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Brand and Product Management

Brand and Product Management
Introduction
According to Naik, Prasad and Sethi (2008), brand management is considered an important concept especially when it is applied to fast moving consumer goods. This paper is going to discuss brand management in the fast moving consumer goods market of Australia. The paper reports on brand management exercises of two brands from a single category of fast moving consumer goods in the Australian market – foods and beverages. These brands are the P and N beverages and Schweppes.
 
Importance of brand awareness for FMCGs
 
Amidst competition that prevails in most industries today, brand awareness remains the key to the positioning of products in markets (Nijssen, 1999). Brand management in fast moving goods is an important subject. This is because fast moving goods fetch low products, and thus they have to be sold in big quantities. In addition, most of the fast moving goods are perishable and have to be marketed fast enough. There are many companies around the world manufacturing and distributing of fast moving consumer goods. This means that competition in the fast moving consumer goods market is very high. Companies dealing in FMCGs are forced to develop strong brands so as to gain strong grounds and position in the market. Companies dealing in the manufacture of perishable goods have to be more proactive in ensuring that the goods that are processed by them move fast on stocks. This is done in order to avoid loses that often arise from the expiry of the goods before they are sold (Keller, 2003).
 
According to Nijssen (1999), brand awareness levels of the first moving goods are what ensure that they are quickly purchased in the market. One of the core tasks of brand managers is to ensure that they crate sufficient awareness of products in the market. Brand awareness can easily culminate into brand loyalty. Brand awareness is created through an array of activities among them brand salience (Romaniuk and Sharp, 2004). Research reveals that marketing managers are striving to raise product knowledge amongst customers. This resonates from the fact that brand awareness helps in ensuring that a firm attains and retains customers hence remaining more competitive in the market. The quicker the brand awareness is executed for FMCGs, the higher the chances of the goods of a firm to attain significant sales in the market.
 
Breadth and depth of brand awareness for P and N beverages and Supreme foods
 
P and N beverages are one of the most known brands in Australia dealing in the manufacture of beverages and other soft drinks in Australia. These brands face stiff competition from top beverage and soft drink companies in Australia which have stronger and more dominant brands in the market. On the other hand, there is a brand in the beverage industry of Australia that has been in existence for a very long time. This brand is called Schweppes and is manufactured by Asahi Breweries synonymous with most Australians as compared to P and N beverages. Schweppes is a strong brand in the Australian market by virtue of a number of factors which have promoted its awareness and loyalty amongst Australian Consumers.
 
Brand awareness of any product in the market is built and supported by many factors among them the existence and long periods of consumption of a product. Others factors especially so for emergent brands in the market are depended on how the brand is managed through the creation of brand awareness and brand salience. For FMCGs, brand management has to be taken with more seriousness because of the cut throat competition that exists in industries dealing in such goods. Strong brands are often developed over long periods of times and is accompanied by the continued use of products that lead to the development of strong tastes and preferences for the product (Driesener and Romaniuk, 2006).
 
The breadth and strength of Schweppes brand in the FMCGs market of Australia
 
Schweppes is one of the widely consumed beverages in Australia since it is one of the highly positioned brands in the Australian market. Having stayed in the market for a long time, Schweppes has developed a strong brand in Australian market. Accessibility and prominence, which are key components of brand salience, are argued to have favored the development and prevailing strength of the Schweppes brand in Australia. As one of the oldest brands to enter the market, it was easy to develop brand salience for the Schweppes brand in the country. One of the supportive factors for this was the ease of access in the market because of the absence of or minimal competition in the market. Market access is one of the precursors of forming a strong force in familiarizing a brand in the market. With less competition and a minimal number of competitor products in the market, it becomes quite easy to introduce and penetrate a brand in the market. This case can be attributed to Schweppes. The prominence of this brand was built through the name which was very appealing to consumers from the early times of the inception of the brand (Pride, 2011).
 
Cording to Driesener and Romaniuk (2006), marketing researchers ascertain that brands are built using different product aspects, product names being one of these aspects. The brand took the long-term prominence path by adopting modern brand building practices. This was after the company had attained the short-term prominence. These practices have been substantial in maintaining the competitive advantage thence retaining the strength of the brand in both the Australian market and beyond. Brand diversification was borrowed into sweeps by developing different tasted of the Schweppes brand to ensure a stronger presence in the market. The tasted of this product have been diversified to cater for the differing tastes by consumers in the market. There are pure drinks as well as creams with different tastes like lemon among many other tastes. There is also lot of diversity in terms of packaging the product which catches the attention and taste of consumers. The firm has also adopted modern marketing practices for instance the use of the social media. This helps in the creation of strong consumer communities for the product which adds the number of customers. Social media help in the creation of consumer awareness through forums that help in addressing the concern of customers. The brand has gained access into the global market which is a pointer to the quality and the strength of the brand (Schweppes Australia, 2012).
 
The breadth and strength of P and N beverages in the Australian market
 
As compared to Schweppes, P and N brands are considered to be weaker brands in the Australian market. Brands that are produced by P and N include mineral waters, fruit juices and soft drinks. The company has not stayed in the market for a very long time. This is in comparison with other beverage companies and brands that came into the Australian market much earlier like Schweppes and Coca-Cola. The companies that came into the market earlier were able to establish dominant brands that are not easily beatable by P and N beverage brands (Romaniuk, Sharp and Ehrenberg, 2007).
 
P and N was established in the year 1990 compared to Schweppes brands that have been in the market since 1950s. However, P and N brands have managed to attain competitiveness because of the emphasis on brand building. This has seen its brand remain competitive and even a challenge to the brands like Schweppes that have been dominating the market for a long time. With a lot of advertising and promotional campaigns, a high level of brand awareness has been created about the products helping them to gain many customers in the market (Australian Exporters Directory, 2012). Advertising is one of the best methods of capturing the attention of customers hence positioning a brand in the market. Aggressiveness in advertising helps in hastening the rate at which customers gain awareness and attachment to the products or brands in the market. In addition, diversity has been used in factoring in the tastes of consumers. There are diverse products within the P and N products which ensure that customers get what they want in a single brand. This helps in keeping customers hence building the brand further (Pieters, Warlop and Wedel, 2002).
 
Conclusion
 
Brand management is one of the activities that are given more attention by firms because it helps in building brands thence enhancing marketing. Branding is an expensive affair to gain but once established, it becomes easy to maintain brands in the market. Both Schweppes brand and P and N brands in Australia have been built through the adoption of aggressive branding strategies..


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