Brand positioning is at the heart of marketing strategy. It is the act of designing the company's offer and image so that it occupies a distinct place in the target customer's minds (Keller, 2013). Since the New World Group was first founded in 1963, there have been 138 stores open across New Zealand (Foodstuffs, n.d.). New World was the first American styled supermarket Foodstuffs launched and are proud to be 100% Kiwi owned and operated. Although independently owned, Foodstuffs Limited acts as the Federation body for the two North and South co-operatives providing a number of services such as co-ordination of policy and representing the collective interests of the Foodstuffs companies (Foodstuffs, n.d.).
Countdown is an even larger supermarket than New World, serving 2.5 million consumers every week. First opening its doors in May of 1981 in Northlands, Christchurch, the supermarket giant has currently 184 supermarkets spread across New Zealand. Although being known as Countdown to consumers, it is apart of Woolworths New Zealand which is a subsidiary of the public-listed Australian company, Woolworths Limited (Woolworths Group, 2017). Woolworths New Zealand is the country's largest private sector employer, with 18,500 New Zealanders employed throughout the stores, support offices, processing plants and distribution centres (Countdown, 2018).
To understand a company's target audience, market segmentation is necessary to know how to best utilise company's resources, helps a firm's ability to satisfy customers needs and how to best market their products (Journal of Marketing, 1969). The four main segmentation strategies are geographic, demographic, psychographic and behavioural (Keller, 2013). Geographic is focused on customer location for example regions or cities, demographics on the other hand focusses on age, income and gender. Psychographic segmentation includes lifestyle, social class and personality and lastly behavioural segmentation through attitudes, benefits-sought and loyalty (Keller, 2013). As for New World supermarkets they tend to be smaller in comparison to PaknSave and Countdown and primarily focus on a reasonably niche target market being the middle to upper socio-economic group who enjoy and appreciate quality products and high end brands (Foodstuffs North Island, 2017). The geographical placement of the New World stores is clustered around medium to high socio-economic urban areas (Foodstuffs North Island, 2017). Countdown target market is more diverse than New Worlds by targeting middle income families that appreciate choice and variety (Woolworths Group, 2017). Geographically, Countdowns are situated in high density, middle income areas with a focus on ease of access, for example, malls or area with substantial car parks (Woolworths Group, 2017).
Points-of-Parity Verses Points-of-Difference
Points-of-parity (POP) associations are not necessarily unique to the brand but may in fact be shared with other brands. For a brand like New World and Countdown to achieve POP on a particular attribute, consumers must believe that the brand is infact superior on that particular dimension. The three types associated with POP are category, competitive, and correlational. Firstly, category POP focus on the “must haves” of a market and in this case a supermarket. For consumers to view both New World and Countdown in the supermarket category, both must have associations such as wide range of products to purchase, checkout staff and operators, fresh produce, delicatessen, convenient shopping hours and a loyalty program either Club Card or One Card. Although an issue is that category POP quite frequently change over time due to technological advancements and consumer trends. For example, in 2007 the first self service system was installed in a PaknSave in Christchurch and since then it has become an expected aspect of supermarket fit outs (Foodstuffs, n.d.). Competitive POP are associations focused on combatting the competitors' points of difference (POD) (Keller, 2013). This is clearly shown with the dinner ideas from New World, early on the supermarket worked alongside “Food in a Minute” stocking their recipes in store for consumers to take (Food in a Minute, 2018). In retaliation, Countdown began the “Feed Four for $15” meal ideas. By Countdown creating their own recipes, this has negatively effected New Worlds POD with Food in a Minute making it a POP. The idea of phasing out plastic bag use is also a competitive POP as Countdown was the first supermarket in New Zealand to phase out plastic bag use by the end of 2018, this was received well by the public and New World has since followed suit thus creating a competitive POP (Countdown, 2018). In time, reusable plastic bag will become a category POP as it will be expected that all supermarkets are plastic bag free. Lastly correlational POP are the possibly negative associations that occur from a more positive associations of a brand. Brand managers have a difficult task to find attributes that are inversely related for example, New World is known for being higher quality of food in comparison with Countdown and PaknSave but having being recognised as higher quality products and service means the more expensive their products are perceived as. Whereas for Countdown, the products are usually cheaper than New World but does not have the high quality brand association attached to the company. Although saying this Countdown's main target audience is not the high socio-economic group so this particular correlational POP is not inhibiting. POP tend to be easier to achieve than POD as the POP does not need to be seen to be exactly the same as competitors but consumers must feel like the brand does sufficiently well on the particular attribute.
