Global Marketing and Brand Building
The traditional commercial break or sponsor tag on TV is, by most viewers, seen as an intrusion in a regular programme and will create a negative attitude to the advertisement and the brand presented. A new trend developed by marketing strategists is therefore to front the product in tight connection with the entertainment industry. An example is the way Apple launched its new iPod in partnership with the rock group U2. There was an ad running on TV starring the group, and the product was called “U2iPod” with band signatures etched into the back of the player. There was also a sponsored download deal with a huge discount for a number of U2 songs from iTunes.
The brand value of world marketed products is rated continually, and the fluctuations are followed closely by market analysts and, of course, by the companies themselves. The rating shows the actual market value of the famous world brands. The 2010 ranking is topped by Google, IBM, Apple and Microsoft, followed by Coca Cola and McDonald’s. The Korean electronics brand, Samsung (68), is an example of how a company, through effective marketing strategies, has taken its brand value in leaps up the rankings over a five-year period. Their brand value even surpassed that of Sony (94), their biggest rival, which used to own the electronics marketing industry. Brand building like that is a result of innovation, design and quality, and the way the company is able to communicate this to the consumers.
Ambitious companies need more than one leg to stand on in their marketing campaigns. Older and established brands seem largely to go for traditional advertising channels only, whereas manufacturers of new products choose to play on a variety of arenas in their marketing, the most significant being internet advertising. Particularly web-based companies like eBay, Google and Yahoo! depend on their own sites entirely to market their products. Planting a brand as a part of the setting of films and TV productions is also extensively used by many companies. Like BMW marketing executive, James McDowell said: “It is imperative to create media destinations that don’t look like advertising”. For example, KFC and Pepsi are now going to have their brands planted in videogames, which raises another debatable issue – marketing directed at children.
Global brand building takes time. The big brands have been around for decades and are recognized whenever they pop up. It also takes big money to build up the brand value of a product. Accordingly, smaller companies with a limited marketing budget will have to think alternatively to compete with the big fish on the market. With the intention to attain maximum output for minimal resources, they make use of creative and untraditional marketing tactics. One approach is undercover marketing, which aims at addressing the customer in a way that leaves him unaware of the fact that he is exposed to advertising at all. Social networks, e-mail and text-messages can be arenas for this unconventional way of reaching prospective customers. This somewhat sneaky and sly way of promoting a product is also called stealth or guerrilla marketing. To be effective, it is imperative that this way of marketing is set in a non-commercial frame.
The global brands are tokens of city life. They flash in Times Square, New York, in Piccadilly Circus, London and in downtown Tokyo. This advertising may be ugly or it may be beautiful; it most certainly is expensive. It is hard to say how much we are influenced by it when we invest our money. But this massive display of more or less familiar brands and products must have its impact; if not, it probably would not be there.
Sources: Exforsys Inc. and Businessweek.com
Tasks and Activities
Some Issues for Discussion
- Marketing companies in Norway have an annual award for the best commercial of the year. Which criteria do you think they use to select the winner?
- Do you think it is ok to link marketing with entertainment and to plant brands in films and TV shows?
- Why is marketing directed at children a debatable issue?
- Explain and comment on the last sentence of the article.
Connect words in groups of three. Choose a connector + synonym + antonym. A connector is a word for which you can find both a synonym and and antonym in the table below.
Example: promote to front to hide
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Word from text