This report will present the brand development and building strategy of a new product that is about to be introduced in the market by a new venture. Several of the agency’s clients where I work are looking for new product ventures, and considering the surrounding factors, I have planned to work on a new line of sports equipment. There can be various kinds of sporting equipment. However, considering the market potential brand strategy of the sporting shoes will be discussed. Hence, the entire report covers the branding strategy of the sporting shoes in particular and the new venture in general. In formulating the brand strategy, several aspects of branding, including brand philosophy, essence, brand building strategy, branding objectives and marketing 4Ps decision on implementing the brand strategy, have been discussed.
2. Identification of the product and its descriptions
There are several reasons behind choosing sports equipment ventures and, in particular, sporting shoes. The prime reason has been the market potential. Although there are several competitors in the market, the sporting industry in the UK is still quite big and growing. The sporting equipment industry in the country reached a total size of £4.4 billion in 2015, which is a 4.4% growth from the previous year (Mintel., 2016). The industry has been experiencing positive growth since 2010 and is expected to grow by 4-5% in the coming years. Sporting shoes are also getting popular among the aged people and for non-sports usage as well. According to a study conducted by Mintel, 63% of the consumers aged between 45-54 are buying sporting equipment for non-sports reasons (Mintel., 2016). On the other hand, 51% of the consumers who bought sports equipment in the last 12 months have bought it for non-sports reasons. Besides, the sporting events inside and outside of the UK also influence the purchase of sporting equipment. With the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games and UEFA European Championship in France in 2016, the market is expected to grow by 5.9% this year (Author, 2016). Of the vast sporting equipment market, the sports footwear market is worth £800 million to £1 billion in the country (Ibisworld, 2016). Because of these reasons, there is a vast market potential for sporting equipment in general and sporting shoes in particular.
2.1 Branding decision of the shoe
Of the many branded shoes available in the UK market, most are highly-priced and beyond affordability to most youths and middle-class people (Buytshirtsonline, 2016). But again, people look for optimum functionality and stylish design within the budget that they can afford. The lack of style, functionality and price in a single brand will be utilised in developing the new brand. The brand will not be the lowest price offered; instead, it will provide a competitive and reasonable price. Students, youths and aged people now use shoes for casual wear as well as jogging and travelling. Hence, the shoe will offer a stylish and trendy look. The brand will be positioned to associate comfort, fun, style, trend, good look, colour, durability, value and affordability with the shoe. This will be the essence and philosophy of the brand.
2.2 Physical description of the product
The shoe will be like a typical sporting shoe, but unlike the one that offers style, durability and affordability. It will come with various designs featuring unique style and trend wanted by the target market. Different colours will be used to appeal to a wide range of customers that can cater to the distinct needs and wants of the consumers. Special care will be taken in designing the sole of the shoes and the inside of the shoes. The interior will be made of comfortable foam that will enhance usability and the comfort of the users. Although the brand, as well as the venture, is in the initial stage of its life cycle, the following designs can be used in the case of the new brand:
The new brand can be named “Sportify”. Much consideration has been given to choosing the brand name to appeal to varying customer groups that the brand will target. The value proposition of the new brand will feature affordability and a trendy look. The brand will maximise the value of the consumers by offering both stylish design and affordability to all of its target customers. The potential buyer can afford either price or style from the available brand in the market. But, the proposed brand will offer a lucrative combination of both.
3. Marketing objectives
Marketing objectives are the specific goals that are set to be attained within a particular range of time. The marketing objectives of the new brand have been developed using the SMART objective setting tool. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time scale. It is a more scientific way to set goals and plan a course of actions to achieve them (Cerruti and Holtzman, 2013). The SMART objectives of the new brand are:
- Enhancing brand awareness and increasing brand engagement among the targeted customers
- Capturing at least a 1% share of the sporting shoe industry
- Designing and implementing cost-effective and effective marketing strategies and tactics that will ensure deeper penetration among the target customers.
- Brand awareness and engagement will be measured through meeting in the social media platforms, more hits on the online ads, and longer browsing time on the company website that contains design and price information. The physical awareness will be measured via more customer presence in the stores and enhanced sales.
- The second goal will be measured if a sale target of at least £10 million is reached.
- Guerrilla marketing strategies will be applied to make the marketing decisions more effective and efficient.
- Advanced data analysis tools will be used to target potential customers online. An exciting and eye-catching online advertisement campaign will be developed. If needed, a digital marketing agency will be hired. The employees will be trained to serve the customers in the best possible ways.
- The stated sales volume can be achieved by adequately targeting the potential segment and designing customised and targeted ads.