POD is the complete opposite to POP and are formally defined as attributes or benefits that consumers strongly associate with a brand, positively evaluate, and believe that they could not find to the same extent with a competitive brand (Keller, 2013). The POD associations includes a focus on functional, performance-related considerations and abstract, imagery-related considerations. Majority of consumers chose brands based on perceived brand associations that are favourable towards their attitudes and beliefs. One key abstract, imagery-related POD is New World's association with more high quality, luxury goods compared with its main competitors of Countdown, Foursquare and PaknSave. The overall superior quality that New World has established helps to shape the brands main target audience of medium to high socio-economic urban areas (Foodstuffs North Island, 2017). New World is also 100% New Zealand owned and operated whereas Countdown is Australian owned (New World, n.d.) This is positive abstract, imagery-related POD for New World as seven out of 10 New Zealand consumers prefer buying and supporting local brands (Inside Retail, 2016). This gives consumer the ‘feel good' factor as they are supporting the local New Zealand economy whereas by shopping in Australian giant Countdown, the revenue is leaving the country.
With regards to functional, performance-related POD is New World promotions. New World supermarkets launched its Little Shop collectable series back in 2013 to celebrate the supermarket chain's 50th anniversary. Consumers were going crazy over these mini collectibles whether it was the little shop, little kitchen or recently the little garden, consumers were flocking into New World to build their collection. There was also a ‘trading day' where consumers could come and swap their collectables for an item they did not have. Although saying this, Countdown does also have promotions such as the collectable cards but was not seen to be on an equal scale as New World thus a POD. The Wine, Beer and Cheese Awards run by New World is also a functional, performance-related POD. Each year consumers vote on favourite products they enjoy. This gives consumers the conception that New World its elite as the company hosts special Wine, Beer and Cheese Awards each year (New World, n.d.). As for Countdown a clear functional, performance-related POD is the online shopping and delivery service. Consumers can sit in the comfort of their own home and order the groceries for the week. This can be seen as a positive POD as consumers are not spending unwanted money on products they do not need by browsing the isles (Trinh, Anesbury, & Driesener, 2017) Countdown began delivering products right back in 1996 where trial customers were sent a dozen floppy disks containing the online shopping information such as products and prices. New World has only recently in 2017 incorporated online grocery shopping at limited stores. Using the rolling out system, New World is dedicated to having 90% of the supermarkets using iShop by 2020 but New World has got years to catch up on Countdown.
Brand elements such as the brand name, logos and symbols, characters, packaging and slogans are important aspects of a brand that need to be factored in when making decisions. In order to do so there are six measures that will allow a firm to reduce risk and ultimately increase brand equity. Firstly, memorability focusses on a brand being easily recognisable and for consumers to be able to recall the brand. Secondly meaningfulness with the information either being descriptive or persuasive. Likability refers to whether consumers find the product aesthetically pleasing for example, visually or verbally. Many products today are interesting and exciting to look at even if it is not directly related to the core product. Transferability measures the extent to which the brand element adds to the brand equity for new products or in new markets for the brand (Keller, 2013). It is important for brands to make sure that their branding efforts can be transferable, for example it is a double edged sword if a brand uses a geographic location in its branding because it can insinuate history but also could potentially limit a brands breath and depth when growing the business. The fifth consideration for brand elements is their adaptability over time. The more adaptable a brand is, the easier it is to update it as time progresses and consumers change. Lastly protectability both legally and in the competitive environment. Marketers need to ensure that the brand can be legally protected overseas, registered and continue to defend the name to illegal competition using it.
