Brand congruence is a concept that relates to positioning and brand equity when it comes to the target market. Among the world’s major companies, some depict high congruency levels while others show low congruency levels. Their orientation in terms of congruency levels seems to be informed by varying aspects. However, all firms irrespective of their congruency levels need to revisit their strategies with regard to differentiation and ensure that they are using best strategies given their specific context.
Creating a brand that consumers can identify with is one of the key things in the success of any firm. The positioning of a brand and enforcing brand equity can go a long way in determining a firm’s success. Different firms have varying degrees of congruency which influence their target market. With a good understanding of their unique contexts, firms can be able to determine the kind of marketing and positioning that can help them grow their market base and develop further.
On the other hand, positioning is a crucial component during the launch of firm or its product in to the market. It helps paint a clear picture of the product’s image in the mind of the target customer. The concept of congruence is important when talks of position a product. With the positioning of a product in the market, there is need for congruence to take effect top ensure that the product remains relevant in the market. For a firm to maintain the view consumers have of the brand it has created, it needs to ensure that any mistakes or activities that may raise doubts in the minds of consumers are avoided completed. A simple action such as recalling of some of its products due to concerns of defectiveness can cause panic among consumers making it experience an immediate and unprecedented drop in sales. Such a situation may be hard to recover from and lead great losses with far reaching consequences that may prove difficult to recover from.
In building any business, brand equity is critical a component. Firms that are able to successfully build brand equity comprehend its significance to the bottom line (Knox, 2004). Building a positive, brand equity takes patience, a lot of effort, and time. One of the most important aspects in relation to brand equity is congruence. A firm should strive to maintain a positive brand experience for its customers. Congruence is important in retaining a firm’s current customers as it strives to acquire new ones and grow its market share.
Both positioning and brand equity involve creation of a cetain image in the mind of a target consumer as opposed to physical appearance that a company puts on its product. Once a firm successfully positioned its product in its target market, it creates a brand equity from which it stands to benefit immensely provided there is congruency. A company needs to be careful about its future decisions regarding various aspects of its products such as pricing and packaging. Such factors will influence the products performance, media recommendations and references among others (Severi & Ling, 2013). However, congruency does not imply that a firm employs the same strategies that have worked for it before in the hope that consumers will still have the same view of the product. Consumers’ tastes and preferences change over time and as such firms need to be updated at all times about the specific changes in the needs of its target market. Consumers have the power to choose what to believe in. With the stiff competition experienced in various markets nowadays, it presents firms with the challenge of congruency that calls for innovativeness in the way they present their products to the market.
Brand congruency varies from one firm’s product to the next with some depicting high brand congruency while others show very low brand congruency. Companies with high congruency tend to create a certain strong and attractive image regarding their product (Parker, 2009). This means that a consumer who comes across any of its products attachés the same value as that of any other of its products. In the case of brands with low congruency levels, customers have varying perceptions when it comes to each of their products since the firm tends to produce different goods for different markets with quality and price varying with each item. In such cases, it is up to the relevant firm to provide customers with the specifics regarding each products quality, features and prices. Examples of firms that show high brand congruency include Apple Inc, Mercedes Benz and Microsoft. On the hand, some of the major companies with brands showing low congruency include Samsung Corporation, Huawei Inc. and Toyota limited.
Looking at Apple’s products, it is for one to take note of the high degree of congruency. All their products bear a similar logo and appearance irrespective of the markets for which they are intended. All their products are of high quality and expensive most of the time considered a luxury meant for the high end market. The products also use similar software. Mercedes Benz and Microsoft products also have various aspects of similarity in their products always choosing to maintain certain quality standards and feature so that their customers always know what to expect (Parker, 2009). Samsung products on the other hand vary tremendously especially when it comes to their range mobile phones. They range from simple cheap phones to the high end sophisticated ones with a numerous features and applications. Another important factor in their congruence is the design of their products. They seem to produce similar products in terms of appearance but of different quality for different markets. The kinds of phones they sell to African markets are of inferior quality compared to the ones they sell to the Western markets. Huawei products depict trends similar to those of Samsung when it comes to its range of cell phones products. Toyota limited produces cars that also vary greatly with regard to different features and in terms of functionality.
There are several key elements in creating brand value for customers. One of them is impression. A customer needs to like whatever the product is offering and be attracted by it in them to make a purchase. The second element is responsiveness of the product to customer’s specific requirements. A firm needs to tailor its product to the customer’s specifications. The third aspect is that of interaction which implies that the product is should be able to deliver on the promises it makes to its consumers (Parker, 2009). The last key element in creating brand value is resilience. Customers need assurance that the product minds their future and it will able to adapt to changes that come along the way.
The three companies with high congruency levels should do a proper research on their markets to make use that they are not locking out customers who could contribute immensely to their growth. On the other hand, those with low congruency levels should rethink their strategy and find out whether approach to product differentiation is the best or may be if increasing their congruency levels will make things better for them.
Clearly, the proper positioning of a brand with respect to its brand personality is a significant source of differentiation for firms. Sometimes there exist a link between the personalities of brands and human personality traits. The managers of the three products depicting high congruency levels seem to understand the strong image that their consumers have of their products and have set certain limits with respect to the quality and features of their products.
Knox, S. (2004). Positioning and Branding Your Organisation. Journal of Product & Brand Management, 13(2), 105-115.
Parker, B. T. (2009). A Comparison of Brand Personality and Brand User-imagery Congruence. Journal of Consumer Marketing, 26(3), 175-184.
Severi, E., & Ling, K. C. (2013). The Mediating Effects of Brand Association, Brand Loyalty, Brand Image and Perceived Quality on Brand Equity. Asian Social Science, 9(3), 48-63.