportunities afforded by service failures. The authors provide a research-based approach for helping managers develop a comprehensive service recovery system.
The contention that loyal customers are always more profitable is a gross simplification, according to the authors. They posit that such schemes do not fundamentally alter market structure and, instead, increase market expenditures without really creating any extra brand loyalty. Dowling and Uncles suggest ways to design an effective program.
How can a company successfully attack an established market leader? How can it find new ways to compete that everyone else has missed? By breaking the rules of the game in its industry to find new sources of innovation, writes Constantinos Markides, of the London Business School. In a study of thirty successful attackers, Markides identified five ways that companies successfully thought about and developed new game plans.
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