Relationship attributes in Marketing

An expensive but sometimes approach to addressing negatively correlated attributes and benefits is to launch two different marketing campaigns, each one devoted to a different brand attribute or benefit. These campaigns may run together at one point in time or sequentially over time.

Head & Shoulders shampoo met success in Europe with a dual campaign where one campaign emphasized its dandruff removal efficacy while another emphasized the appearance and beauty of hair after its use.

The hope is that consumers will be less critical when judging the points-of-parity (POP) and points-of-difference (POD) benefits in isolation. The downside with such an approach is that you need two strong campaigns. Moreover, if marketers do not address the negative correlation head-on, consumers may not develop the desired positive associations.

Leverage equity of another Entity:

A brand can “borrow” or leverage the equity of well-known and well-liked celebrities to lend credibility to a negatively correlated benefit. Brands can potentially link themselves to any kind of entity that possesses the right of equity as a means to establish an attribute or benefit as a POP or POD. Branded ingredients may also lend some credibility to a questionable attribute in consumers’ minds. Borrowing equity, however, is not risk-less. Personal computer manufacturers such as IBM and Compaq found that the Intel Inside co-op advertising program, which gave Intel exposure in the PC makers’ ad, resulted in consumers seeking Intel-based computers.

Redefine the relationship:

Another potentially powerful but often difficult way to address the negative relationship between attributes and benefits is to convince consumers that in fact the relationship is positive. This redefinition can be accomplished by providing consumers with a different perspective and suggesting that they may be overlooking or ignoring certain considerations.

Apple computers:

When Apple Computers launched Macintosh, its key point-of-difference was “user friendly”. Many consumers valued ease of use, especially those who bought personal computers for the home. One drawback with a “user-friendly” association was that customers who bought personal computers for business applications thought that if a personal computer was easy to use, then it must not be very powerful. Recognizing this potential problem, Apple ran a clever ad campaign with the tag line. “The Power to be your Best”. The strategy behind the ads was that because Apple was easy to use, people in fact did just that they used it a simple but important indication of “Power”. In other words, the most powerful computers were ones people actually used.

To avoid the commodity trap, marketers must start with the belief that you can differentiate anything. Brands can be differentiated on the basis of many variables. South West Airlines has differentiated itself in several different ways.

Southwest Airlines:

The Dallas-based airline carved its niche in short-haul flights with low prices, reliable service, and a healthy sense of humor. Southwest keeps costs low by offering only basic in-flight service (no meals, no movies) and rapid turnaround at the gates to keep the planes in the air. Southwest knew that it could not differentiate on price alone because competitors could try to muscle into the market with their own cheaper versions. The airline has also distinguished itself as a “fun” airline, noted for humorous in-flight commentary from pilots and cabin crew members. Another popular feature of Southwest flights is the first-come, first-served open seating: Passengers are given numbered cards based on when they arrive at the gate. Southwest is now the nation’s sixth-largest airline in revenue, and holds the distinction of being the only low-fare airline to achieve long-term success.

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