The Role of Brands in the Marketing of Technology Products
This paper aims to explain the strategic importance of branding in the technology industry and the significant role branding plays in creating brand identity & individuality. We will mention some major market factors that make technology companies invest in branding more than anytime before. We will also discuss how branding is essential for technology companies to differentiate their products from other companies that produce similar ones and also the role of branding in protecting the brands from piracy and steeling through out official and registered trademarks. The paper will also discuss the brand positioning strategy and how it gives a unique identity for brands and also how branding can change the customer negative perception about products and services.
Introduction As time is passing by, the world is witnessing the fact that technology has broken all the limits, and it continues to do that. Because of this technology advancement, we are aided with many technological gajets like MP3 players, GPSs, iPods, iPads, PDAs and many more gajets that are very useful and also fun to use. The technological advancement have opened new markets in the world, no one knew what an MP3 player was in 1996. Technology products have rained over the world markets, we see thousands of brands of a single product, for instance mobile phone or an MP3 player, and there are almost hundred to two hundred brands of MP3 players in the market. The problem is to buy which brand. Technology products have started brand war in the market and the market has become very competitive in the past ten years. The role of brand in the technological products is a big one and now brand has become more important than the product itself 1.
Overview Branding is not a new topic, since many years, it has become one of the most discussed subjects amongst marketing managers and businesses’ owners in both local and global firms. But, technology companies have realized the importance of branding not so early, however, they have in a short period of time succeeded to create strong brands in the market.
Branding as a concept has many definitions but all agree on the fact that branding is all about creating positive preference for a product aiming to generate more sales with less effort. Branding can also create a type of emotional links between customers and products to make customers trust the product, feel and believe that it fits with their desires and expectations.
Competition Technology products face a difficult market because there is a lot of competition in the marketplace. There are thousands of similar products, therefore, the brand name matters a lot in such cluttered market. One would always go for an Hp printer even if he has other cheaper and more effective alternatives. Normally, customers don’t buy a product of which they haven’t heard of.
There is a war of brands in the market, if for instance we take the example of mobile phones there are many great brands in the market, Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Samsung, Motorola and Apple are the market leaders and fierce competitors, even though there are many other mobile phone brands but people don’t buy them. Why is that? Because as we mentioned earlier, people don’t buy what they haven’t heard or seen any advertisement.
Competition therefore is one of the major factors that made technology companies seriously adopt strong branding strategies in order to stay alive and to keep their businesses up and running.
Piracy This tough competition was enough reason for technology companies to invest more in building up brand names for their products in order to protect their products and services from piracy and steeling. Intel is a good example of this, and the reason why Intel has become a consumer brand was partly a result of legal issues. In the late 1980s the courts had ruled that its microprocessors, given numbers such as the 386 and 486, were not trademark protected. That meant that rivals could use the same numbers on similar chips and steal Intel’s market from under its nose. Intel therefore decided to shift the emphasis from the processor numbers to the Intel name itself, and boost awareness of the brand among computer buyers themselves 2.
As a result, Intel now has become the market leader in its field and built up a wide base of end users who will not buy a computer if it does not include Intel processer inside. Because of the strong branding strategy, Intel has become the most trusted IT brand in the glob.
There is no doubt that strong brands attract more customers and by time these customers become more and more loyal to these brands. This loyalty to brands increases the customers’ willingness to pay a higher price 20% – 25% more than competing brands 3. But to reach up to this point, companies should be always innovative, making their products and services better and offering new added values to their customers.
Positioning The competition in the technology market and the race of winning big market shares, made the technology companies to open new markets for new products, for instance the entertainment industry. As an example, Sony has early realized the importance of being different in this crowded market, so it was the one which introduced the industry of entertainment and then it has become the leader in this market. Sony made a lot of innovation to position itself as an entertainment leader, In 1988, Sony bought CBS records and the following year it acquired Columbia Pictures Entertainment. Sony Music Entertainment is now one of the largest players in the music industry, and Sony Pictures Entertainment has produced massive blockbusters such as the Charlie’s Angels franchise2.
By time, Sony has become a pioneer brand in the technology entertainment products market, it has a diverse range of entertainment products for example plasma screens, HD LCDs, movie cameras, digital still cameras, home theaters, play station is a huge product of Sony in the video game industry, MP3 players, DVD players and laptops. Similarly many other companies have the same products like Panasonic, LG, Samsung, Nikon and many other big brands but yet when it comes to entertainment, you immediately think about Sony.
The notion of brand positioning is the result of this battle of similar products. The notion is straightforward – to be successful, a company should differentiate itself and its goods from all other ones, therefore getting an exclusive position in the marketplace. After all, if manufacturers can’t differentiate their goods from their competitors, how can they anticipate the identical of clients who are much less well renowned with the goods and the market?
Companies should figure out their strong and weak points and should position themselves in a proper way and don’t leave this job to purchasers as they will convey out the method in an arbitrary manner. For example, to competently assess goods that are traded on specifications solely, end users should present a painfully comprehensive comparable investigation that, in numerous situations, discloses no important differences. This dilemma is magnified when manufacturers make no efforts to deal to specific markets or announce purchasers of their strengths. Indeed, when purchasers make a buy, they’re involved in buying much more than merchandise specs. They furthermore purchase into the business trading the product, encompassing its service, quality, and future technological innovations. A company can differentiate its products from its competitors’ founded on such components as expertise, goal assembly, and goal submission, cost, value, or circulation channels.
Anyhow, market positioning normally does not occur overnight, and it’s a long, sore method to place both a business and its products. Having to reposition a business and change customers’ outlooks is even harder. Therefore, it’s best if a business mindfully considers these matters up front – long before it inserts any products.
Conclusion The last ten years saw a dramatic reassessment of the role of brands in the technology products market. The harsh competition and the wide availability of similar products have been major factors in motivating technology companies to adapt new branding strategies. Piracy has been also an annoying aspect and another reason that provoked technology companies to protect their products and services through out creating brand names and get them registered as trademarks.
Technology companies have adopted different branding strategies, positioning has been one of the most common strategies that some of the technology companies like Sony embraced aiming to win the battle of similar products and to differentiate themselves from others. Brand positioning strategy is also important in changing the customer negative perception about a product or a company, and then creating a positive perception that can bring back products and companies to life again and save the business.