The AsiaTravel is facing the following problems regarding its brand value to customers: * Its brand name is merely the generic version of its services, therefore price is seen as its main competitive advantage in the travel market; * Associations of the brand have not been clearly defined and conveyed to customers, therefore their perception about its brand name is not sufficiently strong for them to recognize and recall this brand among other alternatives; * Information on past experiences customers have acquired from the use of the company’s services have not been adequately collected and assessed. This makes difficult for asiatravel.com to identify the benefits and value its brand has already been shaped in customers’ mind. * Although the company’s name reflects quite obvious the market segmentation on which it is focusing i.e. Asia as a whole, specific target markets and sub-segments have not been identified.
* The company has not adequately identified and evaluated its competitors. As a consequence, their knowledge about its competitors, its points of parity and points of difference is limited. Therefore, its brand positioning is not so strong even though the company has great intrinsic potentials in bringing its brand to be favourable and unique in the travel market. * The company has not adequately invested in developing tools to conduct market surveys; to develop effective marketing strategies, appropriate marketing programs and proper marketing communication to build its brand equity. 1. Costumer-based brand equity
Keller (2003) defined customer-based brand equity as “the differential effect that brand knowledge has on customer response to the marketing of that brand”. When customers respond more positively to a product/service and the way it is marketed when its brand is recognized than when it is not then this brand is said to have a positive CBBE. On the contrary, if consumers react less favourably to marketing activity for the brand compared with an unnamed or deceptively named version of the product/service then this brand is said to have negative CBBE . Brand knowledge consists of two key components: brand awareness and brand image. Brand awareness is related to the strength of the brand presence in the consumer. mind.
Acceding to Keller (2003), brand awareness can be built by increasing the familiarity of the brand via repeated exposure (for brand recognition) and strong associations with the category of product/service and other relevant purchase or consumption cues (brand recall). High service quality, reasonable prices, safety, diversity, flexibility are relevant associations for Asia travel.com to take into account for the improvement of their brand awareness. Brand image defined as the customer’s perception of the overall quality or superiority of a product/service with regards to its intended purpose, relative to alternatives (Krishnakumar, 2009).
To know perceived quality, it is very useful for marketers to identify and measure the main aspect that includes the characteristics of the product/service to which the brand is attached. Quality is the vital strength of the brand especially in the field of travel services. This is a very relevant association that Asiatravel.com should develop as a crucial component of their marketing programs to build brand equity without changing their name and logo.
Furthermore, apart from quality, it is essential for marketers to create strong, favourable and exceptional brand associations in order to build positive CBBE. The next strongest brand attitude and benefit associations are built from word-of –mouth (friends/family) and/or non-commercial information.. As a result, marketers of Asiatravel.com should identify the impact of those different sources of information by managing and adequately accounting for them in the process of designing communication strategies to build its brand equity.
2. Brand positioning
Keller (2003) defined brand positioning is “identifying the optimal location of a brand in the minds of a group of consumers or market segment so that they think about the products/services offered by this brand in the right or desired way thus maximizing potential benefits to the firm”.
It is important to identify the consumer target since different consumers may have different brand knowledge structures thus having different perception and preferences about this brand. Market segment comprises of cluster of individuals with similar needs and consumer behaviour. It is essential for Asiatravel.com to refer to this marketing segmentation scheme in order to design marketing programs that can attract one or more appropriate segments.
Identification of main competitors
It is necessary to know the competition before the company starts positioning itself. This includes players who offer the same product/service among a larger portfolio of solutions. SWOT analysis could be a good start for Asiatravel.com to do the exercise of identifying its main competitors.
Point of similarity and point of difference
PoDs could be defined as the way consumers think for a given brand. Those are what make the brand be prominent from competition In the case of Asiatravel.com the most visible association of this kind is their “3 in 1” product. This difference can be achieved more convincingly by better quality, better consumer service, predictable comfort and amusement, absolute safety, competitive prices and flexibility (wide range of choices suited to customers’ needs). PoPs can be classified into two types: category and competitive. Category PoPs is important if the brand is looking for an extension into a new category.
Competitive PoPs are the brand associations that are designed to be the competitors’ PoDs in order to negate their PoDs (Keller, 2003). Positioning mapping is an effective instrument for asiatravel.com to identify its PoDs and PoPs in order to determine proper position of its brand in its defined market segments In general, brand positioning is an extremely crucial but highly difficult step in establishing CBBE. To achieve good brand positioning, asiatravel.com needs to seriously look at target market, knowing competitors, PoDs and PoPs in their strategic re-branding process.
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