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  • Subject area(s): Marketing
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  • Published on: 14th September 2019
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How should the company move forward on branding?

There are many factors Wiikano Orchards should consider before they choose a branding strategy.  First & foremost, they should understand their product.  Their product at the most basic level is Apple Juice from 100% fresh-pressed apples.  We consider this an intriguing differentiator as none of the larger independent grocers offered juices made from 100% fresh-pressed apples.  In an age where consumers are looking for healthier alternatives and less added sugar, this product offers a no sugar added product that hydrates and increases energy. This product falls in the category of Convenience Products.  Our book defines these as products which the consumer is not willing to expend any effort to evaluate prior to purchase.  They are frequently purchased usually with little thought.  Making branding all the more important.  The case told us that the majority of consumers are price driven, so if Wiikano does not have the best price, it will have to find another way to differentiate its Apple Juice.  The only way to do this is to create brand awareness and communicate its product through its branding. Wiikano Orchards branding will have to signify the quality of Apple Juice and enable customers to differentiate their juice from others, it will have to protect its price point against the competition it will face, and finally it will have to create value for their company.  

What should the brand name be - Nepi Orchards, Tuwa, or an alternate new name?

Tuwa is the brand Wiikano produced and sold fresh-pressed apple juice for decades.  It is a known brand in the midwestern United States.  It constituted only about 20% of apple juice sales by most of its major retailers.  The majority of sales were private label brands.  Grocers felt like Tuwa fit a niche market for fresh-pressed apple juice, but there was little or no brand loyalty among consumers or trade customers.  It is based primarily on price.  A survey presented by the case described its current packaging as  “generic,” “cheap,” “outdated,” and “boring.”  

Nepi Orchards is the brand name proposed by Tahki Yazzie.  It is a brand that emphasizes the orchard and its Shawnee Heritage with the name Nepi meaning “water.”  There is no data yet for this option, so no proof of concept.  However, the brand pledges described in the proposal would be very impactful among the customers.  To be Impactful, to be distinct from its competitors, and to be authentic would touch on the selling points in apple juice as well as beverages as a whole.  It would take a more focused approach on the benefits customers want.  It will emphasize health benefits, points of difference and parity, as well as its Native American roots and values.  

If Wiikano were to choose an alternate new name.  We felt this would not be in line with the brand pledges of the proposal.  We felt the proposal would better reach customers but with the name that represented their Native American Values and roots.  Any other name may be as authentic to the Wiikano Orchards family.

After evaluating each of these factors, we felt the decision should be based on which brand would have the most impact on brand equity and better connect with customer's wants and needs.  We felt that Wiikano had no choice but to go through with the proposal's marketing strategy.  The brand pledges that Tahki came up with line up most with the customer's wants and needs.  Then we came at the decision to rebrand to Nepi Orchards.  We felt that staying with Tuwa, Wiikano could be weighed down or held back by current perceptions of Tuwa.  People already associate Tuwa with certain feelings that would be an obstacle in the brand pledges Wiikano would be trying to push.  We also felt like it would be hard to justify the price increase to wholesalers and in part to customers with the name Tuwa.  The increase in price may alienate what little brand loyal customers it actually has and could result in some pushback that would be difficult to overcome.  A fresh start or blank slate would have zero bias coming into the point of sale decision and could be beneficial creating new sentiments about the brand.  Nepi Orchards would not only come from Native American heritage, but could be a more localized name from the Shawnee Tribe that inhabited throughout the midwest.  The combination of the factors that better connect with values and the elimination of negative perceptions that consumers already have about the brand brought us to our decision that Nepi Orchards should be the brand Wiikano moves forward as.

Discuss implications of your suggested brand name on the brand equity of Wiikano Orchards.

Rebranding to Nepi Orchards would diminish any value that Wiikano Orchards already has in the Tuwa Brand.  However, while there was some assets that Tuwa could have brought to the table, we also felt there were also some liabilities linked to the brand that would be difficult to shake.  

By changing from Tuwa, this would negatively impact Brand Awareness initially. However, the proposal included a digital marketing makeover with a redesigned website and an increased social media presence to reach consumers and provide content about Wiikano and Nepi Orchards Apple Juice.  Something that Tuwa never had.  With the promotional strategy outlined in the proposal would greatly improve Brand Awareness and the familiarity of Nepi Orchards.  Because familiarity is just the third highest reason for buying a specific brand of apple juice in a survey provided by the case, the risk of losing the value of Tuwa's brand is not as high and a reasonable risk to take. It could also be seen as a clean slate from negative perceptions of value due to current packaging.

The proposal also laid out a way Nepi Orchards could improve brand loyalty.  Despite losing the familiarity of Tuwa, it would use Rewards Points and promotional items that could generate a loyal fanbase that consistently purchases Nepi Orchards Apple Juice.

Re-branding would improve on its Brand Associations as well.  Tahki's findings were that a majority of consumers bought a grocery product associated with a cause and that an even greater majority wanted to use products and services that support a cause.  Her proposal laid out a plan that would showcase their social responsibility and demonstrate their Authentic Native American Roots & Values with a portion of their proceeds going towards select Native American charities.

Finally, a rebrand to Nepi Orchards would positively impact the perceived value of the brand.  The case told us that price & perceived quality are the top reasons for consumers buying a specific brand of apple juice.  It also told us that people generally bought juice based on health benefits, flavor, and perceived quality versus other types of drinks.  We feel a new brand would help customers determine the offering's value.  Wiikano would not have to shake off the current stigma of cheap and generic.  It could start fresh by communicating and emphasizing its distinct, meaningful health benefits as well as its family-owned/Native American values with a new brand, and not worry about any pushback from consumers who see it as the same item with new packaging.

All in all, we felt that re-branding overwhelmingly increased the values and brand equity that connected with consumers the best.  It was the basis of our decision to rebrand to Nepi Orchards.

How should the packaging be?

Packaging is an important brand element and communication tool for consumers.  Because their customers are making quick, swift decisions based on the category of product that Apple Juice falls under, it is important that they have a more aesthetically pleasing packaging that also clearly communicates the quality of their product.  Based on the results of the focus group the case presented, the current packaging was deemed “cheap,” “generic,” “outdated,” and “boring” by consumers. The packaging will need to be updated for that reasoning.  Also an update is required simply because we are changing the brand to Nepi Orchards.  We would go with Tahki's suggestion for Preferred Packaging, including a black bottle cap with black label background.  A large, off centered apple tree with an artistic rendering resembling beadwork, which would display Native American roots and the beauty of Native American culture.  Because of consumer's interests, It would also need to communicate the quality and health benefits that differentiate itself from other Apple Juices, with terms like “100% Apple Juice,” “Premium & All-Natural,” “100% Fresh Pressed Apples,” and an “Excellent Source of Vitamin C.”   The packaging should demonstrate to consumers that this is a healthy choice for their family.  Packaging should also include terms like “Made from U.S. Family Orchards” to give consumers the feeling they are buying local.  We feel that the increase of $0.01 per unit would be acceptable in the re-packaging of Nepi Orchards Apple Juice.

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