In the face of the global recession, consumers are spending less on heavily branded goods. How can firms that have invested such large sums of money on branding in order to justify premium pricing, adapt to this challenging marketing environment?
This question is challenging as it invokes a number of different concepts is the marketing unit (branding, pricing, marketing environment and the marketing mix).
The definition of branding should be established at the outset along with the immediate recognition that there are ‘premium’ and ‘low cost’ brands and that the shift to branded goods could in fact be accelerated in a recession as consumers gravitate to products they trust.
The second part of the question is more precise and locates only premium price brands and asks how they can shield themselves from competitive pressures. Here candidates can take on the marketing mix perspective and blend it with what they may know about the marketing environment.
For example, a premium brand probably has clout in its marketing mix distributor and supplier relationships. Perhaps it could negotiate a little harder with these members of the marketing environment in order to reduce its own costs and pass those down to consumers wary of paying more. Second, consumers could be convinced, through a promotional campaign, that in fact quality means buying something once and not
having to replace it. They would emphasise long term value. Another strategy is to increase customer lock-in by providing ancillary benefits that keep consumers tied to the brand and product (airlines try this by granting air mile reward programs that can be used to not only book new plane trips but to buy the latest consumer gadgets and resort vacations.
The list could be endless and this is fine, so long as candidates justify their answer with sound reasoning and either through pertinent examples or with material from the unit.
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