Monday, March 19, 2012

Content challenge: sources of brand equity for "On the Run"

So I've been thinking about brand equity. It's part of what I want to work through with our students. Often brand equity turns up as a number on a company balance sheet somehow. For instance, people are quoting that the Coke brand is worth about $60bn. When we think of it at customer level it's referred to as

"The differential effect that brand knowledge has on consumer response to marketing efforts related to the brand" Keller 1993

If balance sheet equity is made up of operational assets such as real estate, plant & equipment, finished goods etc, then the assets that constitute brand equity sit out there, in the market, as consumer knowledge


So when I think about the consumer based brand equity for the "On the Run" brand I think of the theoretical list of things that Keller says contributes to brand equity.

 "On the Run" is a retailing brand that's been around for maybe ten or so years - not sure. The first co-branding I remember was with BP - so it was originally "BP On the Run" in my mind.

Anyhoo, in capitalising on gauranteed floor traffic from fuel retail forecourts, "On the Run" entered the "Convenience groceries" category as a slickly branded, highly visible player. Fairly early in the piece, then, "BP On the Run" achieved the first of the two Brand Awareness components of Brand Equity.


Yeh baby. By co-branding with BP, who were already strong inservice station convenience purchase, and because of existing high visibility outdoor advertising, people pretty quickly came to recognise "on the run" as a place where you might get any number of a range of convenience items. I've recently noticed the "On the Run" tag applied to other fuel suppliers - this (was it "Mobil") across from the "Maid and Magpie" now sports the logo.

So, also due to their extensive co-branding efforts (Subway, Brumby's, C coffee, Smokemart) when a consumer is thinking of a quick way to get hold of Subway Sandwiches, Bakery items, Coffee or Cigarettes, the co brand category cue combines with the "On the Run, We NEVER Close" brand promise to give high recall, both "top of mind" and subsequent.

Left out of many branding discussions is the broad based measure of Brand Salience, which largely relates to the number of buying triggers that are directly associated with the brand compared to competitors. I'll talk about salience later this semester.

Keller's next point is one about associations.

Through a fair amount of advertising (outdoor, instore and some TV) for the parent brand as well as the key brand, "On the Run" has (I argue) fairly strong associations with availability (we never close), speed of service ("On the Run") plus all of the category promises of the co-brands (Sandwiches, Bakery, Cigarettes)

These things are all pretty positive things, and at least before you get to see whether they can deliver or not, they make for a pretty good brand promise.

That's a tough one. But the overall brand promise could be argued as unique. Here's my angle. In an earlier job down near West Terrace I would need to go into the office and do a little work on a weekend. I had to take my 4 and 6 year old kids with me. I would buy them off by promising id take them to "The everything shop". It worked. Bringing a set of strong brands onto your one stop is - possibly - a form of uniqueness.

To be honest, the proponents of the "Brand Salience" argument aren't too enamoured with the idea of uniqueness. Often many brands compete as lookalikes. I know that often the Coles/Shell joint venture or the Woolworths plus petrol (at least Hackney) are pretty "everything shops", but perhaps the "On the Run" stable is a little unique.

Peregrine Corporation have build a brand with high brand equity and I don't see them going backwards. Good on them.

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