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Ebooksclub.org Brands Laid Bare Using Market Research for Evidence Based Brand Management[2]

Ebooksclub.org Brands Laid Bare Using Market Research for Evidence Based Brand Management[2]

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Published by Rahimi Amin

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Published by: Rahimi Amin on Jun 05, 2012
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All the components we have described up to this point are descriptions of

how consumers relate to brands and categories. We have covered:

. the consumer needs met by a brand;
. consumers’ perceptions of a brand’s equity, and thus a measure of how

much they desire the brand;

. the value for money offered by a brand, meaning its equity in relation

to its price;

. how these opinions are either translated into choice of the best value

brands, or dampened through a lack of care about the category;

. how levels of mobility or inertia in the category will affect the speed

with which people act on their feelings, either through their own

desires or practical barriers; and

. how these various aspects are influenced through the different

touchpoints between the brand and the consumer, particularly the

differences between direct experience and reaction to advertising.

Collectively these represent the ‘pull’ of the brand: how much consumers

want it once it’s in front of them. The other remaining factors we call brand



‘push’, meaning how much the company has pushed the product or service

to the attention of the consumer. The elements we find within brand push


. the opportunity to buy it: e.g. the distribution of packaged goods, the

accessibility of retailers, the route coverage of airlines;

. visual prominence: e.g. the amount of shelf space and pack stand-out of

packaged goods brands, the visibility of the shop front and the quality

of location for retailers;

. promotions activity: drawing extra attention to the brand and giving an

extra benefit such as a chance to win or collect free gifts;

. price discounts and price promotions: anything where the price paid per

unit is less than standard price, including offers such as ‘buy one get one

free’ as well as straightforward price cuts;

. direct mail into people’s homes; and
. advertising or sponsorship, in the specific sense of creating top-of-mind

awareness and promoting visual triggers that encourage purchase. Note:

this is different from the role of advertising in building brands through

eliciting brand pull.

To some extent, marketing can use these push factors independently of

brand pull, creating immediate changes in the sales of the brand. Changes

in those push levers generally have a short-term impact through that

channel, but also tend to influence brand pull over the longer term. For


. advertising drives long-term changes in brand attitudes, as well higher

short-term sales through raised top-of-mind awareness;

. price position implies a quality expectation, and so a change in price

affects attitudes over the longer term, as well as short-term sales;

. many types of promotion are known to reduce consumers’ beliefs that

the brand is worth paying more for, and so erode positive attitudes over


. wide distribution and a strong, visible presence can carry the

implication that the brand is popular, successful and therefore worth



buying since lots of other people must be buying it; conversely, a lower

availability and visibility can help support a position of exclusivity in

certain cases.

The rigid separation of push and pull factors can therefore be slightly

misleading, particularly if it is taken to imply that any push factor may be

manipulated without long-term consequences for the brand’s attitudes,

since this is not the case.

Generally, push factors can change quickly, while pull factors will move

more slowly. So, short-term sales fluctuations are usually the result of a

change in some push factor. There are some exceptions to this, particularly

if a brand hits problems in performance quality, but it is a good general rule.

Indeed, if you hold the view that any brand attitude ‘worth having’ will

have been built up over a period of time, then you would expect brand pull

to be something whose value changes slowly.

Brand pull represents the underlying strength of the brand, once the

support elements through brand push have been stripped away. This

approach to defining it has considerable merit. It shows in some way what

all these consumer attitudes are ‘worth’ to the brand, since it puts them in a

framework whose currency is market share. This does not mean it is easy to

measure in this way – far from it; it simply has a place in the scheme of


So, brand pull represents the concept of the competitiveness of the brand

in its market, assessed on a level playing-field against other brands. It is

broadly true that big brands are also strong brands, since they tend to be

identified as strong and then given strong marketing support, which in turn

makes them bigger and stronger. However, we do see wide variations: for

example, two major brands of lager in the UK had roughly the same brand

pull, but one had over 25 per cent higher sales, due to much stronger brand


This provides an answer to someone challenging the benefit of studying

brand attitudes, if they say ‘I can see how healthy my brand is from its sales’.

The truth is they can guess to some extent, but they can’t see to what

extent they may be supporting a weak brand, or spot the warning signs

when their underlying brand strength starts to erode.



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