- Consumer insights and needs will be emphasised to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of the marketing campaign.
- Social media platforms and online marketing can reach most youths and a considerable number of aged people targeted by the new brand.
- The sales target is tiny and yet can result in a significant amount of cash flow considering the size of the market.
- If the core essence of the brand can be properly communicated, then certainly, marketing objectives can be attained.
- One and a half year will be spent on the awareness goal, but a considerable result will be expected within the first year of operation.
- For the sales volume target, two years can be allocated to fulfil half of the volume each year. This is, however, the minimum target. It is expected that if market targeting and positioning can be properly communicated, more sales volume can be achieved.
- One year is reasonable to design and implement the marketing strategy and decisions.
4. Market segmentation and target of the new brand
4.1 Market segmentation
No company can serve the whole market as it is extraordinarily complex and time and resource consuming. Hence, the market is segmented to find the optimal fit with the company’s objectives (Emarketer, 2016). There are several criteria based on which the market is segmented. These criteria are geographical, behavioural, psychographic and demographic in nature (Kotler, 2014). In order to segment the total market for the new brand, the following segmentation criteria and segmentation based on them have been presented:
Region: Only cities
Age: 12-19 years, 20-34 years, 35-49 years, 50-60 years
Gender: male, female.
Occupation: Student, businessmen, professionals
Social class: middle class, upper-middle, working class
Lifestyle: Sport-oriented, outdoor-oriented
Income: Lower middle, middle, upper-middle
Occasion: Regular occasion, special occasion, holiday and seasonal
Benefits: Quality, service, economy
Readiness stage: Unaware, aware, informed
Attitude toward the product: Enthusiastic, positive
The new brand is intended to be a mix of affordability and stylish design. That is why; middle and upper-middle-class consumers have been targeted. For the same reason, the middle-income consumer will be targeted. Given its price, appeal and usage intention, varying age groups and occupations have been added. The usage, benefits and newness of the brand caused it to use behavioural segmentation.
4.2 Market targeting
Targeting is the process of evaluating the attractiveness of different market segments and choosing the most attractive and profitable one (Kotler, 2015). The targeting strategy of the new brand is seen below:
As a new brand, it is impossible to go after the whole market; neither will it be consistent with the brand’s positioning and segmentation strategy. That is why a differentiated targeting strategy has been proposed for the new brand. The segments identified by targeting will contain the consumers characterised by the criteria presented in the segmentation table.
5. Brand development and its elements
The competitive frame of reference is an important element in the brand development decision. It identifies the competitive nature and the competitors in the market (Kotler and Armstrong, 2013). The proposed new brand will not be in competition with the top sports brands like Nike, Adidas, Puma, and Reebok etc. It will compete with some of the brands that are at the lower tier of the market like Speedo, LA Gear, Gola etc. Point-of-Parity (POP) and Point-of-Difference (POD) are the other two crucial elements that define the brand development decision of the new brand.
POP: POPs are the attributes that are not unique to a brand and can be found to some extent in other brands as well (Krum and Zober, 2011). The proposed POPs of the new brand will be durability, comfort and design. These are some common aspects that consumers would like to see in a sports shoe, and hence the new brand will be equipped with these attributes to ensure category membership as well as its competitive framework.
POD: PODs are unique attributes to a brand, and consumers positively associated with a brand (Kotler, 2015). A brand can have multiple PODs. As stated earlier, the new brand will be offered at a reasonable price yet ensure good design, trendy looks and comfort. So, the higher value that consumers can gain from the product will be its POD. On the whole, it can be said that a combination of affordability, trendy looks and value will be the PODs of the proposed Sprotify brand.
5.1 Brand elements
The branding elements of the proposed Sportify brand are as follows:
Brand name: Sportify has been proposed to be named for the brand. It is a short and catchy name that people can easily remember. Also, they can relate to sports and fun with the name.
Brand position: The brand will be positioned as a reasonably priced, good value sports shoe that people can use in their everyday life. Consumers can get maximum values in terms of durability, price and design from the new brand.
Brand promise: The brand promise should be developed around brand positioning (Lord, 2009). The brand promise of Spotify can be built around making people’s everyday life more convenient, productive and trendy. As casual wear, people spend a significant amount of time wearing shoes. That is why a well-designed shoe with durability, comfort and a modern look can make people confident and productive by facilitating their everyday walking.
Brand associations: Price, style and value will be the prime focus of the brand, and hence the marketing communication will be designed in a way so that people can associate fun, comfort, affordability, durability, colour, trendy, unique designs with the brand. Associations is an essential thing as often the purchasing decisions and efforts required by the consumers to carry out will be influenced by the different associations consumers link to a brand (Phelps and Westing, 2011).
