Brand Marketing is All about Choices


brand marketingBrand marketing can be done through everything from pricing and distribution to customer-loyalty programs and endorsements. Here are just a few ways to consider:

1. Brand marketing through various channels

Brand marketing can be done through: the Internet, TV, word-of-mouth, radio, print, signage and/or worthy-cause marketing. Advertising through print and broadcast media is the traditional way. And it works – eventually. The downside is that it can get very expensive. Internet marketing can very effectively pull in customers who are specifically searching for your product.

2. Brand marketing through pricing

You can enter the market at a low price, get everyone’s attention, blow past your competition and gain a substantial market share, then raise your price. Some large retailers have done this, much to the chagrin of many small businesses.

3. Brand marketing via category management

Unless you sell your product exclusively on the internet and deliver via download or commercial shippers, you have to understand and respect conventional category management. Category management is the means by which large retailers identify, inventory, and merchandise groups of like products. For example, publishers print codes on books that tell bookstores the topic of the book, indicating where it should be shelved. You might decide, however, that Madonna’s children’s book is going to sell better in the children’s books section than in celebrity books.

4. Brand marketing through customer loyalty programs

Customer loyalty can be a very effective brand marketing tool. For example, club cards (such as those offered by Safeway and Office Depot) and frequent flyer programs compel customers to use one brand or company exclusively in exchange for special discounts or privileges.

5. Brand marketing through third-party endorsements

When a movie star carries your brand of handbag or wears your watch, or Catherine Zeta-Jones is a spokesperson for your phone company, many people notice. Pennzoil decided it would do their brand marketing through auto racing. Consumers can’t buy Pennzoil right there in the stands, however, so when you consider endorsements of this kind, think in terms of what’s called impressions. The more impressions you make on your potential customers, the more likely they are to buy your product.

6. Brand marketing via planned obsolescence

Camera, computer and cell phone companies are using planned obsolescence when they convince the general public that every year they need the newest model to keep up with the latest style or technology. In the current economy, however, this can be a negative association for a brand. Consumers are not into buying style right now as much as utility.

Brand marketing is all about getting your brand in front of your buyers. There are obviously many ways this can be accomplished. Decide which approaches best suit your product or service, and get started now!

Of course, there’s much more that could be said on this subject. What’s been your experience? Michael Houlihan, co-founder of Barefoot Wine, the largest selling wine brand in the nation, invites you to join the discussion on Brand Marketing with your comments, thoughts, and opinions below.