Imagine you are selling your products, you have a fair client database and you are turning a profit. “Good” you´d say, but what if you could go from “good” to “GREAT”? The only thing you have to do is focus on managing your companies “brand equity” through email marketing. Would you choose the blue or the red pill?

The blue pill is a metaphor for not willing to embrace an alternative way of doing business. If you decide to take the blue pill, nothing changes you will wake up tomorrow and it will be business as usual.

The red pill is a metaphor for being open to embracing the truth of reality. You decide to take the red pill you will be offered a different view of reality. In this reality it’s no longer about products, these are perishable, but instead everything evolves about building a brand, a fortress with which you defend your business interests. The goal of building a brand is to make customers loyal, generate “brand awareness”, establish a firm perceived quality and maintain a controlled pool of brand associations

What is brand equity?

Brand equity is a measure of the brands strength within the market place. It’s a long term strategic tool that will indirectly drive sales and brand value.

The four dimensions of brand equity are:

Brand loyalty

Perceived quality

Brand awareness

Brand associations

Brand equity management initially requires a small investment but the rewards will be many times greater; marketing campaigns will be more efficient, brand loyalty can be generated which leads to higher margins which results on a trading leverage with the option of brand extensions lay at your feet.

Brand Loyalty

The blue pill

You will have stable number of rotating customers, some might be repeat customers but the majority will be indifferent about choosing between you and your competitors.

The red pill (building a brand)

Customers want to come back to you; they value your offers, they talk about your brand on social media and recommend you to their friends and families, they visit your online store more often and are more receptive to your communications. Your marketing costs could be reduced; new customers are attracted, non-customers are reassured of a high quality and allow the organization time to respond to competitive threads as loyal customers will take longer to switch brands than non-loyal customers.

LoyaltyAmong marketers it is well know that it is 5 times cheaper to keep a customer than to acquire a new one, hence generating brand loyalty can be a cost effective way to invest (part of) your marketing budget. Rewarding customer loyalty means that, once they have connected the dialogue you can nurture the relationship with further personalized offerings to pave the road to them becoming a brand ambassador.

Consumer spending is 46% higher with companies that offer loyalty programs (http://www.mycustomer.com). Email marketing has proven an effective brand loyalty building tool. Studies have shown that loyal customers actually want to receive these marketing emails. This way email marketing becomes a customer relationship management tool with which they are stimulated to become loyal and perform repeat purchases.

Brand Awareness

The blue pill

Only a small part of your customer base will really know who you are and what you do. The majority is only vaguely aware of your existence and has no reason, besides convenience, to buy from you.

The red pill (building a brand)

awarenessYour customers know who you are, what you do, what your company’s values are and what your personality is. When considering buying they will immediately think of you and they are open to learning more about your activities.

Brand awareness is the ease with which you’re public is able to recall your brand, the ideal situation is where the brand in question is the one that comes to mind first when dealing with a related subject, this is known as the “top of mind” brand. The advantage of having such a position in the mind of the consumer is that familiarity leads to a likeability of the brand in question; this in consequence means that further associations can be linked more easily to the brand.

Generating brand awareness is essential because those who have your brand as their “top of mind” brand are by default more committed to the brand. They are significantly more likely to consider your brand for recommendation and purchase. So the importance is clear, but how can email marketing be used to achieve this?
Periodical (monthly) email newsletters are an efficient way to keep reminding your audience of your brands existence and stay on top in terms of awareness. However it is important to provide relevant and tempting information/offers in the monthly newsletters in order to generate brand loyalty.

Perceived Quality

Blue pill

Your customers will see your products or services for what they are, if you raise the price they will swiftly find a substitute.

Red Pill

Your consumers perceive your products to be worth more than what it says on the price tag, the brand holds a clear position in the market and they won’t switch brands easily even if the price is raised.

Perceived quality is the perception of the overall quality of a product or service. Superiority in quality perception gives customer a reason to buy, it differentiates and positions a brand and elevates the price customers are willing to pay for the product or service.

Perception

The aim is to make the customer perceive the organization offers the right products for them, at or below the price that they are willing to pay for this. Using the right email marketing software and intelligent use of data mining it is possible to give the consumer a unique offering that goes beyond their expectations. Other factors that influence the perceived quality are the actual service and product quality.

Partially the perceived quality is evaluated on whether the email message is visually attractive or not. Email marketing software allows marketeers to build personalized templates that portray a high level of professionalism and a consistent image. This visual aspect leads way to an augmented quality being perceived as this becomes recognizable and part of the brand conversation.

Brand Associations

Blue pill

Your customers have little or no control over the memories and associations they make to your brand, you can’t steer the boat through the river of associations, merely paddle along.

Red Pill

The yacht is yours to sail, your show your customers what you want them to see; you assist them so they create the memories you want. They know exactly who you are and what your position is within the market.

A brand association is any memory that links to a brand. A strong collection of such associations creates positive feelings and attitudes towards the brand; it helps process new information, retrieves already stored information, helps differentiate and position a brand and gives customers a reason to buy the product.

Creating brand associations is about choosing how you want to position your firm within the market and the methods that are to be employed to achieve this. Once this has been decided an email marketing campaign offers the possibility of engraving these in the target audience’s minds through multiple messages to be repeated over a determined period of time.

Associations Email marketing is a very strong tool that can be used very effectively to generate and manage brand associations. Email marketing has the advantage that images can be included within the email messages. The advantage of this is that these can provide very strong imagery that, if used correctly, can reinforce your message and leave a lasting memory associated with the brand.
When employing email marketing for building brand associations it also is important to be consistent with the style of the content, the topics and the structure of the content. The writing style is important because it portrays the personality of the company. Based on this recipients will decide whether or not they associate themselves with the company. A company that sells skate gear will have a different style than a high end consumer electronics company. If the topics are relevant the recipients are more likely to engage with the content, this allows them to positively associate the brand to helpfulness and knowledgeable.

Red or blue pill?

Blue is business as usual while red is a blue print to achieving your strategic marketing objectives. Managing your webshop´s brand equity is something that can be very beneficial. SEOshop offers a range of different apps in its App Store that can help the merchant influence each of the brand equity segments in a positive way.

Focusing on building brand equity will require an investment of time but the potential return on investment is huge. If everything goes according to plan you could increase your margins, increase sales and repeat purchases.

Webstore merchants have a wide range of email marketing tools available to them that. In the case of the SEOshop App Store these include connectors to email marketing software such as MailChimp, Copernica, Ininbox, CleverReach, Campaign Monitor and more… All these can be used to create smart email marketing campaigns which can be used to manage brand equity.

Top image via Héctor García (cc)

Robin de Wit

Robin de Wit

Author

Robin de Wit is the B2B Product Marketer for the SEOshop App and Theme Store. Marketing duties include content, digital and email marketing. SEOshop is the leading European e-commerce platform serving over 8500 webstore merchants.