Brand story: The brand will be positioned as an everyday wearable having a trendy design. In order to reflect this aspect, the brand story will be positioned around how a typical urban guy can afford the brand, how the trendy look adds to his confidence which in turn makes him liked by others as well as how the comfort of the shoe makes him less tired and more productive throughout the day. At the end of the day, all these events make the boy successful and thus signify the importance of the new brand in our everyday life.
Brand colour and fonts: The colour and fonts have to reflect the essence and positioning of the new brand (Uncles, 2013). Some colour considerations are essential here. Orange colour can be considered in this case as it relates to Desire, Enthusiasm and Passion. On the other hand, yellow can also be considered as a potential colour that signifies the meaning of the brand. Yellow relates to confidence, self-esteem, optimism that, to some extent, define the new brand.
The brand decisions and the brand elements in combination give a unified and consistent meaning to the consumers (Winer, 2004). Therefore, there has to be harmony among the elements not only in the case of design but also in implementation. In this regard, the brand decisions and aspects of Sportify have been taken care of so that positioning and brand meaning is adequately communicated to the consumers as these are essential considerations influencing consumer behaviour and their purchase behaviour.
6. Marketing mix decisions
The marketing mix comprises the four 4Ps: product, price, place, and promotion (Kotler, 2014). The application of the 4Ps in the case of the new proposed brand is given below:
Product: The product is the shoe that belongs to the sporting equipment category. It is a trendy designed and affordably priced product aimed at the youths and the middle-aged urban people belonging to the middle-income category.
Price: Affordability is an essential consideration of the new brand. The brand promises to offer reasonable prices while offering trendy designs and looks. To further emphasise the rational pricing decision of the brand, psychological pricing can be introduced. It is aimed at attracting customers at an emotional level. For example, instead of offering £30 for a pair of shoes, £29.99 can be provided. This creates psychological stress for the consumers and makes them believe that the price is lower.
Place: Initially, the brand can begin with a single store. As sales grow, online selling can be introduced.
Promotion: Being a new company in a competitive market, marketing cost has to be kept lower. The best way to do this is to apply the guerrilla marketing strategy. It is the process of a low-cost yet effective marketing strategy. In the case of the new brand, social media and online marketing will be excellent tools. At the same time, sponsorship and newspaper and magazine advertising will be utilised to reach the target consumers.
65% of the UK population have internet access (Buytshirtsonline, 2016). On the other hand, there are 31 million active social media users, of which 26% are in the group between 25 to 34 (Ibisworld, 2016). Hence, social media and online ads can be powerful tools to reach the target customers of Sportify. Moreover, these kinds of ads can be highly targeted and cost-effective. On the other hand, the company can sponsor local university and college programmes like an excursion, annual sports, cultural programmes etc. Thus the company can not only reach the target consumers but also can raise awareness among the target customers of Sportify. Besides, print ads can be given in the sports-related magazines and sports section of the local newspapers. This will also cost low but can reach a wide range of consumers. The ads, both online and offline have to be consistent with the brand’s positioning, core essence and meaning.
7. Brand equity
Brand equity refers to the differential effects that knowing the name of a brand has on the recognition and purchase decision of the brand (Kotler, 2015). The brand equity of Sportify can be shown using the brand resonance model in which there are four steps. It is an ascending process of building the brand. The process begins with the identification of the brand and goes on to defining meaning, seeking a response from the consumers and lastly securing a relationship with the consumers. The model is shown below in the case of Sportify;
Brand identification: Because of the quality, design and affordability features, the price, as well as the quality conscious consumers,
will consider the brand while making their purchase decisions.
Brand meaning: It refers to the functional and emotional aspects of the brands (Kotler, 2015). Because of the integration of varying POPs and PODs, Sportify can meet up the functional aspect while trendy looks and design can appeal to the emotional aspect of the consumers.
Brand response: If the consumers are satisfied with the performance of the brand, they will evaluate the brand positively as well as trigger the fulfilment of psychological needs among the consumers (Kotler and Armstrong, 2013). This will create emotion for Sportify in the minds of the consumers.
Relationship: With the functional performance as well as positive emotion about the brand, consumers will make repurchases leading to a lasting relationship with the brand. At this stage, they will also spread positive word of mouth about Sportify.
Building and developing a brand is not enough. There numerous factors in the market that can affect the brand in many ways. That is why; Sportify has to adapt its market communication and delivery process to adapt to the changing forces without altering or harming the core brand meaning. If it can be turned into a strong brand, then the strong brand equity can also be leveraged for the subsequent products that the company can bring to the market.
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