The effectiveness of a brand is in its ability to gain wide recognition, and ultimately to gain brand franchise. Three major car manufacturers: Audi, BMW, Mercedes have used branding to create worldwide recognition of their products. Interestingly, all three companies are originally European based and offer products to persons of higher income levels. Their distinctive brand management has been used to differentiate their products to the point where buyer awareness and corollary car sales have continue to increase annually in many parts of the world.
Increased demand for the products of Audi, BMW, and Mercedes may be directly linked to the marketing thrust of the respective companies and each product is now seen as a luxury item. The three companies have used branding to generate deep emotional connection that emblematizes; class and luxury. Audi, BMW, Mercedes have definitively used the AIDA model of marketing to create Attention, Interest, Desire and Action to the point where their products are sought after all over the world. Clearly, the marketers at the companies have been able to create a brand image of the products that translated into effective selling.
Their marketing theories have been translated into pragmatic actions in terms of brand effectiveness and the corollary results in increased sales. Advertising theories abound and Simon Broadbent of the Leo Burnett firm claims in 1992, that there are a total of 456 theories about how advertising works (Broadbent, 1992). However, the commonality of the advertising theories in this industry lies with the thought that advertising creates attention, attracts interest, provokes desire, and ultimately leads to action on the part of the buyer who wants a car of distinction and class.
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The marketers’ tasks were to change consumer attitudes, perception and buying behaviour. Audi, BMW, Mercedes may have also used brand salience to gain market share and recognition. Brand salience refers to the relative order in which brands are remembered or thought about by people. The car companies have created brand salience in that reference to luxury car will almost definitely bring one of the products of these companies to mind. This is a most sought after desire on the part of any company who will want everyone to think firstly of their products.
Brand salience may have helped to improve sales over the past decade in that people are often more willing to buy the brands that are popular and the connection between brand salience and sales has been noted by researchers (Sutherland, 1997; Sutherland and Galloway, 1981). The marketers at the three car companies may also have used their knowledge of the needs of their target market to drive sales. Maslow hierarchy of needs list self actualization as one of the needs and so the marketers in the companies sought to satisfy this need with products that resonate and reflect personal growth and development.
The companies have also used brand differentiation to attract and retain customers. Brand differentiation refers to the uniqueness of the product and features that stands out when compared to similar products. Audi, BMW, Mercedes have all sought to provide cars that bear distinctive shapes and carry logos that are recognized almost everywhere in the world. BMW has a unique design that can be recognized even in the dark. The three companies have also used price differentiation to set their products apart from other cars on the market. Historically, prices have been set at a level that targets persons of a particular income level.
This pricing of cars appeals to consumers to whom status and prestige denote their financial status and the ownership of a car from any of these companies is a symbol of affluence and social standing. The companies have used brand equity to effectively place their products. This creation of value-added products was done through marketing campaigns all over the world that made the cars instantly recognizable by people of every nation. This brand equity has effectively placed Audi, BMW, and Mercedes in peoples mind as makers of luxury vehicles. The three companies have used brand positioning to ameliorate the effectiveness of their offers.
Companies such as BMW, Audi and Mercedes offer their products at a premium price. This effectively makes each brand a symbol of status. The perception of the market is that it is being offered high quality engineering and vehicles that ooze exclusivity and status. Various other tools or metrics can be used to measure the effectiveness of a brand and these include: differentiation, distinctiveness, defendable, “digit-able. ” Audi, BMW, and Mercedes set their products apart from other car manufacturer by making products that shows innovation, exclusivity.
The three companies offer vehicles showing characteristics that are distinctly different compared to competitors’ offers. The branding of the three companies is defendable as their logos are set apart from competitors and cannot be easily duplicated without legally violating the companies’ patents and trademarks. The introduction of the internet and the subsequent creation of websites and online advertisement have offered additional leverage for Audi, BMW, and Mercedes to increase their brands effectiveness by making their products household name and reinforcing brand awareness and salience.
Originally, the three companies boast outstanding or superior advantage in quality of their products, but there is now a standardization of platforms at the manufacturing plants of different car manufacturers and so the difference in quality in products of different companies is growing smaller, albeit the effectiveness of the marketing campaigns have made these three brands stood out from competitors.
The careful branding of the products as being of great quality, safe and reliable has made the products desirable to markets demanding quality and comfort. According to the company, the Mercedes Benz brand is seen as synonymous with reliability and safety. Its products is said to embody the highest safety standards. The company seeks to appeal to high income customers who value class and safety. They claim to have innovative technologies that set each product above other competing brands and each vehicle boast driver assistance systems.
The brands of Audi, Mercedes Benz and BMW have gain remarkable credibility through the persistence and repetitive advertising that have consistently position the products to be of consistent high quality. The individual value proposition of each company promises customer satisfaction and BMW has been quite consistent in making the same promise since the 1950s that they provide a quality product that would satisfy its clients.
This has effectively worked in the company’s favour to create a tacit, albeit effective contract of providing consistent high quality. The effectiveness of the brands can be seen in the continued support for the companies’ products. Audi, Mercedes Benz and BMW have all position their brands as the benchmark in their industry and continue to provide relevant, credible products to support their claim of being special in the competitive automobile industry.
Broadbent, S. "456 Views of How Advertising Works--and what if anything, they tell us. " Admap, September 1992. Kapferer, Jean-Noel. 2008. The New Strategic Brand Management: Creating and Sustaining Brand Equity Long Term. 4th ed. London: Kogan Page Publishers Sutherland, M. Advertising and the Mind of the Consumer. Australia: Allen & Unwin, 1997. --, and J. Galloway. "Role of Advertising: Persuasion or Agenda Setting? " Journal of Advertising Research 21, 5 (1981): 25-29 and in JAR Special Issue--How Advertising Works (1983): 52-56.
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