Brands versus categories
These 68 words pack a lot of information. In fact, entire articles and book chapters have been written about some of the terms used with this concise definition.
Because consumers often lack the motivation, ability, or time to process all product information to which they are exposed, they look for quick solutions stored in their memory. Strong brands assist in this mental process. If consumers recognize a brand and have some knowledge about it, then they do not have to engage in a lot of additional thought or processing of information to make a product decision. Market researcher Alexander Biel offers the following insight.
In a cluttered marketplace, in which consumer products are often more similar than they are different, proper brand management increases the probebillet of consumer brand choice. Brand management is the reason why consummers want a Big Mac not just a hamburger, a pair of Nikes not just a pair of sneakers, a Harley rather than just a motorcycle. In media terms, we can say that media brand management is the reason why audiences tune to Law and Order rather than just any television drama, Sex and the City rather than just any televisescion sitcom, Eyewitness News rather than just any local television newscast.
Brands and habits
Strong brands also cultivate habits. Researchers have found that in repetitive decision-making situations, habits save time and reduce the mental effort of decosoon making. For example, if the repeated outcomes resulting from the use of a branded product are positive, the likelihood of that consumer buying that brand again is increased. Human beings are creatures of habit because habits simplify our lives by reducing anxiety about taking chances.
If you are the brand manager of the incumbent leading brand, habitual behavior is a good thing because habits are really hard to break. For a brand challenger, however, consumer habits are the enemy. Instead of examining and conscientiously evaluating each brand, habitual buyers simply bypass all this effort and retrieve from memory a preferred brand and hand over the money! Media brands experience the same dilemma. Once established, daily or even weekly viewing habits are extremely hard to break. For example, the biggest problem that broadcasters face during fall premiere weeks is persuading audio encases to break old habits and sample new programming.
Viewers who cannot discern any compelling reason to change channels will tend to remain tuned to the channel that is already in use. A typical example is the late evening newscast block in which three or four stations go head to head with highly similar program content. More often than not, the most influential
Factor in determining a newscast’s share of audience will be the share of its leadin program. This implies that many viewers see all newscasts as equally satisfying and therefore not worth changing stations.
In the best of marketing circumstances, people like brands because they save time, energy, and risk when purchasing a product or service. Once a preferred brand has been set up in memory, the purchase decision becomes automatic or habitual. In fact, a consumer will go out of his or her way to seek out this best of all brands. In the worst of circumstances, all competing brands are considered satisfactory and the purchase decision is based more on chance than choice