Characters are a brand symbol whether that be a cartoon or real life person. Usually shown on advertising material, they can sometimes be apart of the packaging. Characters can help marketers break through the clutter and get the main message across to consumers. This is because some consumers may find it easier to create a connection and likability with a person/character than they can a brand logo for example. Characters is not applicable for this case with New World and Countdown.
A brands name is an aspect of a business that needs serous consideration. Brand names often capture a firm's central theme or associations of a product or service in shorthand. To maximise brand awareness brand names should be simple and easy to pronounce or spell, familiar and meaningful. For new businesses, it can be often very hard to decide on a name as there are a series of naming guidelines that a firm should adhere too. Firstly simplicity, ease of pronunciation and spelling. Names should be short as it is easier for consumers to store in the memory and recall, for example Bic Pens (Keller, 2013). To enhance recall and positive word of mouth, names should also be easy to pronounce. This reduces the potential embarrassment of consumers pronouncing the name wrong thus refusing to pronounce it again in the future (Journal of Marketing Communications, 2009). Familiarity and meaningfulness is also an aspect marketer should consider. Whether it be abstract or straightforward, having underlying links to either people, places, objects, animals will help consumers to recall the brand (Keller, 2013). Having a unique, differentiated and unique will go beyond consumer recall but increase brand awareness.
Finding the reasons behind New World and Countdown's brand name has found to be quite difficult with minimal trustworthy, reputable sources. New World's brand name has been consistent throughout time, from when it first opened in 1963, it was the first American styled supermarket in New Zealand (New World, n.d.). The meaningfulness could potentially link in with the brand name of wanting to bring New Zealand consumers products from around the world. The brand name New World has never changed, insinuating a long history ingrained into New Zealand. The brand name can potentially be seen as memorable and likable as for two years in a row has been named Readers Digest Most Trusted Supermarket voted for consumers (New World, 2017). There is no other company in New Zealand named New World thus creating protectability but internationally there are first that include New World for example New World China Land (New World China Land, 2018). The likelihood of consumers getting these two firms confused is unlikely as one is a property focussed and the other a supermarket. With regards to adaptability, New World has never changed the brand name thus making it hard to discern whether it is adaptable or not. With regards to both supermarkets, New World and Countdown are transferable due to New World having 138 stores across New Zealand and 184 for Countdown. Each brand has a reputable and well know name that, when opening another store in New Zealand, consumers will know that New World and Countdown are supermarkets and not a restaurant for example. The protectability of Countdown is similar to that of New World with regards of New Zealand being small, other no other brand is called Countdown in New Zealand and brands internationally do not correlate at all. Countdowns memorability and adaptability has only grown due to both Foodtown and Woolworths being converted into Countdown store in 2011 (Countdown, 2018). This has centralised the brand and given the supermarkets more breadth and allowed the supermarket giant to gain more traction in the New Zealand market.The meaningfulness of the name is descriptive implying that the prices are ‘counting down' and getting lower which is important determinant of brand awareness and salience.
