Obtaining a strategic “brain-position”
The battlefield of the company is the market and to be successful on that battlefield a company should be able to offer, continuously, products and services that are in demand in a certain market. It is vital that the company is adept in converting customer preferences into favourable buying decisions. The fundamental objective of any company is that consumers and customers have a favourable regard of its products and services (image). That’s why the company needs a profound insight into the consumer and customer needs and wants. It should obtain insight into their decision making process and it should be able to identify the critical variables which affect buying decisions. In the end it is in the consumer’s brain where the decision is taken which product or brand to purchase. To be able to influence that brain favourably is the most important goal of any company.
In the present marketing environment the consumer’s decision to buy a certain product or brand is only for some part influenced by its objective qualities and is sometimes for a much larger part influenced by subjective or emotional aspects, culminating in the reputation and perception of its brand name (image). Shoes from Adidas or Nike do not differ objectively very much, but the difference is mainly psychological; each radiates a certain atmosphere, each represents a certain “experience”.
Because of cost considerations cars of different brands of the large car manufacturers are often built on the same chassis; however, each brand has a distinct image and represents a characteristic set of qualities. Because products often scarcely differ, companies invest hugely in advertising to create a distinctive brand image. In this way companies try to conquer a favourable position in the brain of the consumer.
To obtain a superior “brain-position” for its brands is for most companies an objective of strategic importance. The benefits of a strong brand are substantial. Clearly launching a new product under an existing trusted brand is generally much easier than to do so with an unknown, newly invented brand.
Advantageous “brain-positions” are comparable to dominating hills on a battlefield. A military rule is not only to conquer a hill but also to secure it “Up and Over the hill”. This means that a favourable brain position has to be defended and its environment constantly
Management needs to have profound insight into the decision making process of the consumer to foster the favourable “brain-positions” it conquers. However, because of our dynamic environment, modern man receives a multitude of impulses through a plethora of media and therefore the choices he or she makes are constantly changing; sometimes slowly and nearly imperceptibly, sometimes sudden and quite unexpectedly 32. Therefore a company should constantly monitor by all kinds of market research tools what kind of changes in consumer behaviour are occurring or are to be expected, and why.
This is the most strategic reconnaissance activity on the most contested area of business combat i.e. the marketplace or the brain of the consumer. Like Nokia, who nearly too late discovered that consumers preferred a mobile telephone with a closing lid.
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