A significant and recent drift in the retail industry has been the upsurge of store brands. Many retailers now form a robust brand portfolio that incorporates various value propositions. But before I proceed further, what are store brands?
Store brands are a series of products tactically branded under a single brand identity. The conventional notion behind private labels is that they are reasonably priced and more of me-too product offering (Iacobucci, 2014).
What leads to a successful store brand?
Store brands utilize differentiation strategies in the retail competition which help provoke customer loyalty, boost profits and facilitate retailers to form a high-value offering. Since a major portion of profit store brands get is by selling their own brands, which is the same as every store brand does, building a Brand Equity enhancement strategy becomes essential.
Brand Equity is the additional value offered by customers on products and services, it is evaluated by consumer’s perception of brand and elements such as price, market share and profitability. (Kotler and keller, 2012)
Constructing strong brands has become a marketing urgency for it aids establishing a brand identity along with providing a competitive advantage.
Aaker (1991), proposed a model of Brand Equity which includes four measurements brand awareness, perceived quality, brand associations and brand loyalty.
The model can be applied to the store brands, since consumers think of them as genuine brands, combining their aspects of awareness, image, and price.
One of the brands to incorporate all these elements to generate a brand equity of its own is John Lewis. It is a renowned store brand of homewares in the Great Britain, and its own branded collections are known for creative design, quality, price, and accessibility. It is a trusted brand, selling a wide range of products via multiple stores across the country.
It’s brand proposition of “Never knowingly undersold” is an effective slogan. This mantra was used not only to create brand awareness but form a distinctive brand image of being the cheapest among the competition and to fabricate customer loyalty by refunding the money on getting cheaper prices for the same product elsewhere.
Such is the influence of a brand slogan or mantra.
The slogan depicts the buyer what the brand is all about and, it molds the perception of the buyer towards the brand.Moreover, Slogans also build brand equity as they expedite the institution and maintenance of a strong brand identity and leads to brand recall through continual marketing campaigns.
And that’s how customers started trusting the brand. But, how did it become so loved?Branding may be initiated by brand names and logos but to engage the audiences at a deeper level, intangible brand associations should be developed. There is a hierarchy of brand associations, with physical attributes of a product at the bottom. As you climb up, there are benefits related to the products, and even higher the basic benefits extend to intangible offerings.(Iacobucci, 2014).
The 2015 branding incentive of John Lewis is creating a compelling emotional bondage with the customers. It produced an advertisement that became viral within hours of its launch. It’s called ‘Man on the Moon ‘and features a story of a girl who sends a Christmas present to the lonely man she discovered staring through her telescope.
The ad’s tagline is: “Show someone they are loved this Christmas”, and the brand persuades the audiences to buy their products by asserting that the profits will go to Age UK charity. Knowing that the charity echoes with their culture of sharing during the festive season, they were able to connect emotionally with the audience and make John Lewis a part of their Christmas tradition.
Effective advertising is a crucial constituent of the marketing mix for any brand. It has been found that evoked emotions via advertising directly influences one’s attitude towards the advertised brand and purchase motive. A pure emotional brand association makes the brand cut the clutter in the marketplace. Additionally, the customer is less likely to feel cognitive dissatisfaction if the buying the brand leads to emotional contentment.
John Lewis built a great amount of trust, brand strength and loyalty by fortifying personalization and brand leveraging. It used the umbrella concept initially to incorporate different products. 40 John Lewis stores and 302 Waitrose supermarkets fall under the huge umbrella that is the John Lewis Partnership. “A commonly advanced rationale for umbrella branding is that it allows firms to leverage the reputation attached to a brand name.” Umbrella branding helps strong brands to launch new products by making consumers believe that all products under the brand name can be trusted with similar quality.
The brand’s next strategy is to expand it’s domain by co-branding with an already established brand Myer and entering Australia around Christmas 2016 . It presents an opportunity to innovate and present their brand in a new light, for example, the brand logo hasn’t been changed for a long time. This wasn’t important in the UK, where they had a brand loyalty, but can be crucial as they try to attract new customers.
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