Although brand name is the central aspect of a brand, the surrounding aspect such as the logo and symbols play a significant part in consumer's minds and end purchases. A logo is a symbol or other small design adopted by an organization to identify its products. It is common for logos to indicate history and the companies story (Jiang, Gorn, Galli, & Chattopadhyay, 2016). Logos can range from being a corporate name to being completely unrelated from the business from the outside looking in. Logos are necessary for a firm as these can be easily recognisable and can have a deep meaning without any verbal, written communications (Journal of Marketing, 1969). New Worlds logo has always been the NW written in white with a red background and black vertical stripes in a diamond shape as shown in appendix 1. This is a very memorable logo as it has never changed and being winners of the most trusted brand will increase New Worlds brand equity. With regards to New World logo colours, it its predominantly red, white and black. Red insinuates warmth, strength and desire, black means power and sophistication and white implies cleanliness and newness (Won, & Westland, 2017). These are all desirable traits for a supermarket thus increasing meaningfulness and likability. Transferability of the New World logo is reasonably safeguarded as New World and Countdown are supermarkets, it would not need to be wary of what the brand name/logo means in other cultures as it is not going to expand internationally. The adaptability of the logo has slightly moved with the times through changing the green original stripes to black and the NW wording from serif font which is more formal and traditional to a sans serif script which aligns with contemporary graphic design trends including minimalism and flat designs (Arnell, 2006). Lastly the protectability of the logo is unique and hard to copy which therefore would deter any potential competition from trying to copy it. As for Countdown, the first store in 1981 and initially its brand name was its logo. The logo was a lime green background with red writing (appendix 2). This logo wasn't necessarily protected as it was only colours. Whereas when it rebranded to ‘New Generation Countdowns' it became more protected as the supermarket adopted a logo (appendix 3) (Countdown, 2018). The logo is meaningful and memorable being a green cartoon pumpkin-like shape insinuating freshness and reliability which is a descriptive depiction of what a supermarket should aim to have (Won, & Westland, 2017). The likability of the brand is marginal, as the logo is not necessarily visually appealing but is definitely more atheistically pleasing to the eye than the pervious red and green Countdown logo.
Slogans are described as being short phrases that communicate descriptive or persuasive information about the brand to consumers (Keller, 2013). Usually found on advertising, slogans can also play a huge part in packaging. Slogans similar to brand names are extremely efficient, shorthand way to build brand equity which is ultimately the end goal for a brand. Using a slogan allows brands to make link between the brand and the product category or even help to reinforce the brands positioning. Brands can also use one universal slogan or use different slogans for different campaigns. One side of slogans that brands need to watch out for is the slogan becoming dated and overused. Due to slogans being the easiest brand element to change, marketers must ensure that the slogan continues to diversify and insinuates the products desired brand associations over time. New World's slogan is currently “Proudly 100% New Zealand Owned and Operated” (New World, n.d.). This is increasing the memorability and meaningfulness as New Zealand being a small country, shopping local is a favourable mindset. It is a constant reminder for consumers to shop with New World as you are supporting the local economy in comparison with Countdown for example, where it is a subsidiary of the public-listed Australian company, Woolworths Limited (Countdown, 2018). Likability is not prevalent in this scenario as the slogan does not have a ring to it nor does it sound like anything special. It is more a statement inferring its origin to consumers. Similar to protectability as stating something is 100% New Zealand owned and operated tends to sound cliché. New World is not the only brand that states this, for example, New Zealand Roadside Assist (NZRA, n.d.). This ties in with transferability, in New Zealand, its transferable but no where else as the purpose is to reaffirm that New World is 100% New Zealand Brand. Throughout the years, New World has used other slogans such as “different like you” in the clever basket advertisement, but it always comes back to proudly 100% New Zealand owned and operated as that is something not all companies could use. This is a similar case to Countdown as the slogan is currently “smarter shopping” but have previously touched on “eat well for less”. Being focussed on the middle class consumers these slogans insinuate low prices thus a positive touch point. It is adaptable as trends change, for example the trend of conscious, healthy eating, turned Countdowns slogan to “Eat Well for Less” (Burns, 2008). Memorability and likability would not be a strong point for the slogan as it does not stand out, nor sound like anything out of the ordinary as appose to knowing Countdown's logo. With regards to the current slogan “smarter shopping”, its meaning focusses on specific information about particular attributes and benefits of the brand which is the opposite to New Worlds general information about the function of the product or service. It insinuates to consumers that by buying the groceries at Countdown you are a smarter shopper and saving money. Lastly protectability of the slogan in the competitive sense, it is easily copied as it is not strongly tied with Countdown and only really see the slogan on digital platforms where as New World's slogan is plastered on store windows and walls.
Packaging is the activities of designing and producing containers or wrappers for a product (Keller, 2013) For packaging to be effective, it must firstly identify the brand, convey necessary information, durable for product transportation, easily storable and aid product consumption (Keller, 2013). It is paramount that marketer spend ample time researching and designing possible packaging ideas as consumer's brand associations arise from the packaging. Packaging is also another brand element that is not applicable for the New World and
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