[Video] Customer loyalty will not grow your brand
Jessica Hubbard, Deputy Editor; 1 December 15
Spark Media recently hosted international research professor and author Jenni Romaniuk in Johannesburg. Romaniuk, who is based at the revered Ehrenburg Bass Institute in Australia, was launching the sequel to her best-selling marketing book How Brands Grow. We interviewed Romaniuk to find out more about the concepts of a brand’s ‘mental and physical availability’, as well as the roles of Loyalty versus Penetration in growing a brand.
“What we find consistently around the world, in a wide range of categories, is that brands grow by getting more customers,” she explains.
She says there are many different ways of winning customers and growing a brand,but highlights the principles of mental and physical availability.
“You have to first understand whom it is that you want to reach out to, and then put yourself in [their] shoes,” she says. “So if we take a packaged goods brand, for example, the people we need to reach out to are the people who buy [the product] very infrequently…maybe once every two years (or don’t buy packaged goods at all).”
She says that marketers have to understand ‘what’s going on inside their [consumers’] heads’ about the brand, and maintains that the answer is usually ‘quite startlingly, not much!’
“To build mental availability [for a brand], you first have to think about what you’re trying to achieve,” says Romaniuk. “It’s about having the brand being thought of in buying situations, and that then has a whole range of implications…”
First of all, the brand has to get into buying situations with as many different people as possible, so reach is crucial.
“I can’t overstate how important reach is to building mental availability - without it everything else is going to have less of an effect,” she says.
The second element is branding – so if you think of the concept as a funnel, the reach is how many people you can affect, and the branding denotes ‘how narrow the funnel is going’.
“So if your branding is poor, you have suddenly cut out a lot of people,” she explains. “But if your branding is good, then you’re keeping as many people as possible that you’ve already reached, to potentially then be able to act on the advertising you’ve put forward.”
The third element is ensuring that your messaging ‘is actually useful’.
“…that it’s about the consumer, the lives that they lead, and about how your category and brand fits into those lives,” she says. “So you’re attaching yourself to the consumer rather than forcing the consumer to come to you…”
Achieving Physical Availability
Romaniuk says that Physical Availability is about a brand being easy to find and buy.
“Often, people [marketers] think it’s just about distribution, but distribution is only the first part (similar to what reach is for mental availability),” she explains. “It’s a necessary but not sufficient condition to build physical availability.”
She adds: “You not only need to be in the right places, you need to be seen in the right places – so you need to be visible and have something that someone can easily buy - for whatever context that they’re in.”
Finally, she says every brand needs to stand out – you need to be out there so that you’re easy to find…
“Most people buy multiple brands, so if you’re not easy to find, they’ll just go to a competitor.”
Romaniuk’s new book ‘How To Grow Brands Part 2’ is now available in bookstores in South Africa.
Her research covers brand equity, mental availability, brand health metrics, advertising effectiveness, distinctive assets, word of mouth and the role of loyalty and growth.