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Branding plays an important role for both buyers and sellers. A seller can easily differentiate its products from that of competitors with the help of branding. Moreover, it also fosters brand loyalty and therefore assists in stabilizing market share. For the buyers, it reduces the time needed for decision making purchases. Brand Health Tracking (BHT) plays a significant role in business as it is a strategic tool for measuring the health of the brand. This is due to the fact that customized tracking surveys are needed for evaluating the different issues faced by the brand. The chosen research area is brand building and evaluation.
This report is focused on the company Telstra which belongs to the Australian telecommunication industry and provides its business and research objectives, information needed for fulfilling the research objectives and research design in the context of the chosen approach.
Business & research objective(s)
Telstra Corporation Limited is the largest telecommunication company of Australia which performs the function of operating and building telecommunication networks mobile, markets voice and various other products and services. The business objectives of Telstra provide to establish an infrastructure business unit for driving performance. It further aims at building technology and content solutions that can be easily used by the customers (Johnston, 2016). The research objective is to evaluate the Telstra brand and make decisions regarding brand evaluation since branding is considered to be an important aspect of the contemporary business. The research objectives of Brand Health Tracking are relating to understanding and tracking the health of brands. It further aims at leveraging this tracking data for the purpose of generating and communicating actionable insights and recommendations in order to effectively improve the brand appeal and the resulting gain in market share. The research objectives also include assessing the snapshot of the brand’s health at a particular point of time (Lucarelli and Giovanardi, 2016).
Information required to fulfil the research objectives
The positioning of the brand must be ensured in the minds of the target customers. There are three levels involved in the brand positioning namely brand attributes, benefits and believes and values. Brand evaluation is considered to be equally important for large corporations like Telstra that have the capability of spending money for the purpose of researching for their brand. However, it is important for the small businesses as well. An objective sense of the value of the brand is provided by the brand evaluation along with providing a sense of the worth of the brand. It further assists in making the identification of the potential problems with the brand on timely basis (King and So, 2015).
The output expected by the research is to have an objective out look of the brand Telstra. Moreover, it will provide the business an opportunity to view the brand as a potential investor and therefore will assists in correcting the problems on time. The four major branding decisions are brand positioning, brand name selection, brand sponsorship, brand development. Since brand name selection have already been completed by Telstra as it is an established brand, rest of the branding decisions can still assist the company in increasing its market share and popularity (Van Rompay, Fransen and Borgelink, 2014).
The first and foremost information required for conducting brand research is determining the target audience. Target audience will assist Telstra in tailoring its mission and message for the purpose of meeting the exact needs. The target audience of Telstra is not limited as it targets everyone who has access to or can use the phones. Therefore, the target audience involves business people, students, farm workers and school kids. In other words, the target audience of Telstra involves almost every one of every age group. The identification of target audience of the services of Telstra will affect and benefit all the brand building areas, specifically marketing strategy (Bapat and Thanigan, 2016).
The next information needed is relating to the brand mission statement. The value provided by the business needs to be determined before building a brand that can be trusted by the target audience. The mission statement of Telstra provides that it builds content and technology solutions that are simple and easy to be used and is valued by the customers. It also strives to know and serve the customers in a better way than the competitors. It will assist in making brand building and other decision making processes (Mirzaei, Gray, Baumann, Johnson and Winzar, 2015).
The next information required will be of the other brands in the industry niche. The popular brands in the telecommunication industry of Australia are Vodafone Australia, NetComm Wireless, Queste Communication, TPG Telecom, Optus, etc. these brands have established their names in the industry and have gained popularity with the passage of time. Competitor branding information assists in framing the strategy and decision making relating to the brand. For example, brand competitor research spreadsheet can be created for making the comparison among different aspects of the brand (Hudson, Cárdenas, Meng and Thal, 2017). Then, the next factor to be considered is outlining the benefits or key qualities of Telstra which have the capability of providing it with the competitive advantage over the competitors in the telecommunication industry of Australia. Telstra targets the low- cost customers and have the advantage of being the leader of the Australian telecommunication industry (Le Roux, Thébault, Roy and Bobrie, 2016).
Information regarding the brand voice of the business will provide the manner in which the business will communicate with the customers. The brand voice can be informative, conversational, promotional, authoritative, service oriented, friendly, professional and technical. Such information will play an important part in branding decision making relating to brand positioning, brand name selection, brand sponsorship and brand development. The information collected for the research will further assist in brand development (Boenigk and Becker, 2016). Four choices are there with the companies for developing their brands namely line extensions, multi- brands, new brands and brand extensions. Line extensions can be defined as extension of an existing brand to new sizes, forms, ingredients, colors or flavors of an existing service category. It is a low risk and low cost way for introducing new services and products. Brand extension also makes the use of an existing brand name but it combines it with a new service or product category. Multi- brands can be referred to as marketing of various brands in a given product category. Distinct features can be established with the help of multi-branding that have the capability of appealing to diverse customer segments. On the other hand, the use of new brands is made when the power of existing brand names is diminishing (Veloutsou, 2015).
Telstra can select any of the above options as per its need. From the perspective of the business manager of Telstra, it is recommended that the company should go for brand extension which will assist in keeping the existing brand name along with combining it with new service category. Diversification is important for Telstra in order to maintain its competitive edge in the marketplace. Brand extension will allow Telstra to extend to a new service category while keeping its existing brand name (Moro, Rita and Vala, 2016). This will provide an instant recognition to the service introduced by Telstra and it will be accepted in the marketplace within the small period of time. From the business perspective, it will be beneficial as it will save the substantial advertising costs required to be incurred for establishing new brand. However, there is a risk associated with the adoption of brand extension approach by Telstra. The risk is related to the fact that such extension may confuse the image of the main brand. In case of failure of the extension, the attitude of the consumers towards the services carrying the same brand may be harmed. For example, brand extension of Heinz in the area of pet food failed but other products of the brand are still functioning well in the market. Similar example is that of Kellog’s which has extended its Special K healthy breakfast cereal brand into a complete cereals line along with the line of snacks, biscuits and nutrition bars (Hudson, Huang, Roth and Madden, 2016).
