Using sales promotion techniques to build brand equity seems counterintuitive. After all, sales promotion is defined as techniques to lift sales temporarily.
However, when you look into the elements that contribute to brand equity, a consumer’s brand experience plays a key role. Their awareness, associations, perceptions and loyalty all are part of the experience you deliver. Here are the things that contribute to a brand’s value or equity.
Five Components of Brand Equity
- Brand Awareness
- Brand Associations
- Perceived Quality
- Brand Loyalty
- Other Proprietary Assets – such as patents, trademarks or business/channel relationships
The elements of brand equity revolve around how consumers think and feel. To tie-in sales promotion techniques to the consumer’s brand experience, consider this list of a brand’s identity that elicit a consumer response.
The Four Dimensions of the Brand Experience:
- Sensory – how consumers experience a brand visually, tactilely, and olfactorily through taste and smell.
- Affective – how a consumer’s mood and emotions are impacted.
- Intellectually – both imaginative thinking and analytical thinking.
- Behaviorally – interactive experiences and actions consumer’s take.
Building Brand Equity
Brand equity is defined as the brand names value in the mind of the consumer, resulting from the consumer’s perception of the brand name, product or service.
Organizations create a brand’s perception by making their brand memorable, recognizable and superior in quality.
Bridging the way consumers experience your brand with how they perceive it, is where sales promotion techniques can create a positive, innovative and consistent impression.
Establishing Brand Affinity
Creating The Brand Experience can be accomplished many ways. Certainly brand positioning through brand advertising and public relations set the tone for the brand’s identity.
To create brand affinity, these communication channels establish the common values the organization shares with their customers.
For example, the Patagonia outfitters brand is an organization that establishes brand affinity well.
Patagonia’s mission is to:
“Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”
They explicitly state on their website that their “values reflect those of a business started by a band of climbers and surfers, and the minimalist style they promoted. The approach (they) take towards product design demonstrates a bias for simplicity and utility.”
These positioning statements established Patagonia with their brand community, and sets the tone for the relationship they have with the world. Everything the brand does by way of events, sponsorships, trade show participation and other sales promotion activities reflect their core mission, and the values shared with their customer community.
Sales Promotion Techniques Building Brand Equity
Whether you create an online event or an event at a special location, there are many ways to create an impression and impact the customer’s experience.
When your event creates a strong and powerful brand experience it will have a lasting effect on brand equity.
Related to the four dimensions of the brand experience (above), sensory stimulation should be created through sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste.
Depending on your venue and brand, involving the consumer with interactive displays, performances and product engagement is powerful and memorable.
The experience should be designed around stimulating emotions such as happiness or joy. Provoke the imagination by having attendees think in new ways or share your ah-ha moments. Allow attendees to engage with your team and each other to imprint a new behavior pattern.
An example of this is evident when a luxury brand, such as Prada and Cartier set up exhibitions, receptions and sponsorships at famous art museums and auction houses.
Wealthy guests mingle among stimulating, high-priced art while they interact with the brand, the art, and each other. Media outlets promote the brand’s mystique, while reporting about the rich, the royal and the famous in attendance. The totality of the experience builds the brands value, creating brand equity.
When you launch a new brand or product consumers don’t know anything about you. Establishing immediate trust and affinity can be accomplished through product sampling.
Offering a free taste sample in a supermarket aisle creates awareness, and has been known to increase immediate sales significantly.
To establish that unique brand equity with a sampling campaign, think out of the box. Where are your customers hanging out, where can you stimulate their emotions, imagination and behavior, along with the sensory stimulation of experiencing the product?
I was introduced to Bare Naked Granola on the top of a mountain at a ski resort. A fun and engaging team set up a tent where the ski lift ended. Immediately I was dropped into a fun and healthy party where I tasted the product, took home a sample and had a fun few minutes with the sampling team and other skiers. I never forgot that experience and the sample I received, establishing an immediate affinity with the brand.
Contests have the unique benefit of engaging the consumer’s mind and immersing them in a task. Using the 4 dimensions of the brand experience think how you can immerse the target consumer in the process.
The Courvoisier brand has launched a global competition to inspire bartenders to enter their Cocktail Competition. These cocktail influencers were invited to fun master classes, in the form of a road show developed by the brand.
The bartenders learn about the product, interact with each other and sample imaginative cocktail concoctions, to bring back to their customers. The branded events cumulate in finalist traveling to Paris for the ‘Courvoisier’s Toast of Paris International Cocktail Competition’.
Identifying your brand influencers, and promoting events specifically to them, engages your audience and increases brand affiliation. This same concept is employed in different forms in facebook and other influencer contests.
While sweepstakes grab attention and get your message read, they are also great in promoting a brand attribute and creating excitement around a product.
Promoting a brand attribute or your Unique Selling Proposition differentiates your brand and gives you the opportunity to create an emotional connection through creative themes and prize structures.
Other sales promotion techniques such as trade show booths, charity fundraisers, street events, sponsorships and more can incorporate the four dimensions of the brand experience.
Consistently reviewing all the points of creating brand equity will improve the commercial value of your brand. Touching on as many Brand Experience dimensions when creating a sales promotion campaign will establish positive consumer perceptions that will last a lifetime.