Image Differentiation

Even when competing offers look the same, buyers may perceive a difference based on company or brand images. Thus companies work to establish images that differentiate them from competitors. A company or brand image should convey a singular and distinctive message that communicates the product's main benefits and positioning. Developing a strong and distinctive image calls for creativity and hard work. A company cannot implant an image in the public's mind overnight using only a few advertisements. If 'IBM means service', this image must be supported by everything the company says and does.

Symbols can provide strong company or brand recognition and image differentiation. Companies design signs and logos that provide instant recognition. They associate themselves with objects or characters that symbolize quality or other attributes, such as the Mercedes star, the Johnnie Walker character, the Miehelin man or the Lecostc crocodile. The company might build a brand around some famous person, as with perfumes such as Passion (Elizabeth Taylor) and Uninhibited (Cher), Koine companies even become associated with colours, such as Kodak (yellow) or Benson & Hedges (gold).

The chosen symbols must be communicated through advertising that conveys the company or brand's personality. The ads attempt to establish a story

Table 10.1 I

Allied Breweries

pub segments




dry pub


Public housing estates or old terraced housing

Housing estates

Town centre or suburban high street

Prosperous villages or remote country sites

Customer demographics

Generally males of all ages

Men and women aged 18 to 44

Aged 18 to 24. Single sex groups at lunch-time

Aged 35 plus as couples or with family Managerial and professional



Work within

From 5-mile

Five miles or over


a mile of the pub




Walk or car

Public transport


Consumer behaviour

Price conscious, -shop locally, hut do not drink at home

Price conscious, like pub games

Fjishion-eonscious and like background noise

Dislike pub games and background noise

Readership i

Popular newspapers

Popular newspapers

Music press

Quality newspapers


Thirty per cent standard lager and white spirits

Beer, wine and whisky

Standard lagers plus some premium lagers and spirits

Drinks only 60 per cent of sales


Basic lunch-lime sandwiches

A little more than the local community pubs


Appreciate good food

line, a mood, a performance level - something distinctive about the company or brand. The atmosphere of the physical space in which the organization produces or delivers its products and services can be another powerful image generator. Hyatt hotels has become known for its atrium lobbies and TGI Friday's restaurants for American memorabilia. Thus a bank that wants to distinguish itself as the 'friendly bank' must choose the right building and interior design - layout, colours, materials and furnishings - to reflect these qualities.

A company can also create an image through the types of event it sponsors. Perriur, the bottled water company, became known by laying out exercise tracks and sponsoring health sports events. Other organizations have identified themselves closely with cultural events, such as orchestral performances and art exhibits. Still other organizations support popular causes. For example, Heinz gives money to hospitals and Quaker gives food to the homeless.

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