Keeping the perfect (New) Balance!

 

THE PRODUCT

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New Balance as you know is one of the leading sportswear companies around the world. Their products are known to be of top-class quality and the company has been a consistent competitor in the market against the likeS of other big companies like Adidas, Nike etc. In this case, New Balance has been offering their customers maximum value with the quality of their products. A product can be differentiated in a number of ways. The company needs to make sure that this differentiation helps them to provide maximum benefit to the customers.

Differentiation

A product can be anything from a tangible good to an intangible service. The company needs to figure out how well they can maximise the customer satisfaction. For example, New Balance sells sports shoes as their core product. This shoe is useful to a certain individual to be used while getting involved in an exercise or physical activity. Here, the shoe would be the core product but along with it, the value-added benefits that a consumer will receive will be the comfort he/she gets on wearing the shoe, the sense of satisfaction and approval. Also, the appearance of the shoe can build confidence in the mind of the individual. This shows the tangible and intangible features of the product. The shoe is the tangible feature whereas the other feelings and emotions that the consumer generates are all the intangible factors. However, both the factors go through a certain stage of perishability. As and when the product gets old, the person might start seeing it in a different way. Whenever the shoe starts wearing out, the comfort and satisfaction that the individual gets from it starts to reduce and eventually perishes.

THE BRAND

New-Balance-576-Suede-Running-Sneakers-1The brand is a certain thing that defines a product. It can be the name, logo, symbol, sign or colour that differentiates a product from that of a rival. The enhancement and recognition of a brand is highly recommended for the success of a product. In our example, New Balance brands its shoes with their patented symbol, the letter N which is seen on every product manufactured by their company. Now this particular symbol causes some or the other type of perception in the mind of the customer. The brand name is built over a period of time and New Balance has achieved a good name by sustaining in the market over a long time. Their ‘N’ symbol and the red and white colour scheme used by them has been used appropriately to generate recall.

Brand Association

Brand Association is all about the attributes or facilities that a certain brand provides. In New Balance shoes, the various designs provided by the company that differ according to the likes and dislikes of the customer depending upon the material, appearance etc. are the attributes. The Associations of a brand is dependent on the abstract product benefits as well as emotional benefits. The quality of the shoe and the long lasting material could be an abstract product benefit whereas the comfort and pride of wearing a New Balance shoe are the emotional benefits. The abstract benefits decide the company’s actual success as they can’t be met by the rival companies if compared to receiving the same in terms of the attributes.

 

Brand Equity

The status and equity of a brand is what is necessary to decide what the pricing and placement of the brand’s products should be. Whether a product is branded or not, or if the quality is inferior or superior. New Balance has been a top-notch brand with the highest quality of shoes used by a humongous number of people around the world and this suggests that the equity of the brand is very high. This allows them to price their products with a good profit margin and guarantees sales despite cheaper options being available in the market.

NEW PRODUCT

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A brand needs to consistently produce new and improved products to sustain their image and position in the market. This helps them to attract new customers and also, helps them to make sure that the current customers have a maintained faith in their brand. The tastes and preferences of an individual change over time and the brand also needs to imply these changes to their own brand. New Balance also realised the need of coming up with new products to continue enjoying their success in the market and for that, they introduced the New Balance Football series wherein they started the production of football shoes and accessories. This helped them increase their presence in the market and also helped them to attract more interest from a different segment of the market.

The product has a certain life and the following diagram suggests the life cycle of a product. This decides when a certain brand needs to introduce a new product or service to better their place in the market.

 

References:

Investopedia., (2016). Brand. Investopedia, LLC. http://www.investopedia.com/terms/b/brand.asp  [Accessed on: 26th August 2016]

New Balance., (2016). Made to Move. New Balance. http://demandware.edgesuite.net/aagi_prd/on/demandware.static/-/Sites-newbalance_us2-Library/default/dw36cfbc3e/inside-nb/inside-nb-overview/171206508.pdf [Accessed on: 26th August 2016]

Duval J., (2013). Eight Simple Steps For New Product Development. Business2Community. http://www.business2community.com/product-management/eight-simple-steps-for-new-product-development-0560298#pXQ8Y7Md2zOx8aM2.97 [Accessed on: 25th August 2016]

MSG-Experts., (2016). Brand Association. Management Study Guide. http://managementstudyguide.com/brand-association.htm [Accessed on: 25th August 2016]

 

 

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