3. Product Differentiation: What is the typical SUV consumer?
An SUV consumer is typically a male between the ages of 35-49. He is likely married but does not have children yet. His has probably completed part of college, or is a college graduate. He typically has an occupation other than being self-employed or a professional/managerial job. The household income of an SUV consumer is just below $50,000 a year up to $74,999 a year. Their most important reason for selecting an SUV is its four-wheel drive capability. They mostly use their SUV for running daily errands and transportation to/from work. They also use their SUV for pleasure driving. Research showed that SUV consumers in the 1990s wanted both real and fantastical experiences, instead of being concerned about status symbols or the collection of possessions that showed wealth and prestige. According to Yankelovich Monitor survey about retail shopping satisfaction, consumers dislike shopping for cars the most. Car shopping was ranked the most anxiety provoking and least satisfying of any of the retail experiences studied.
5. Brand Positioning: What are the three brand positioning alternatives from the case? What are the pros and cons associated with each alternative?
The first brand position that was briefly considered for the Discovery was the position of being The More Affordable Range Rover. The benefits of this positioning were that they could use the established Range Rover brand that SUV consumers in America understood and trusted, but for a more affordable price. They decided against this brand positioning because of the experience they had with the Range Rover Hunter. In focus groups that they conducted, it seemed that there was a market for a less appointed vehicle so they created the Range Rover Hunter. But after the Hunter was introduced to the market in 1989, they realized that consumers viewed the Hunter as a “cheaper stripped down Range Rover” and it ended up being a failure.
The second brand-positioning alternative that was considered was positioning the Discovery as The Definitive Family 4×4. Positioning the Discovery this way would stress the credentials it had and portray it as a versatile family vehicle with top of the line safety qualities and 1990s style. The benefits of positioning the Discovery this way was that it focused on the market segment that was looking for a vehicle for their family, which was different from how they positioned the Range Rover, so they were reaching a total new audience. The negative aspects of this brand positioning was that they might be alienating the consumer base that they had already created with the Range Rover because that audience was looking for more of the rugged off-roading brand.
The third brand-positioning alternative that was considered for the Discovery was the position as A Logical Evolution of the Legendary Land Rover. Positioning the Discovery this way would make it look like the latest generation of the authentic 4×4 brand, and stressed ruggedness, off-roading credentials, and brand heritage in the advertising. This positioning would make the Discovery the all-purpose centerpiece of the product line. The benefits of positioning the Discovery this way was that it still had the same feel as the rest of the Land Rover vehicles, but was more versatile in its uses. The negative aspects of this alternative was that it was a lot like the brand positioning of all Land Rovers other vehicles and different offer any new versatility to the brand and was marketing to the same audience that they had been with all the other vehicles.
6. Strategies for Growth of a Niche Brand: What strategic considerations are involved in moving this brand forward? HINT: Your recommendations for moving the brand forward (and allocating funds, retail strategy) must be consistent with your positioning strategy. Think about how you want your target market to perceive your product.
After considering the different options of strategic plans discussed in the case, we have decided on several strategies that we would recommend as the best way to keep the brand moving forward. We believe that the best brand-positioning option is positioning the Discovery as A Logical Evolution of the Legendary Range Rover because advertising the Discovery this way would make it the latest generation of the 4×4 brand and would be targeted towards the market segment looking for ruggedness and off-road capability, while maintaining the familiar brand heritage and reputation (pg. 8).
We have several recommendations for allocating funds across marketing mix elements. We recommend that advertising for the Land Rover brand should be around 30% of the marketing budget and the advertisements themselves should be focused more on individual models in the Land Rover line, with an equally distributed level of support for each of the vehicles in the line. Advertising this way will support our brand position because it will show the evolution of the vehicles within the Land Rover brand. Our recommendations for corporate sponsorships and public relation programs is to continue the Camel Trophy Sponsorship and showcase the Range Rover at the event to showcase the most popular vehicle within the models available under the Land Rover brand.
The “La Ruta Maya Expedition” is the only other major public relation campaign that we would recommend continuing with because it is different from the campaigns that have been used in the past, which will help support, the new evolved branding position. When it comes to experience marketing programs, we recommend that Land Rover decrease the amount of spending used on these programs because the programs barely break-even and often are operating below capacity (pg. 12). We would, however, recommend expanding these experiential marketing programs beyond the driving schools and focus more on newsletters and creating a site on the World Wide Web. We believe that the funding used on auto shows, dealer and employee training programs, and consumer research activities should be continued because these are fundamental parts of marketing and are still important moving forward with the new brand positioning (pg. 11).
Although we do believe that the concept of the Land Rover Centre could be a great move for the Land Rover brand in the future, we wouldn’t recommend implementing this concept at this time for several reasons. First, creating a new brand imagine should be the main focus of every decision that we make, and even though the Land Rover Centre could support the new brand image there are less expensive and less risky ways of supporting the new evolved brand image. Second, many dealers feel that Land Rover’s sale levels are not high enough to justify the $2 million investment risk (pg.13). Lastly, the Land Rover Centre concepts requires that the dealer network would have to be significantly increased, which would deteriorate the many benefits that they have by having exclusivity in the marketplace (pg. 13).