Describe the research design in relation to the chosen approach
Each aspect of brand health is significant in different way. There are a number of ways in which the effectiveness of the brand can be measured such as brand equity, brand awareness, brand reputation, brand positioning, brand delivery, employee engagement and brand equity (Gurhan- Canli, Hayran and Sarial- Abi, 2016). Brand awareness can be positive or negative therefore, prime consideration should be given to this fact. Working out all the factors together will provide an adequate conclusion to Telstra whether its brand is fine, unhealthy or thriving. This will further assist the business managers in taking the required actions. In case, the results provide that the brand is unhealthy then it means that it is actively causing damage to the organization. The measurement of the brand health care can be made with the help of different methods in order to gather data regarding the brand (Cawsey and Rowley, 2016).
Since the use of secondary data is made for the purpose of this assignment, documents and records appears to be an appropriate data collection approach. Record and document review covers the systematic collection of data from the current records. This data collection through secondary data is the data which is actually collected by someone else and is used for the purpose of this report. The use of this approach has been made in order to save time involved in the collection of primary data. The rationale behind the selection of this method is due to the fact that it has the capability of providing higher- quality and larger databases that are impossible to be collected by the individual researches on their own. The approach used involves data from internet searches, libraries and scholarly articles (Steenkamp, 2017).
The model recommended for brand health tracking is communication evaluation. Communication is considered to be important marketing stimuli which is used by the companies for the purpose of creating the desired results. In BHT, Telstra is required to track brand awareness, brand usage and experience and brand image. Under brand awareness, the points covered include recognition and recall. Under the heading brand usage and experience, the company will track total spending, purchase frequency and amount, brands purchased, brand change likelihood, future purchase intent and customer satisfaction and loyalty (Allwood, 2015). Moreover, under brand image, the company will consider brand attributes, brand attitudes, brand benefits, favorability, strength and uniqueness. The customer satisfaction is enhanced in accordance with the product performance, shopping experience, customer service, and future purchase intent. However, the organization behavior of the customers covers brand loyalty, brand purchases, purchase amount, purchase frequency, etc. (Van Horen and Pieters, 2017).
Communication evaluation method for brand heath tracking provides that disproportionate amount of marketing budgets are spent in order to communicate with the customers, both BTL and ATL. ATL stands for above the line and BTL stands for below the line. Above the line advertising can be defined as the type of advertising where the use of mass media is made in order to promote the brands and reaching out to the target customers. Below the line advertising can be defined as the type of advertising which is one to one and covers the distribution of handbills, pamphlets, promotions, stickers, brochures and banners (Zhong, Wang and Zhang, 2018).
The proposed methodology for brand health tracking in case of Telstra is media- neutral, which is not inclined towards a specific medium. It will accurately measure the impact of communication across media, without giving any favor to a specific medium. All mediums will be covered in this methodology such as internet, radio, television, newspaper/ magazine and shops/ outdoor (Rahman and Areni, 2014). The proposed methodology further provides feedback to Telstra enabling them to give more preference to the advertisements that play an important part in branding. It further provides that quick modification or withdrawal of the ads does not work in the favor of the brands. This aspect is basically related to the effectiveness and efficiency. Quality of media planning is attempted to be captured by efficiency, i.e. the number of customers that are actually are regarding the advertisement. On the other hand, effectiveness aims at the creation of desired results among the target audience of Telstra (Rahman and Areni, 2016).
Furthermore, Telstra can also make the use of differentiation model for brand health tracking. The world is over crowded with brands that have unique and distinctive personality which, in turn, poses threat and creates a challenge for the rand Telstra. Business and brands are considered to be “look- a- likes” by the customers. Differentiation method is the best method which can be adopted by Telstra as it will assist it in making the people aware of the business and make it a desirable brand. Since almost all age group and category of people belong to the target audience of Telstra, it will be beneficial to spread awareness and it will certainly spread slowly and gradually. Various angles will be used for the purpose of analyzing the brand image data such as normalized scores, absolute endorsements, perceptual maps through correspondence analysis, share of endorsements, category driver analysis through Jaccard analysis (Song, Sheinin and Yoon, 2016).
Therefore, the brand decision making should be based on the basis of communication evaluation and differentiation methods and models for brand health tracking. It will further assist in assessing the brand image in the market and will allow taking the needed decisions in order to establish its position in the market.
Therefore, it can be concluded that the positioning of the brand must be ensured in the minds of the target customers. Secondary data collection approach has been selected in this report for the purpose of performing brand health tracking and brand evaluation. The recommended methods involve communication evaluation and differentiation method on the basis of which Telstra can make brand related decisions. Business and brands are considered to be “look- a- likes” by the customers. Differentiation method is the best method which can be adopted by Telstra as it will assist the company in making the people aware of the business. This will further provide answers regarding questions relating to customer behavior and satisfaction. Therefore, the Brand Health Tracking (BHT) approach plays a significant role in business as it is a strategic tool for measuring the health of the brand. This is due to the fact that customized tracking surveys are needed for evaluating the different issues faced by the brand.