Strategic Brand Management – Virgin Group and Easy Group  

Keywords: Brand strategy, Brand symbol, Point of parity and difference, Brand Salience, Brand image, Target customer, Product Re-positioning, Marketing and brand assignment writing services

Objectives of this study

The two diverse and strong brands Virgin Group and Easy Group have provided motivation to analyse and explore the branding analogy and how website positioning and re-positioning can contribute to continuing success of these brands.

Introduction

According to Vomberg, Homburg and Bornemann (2015), brand equity enclosed the value premium, which a company realise from its product through a recognisable name in comparison to a generic equivalent. The brand equity or value makes a product memorable and recognisable based on the reliability and quality. Brand equity allows the companies to increase the success of its new product by associating product to existing successful brand.

For online and interactive medium, brand equity is most important factors, which allow understanding the customer company product offering through portraying value online and offline presence (Aaker and Joachimsthaler, 2012).

Rationale for selection of companies – Choice and judgement

Virgin Group

The selection of ‘Virgin group’ is for its recognition as challenger corporate brand which focuses on purpose led-innovation. Company focus on changing business for good as well as redefine its relationship with customers, employees, environment and shareholder. The mission statement of the company is based on ‘making everybody better off’. The Virgin group, which includes Virgin media, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin holidays and Virgin trains in the UK and these, are branded under the corporate name (Kolko, 2014).

Virgin group made £15 billion in revenues and one of the first businesses, which focused on the customer-orientated approach for its financial success, which has made many businesses to follow the suit (Aaker and Joachimsthaler, 2012).

Easygroup – Choice and judgement

Easygroup has positioned itself low-cost airline, which has allowed expanding the passenger volumes in European airline market. The company has challenges the traditional big airlines, offered budget travel, and other industries. The mission statement of Easygroup is to offer high-quality service at lower prices through reducing the overheads (Burns, 2014).

Promotional strategy of the company to marketing itself as huge saving for companies through proposing travel budgets and manage its business through internet booking. Therefore, an online company has given motivation to conduct brand investigation as well as product and service positioning evaluation of Easygroup (Malighetti, Paleari and Redondi, 2015).

Product and Service position on company website

Virgin Group – branding Approach on website

Brand symbol, personality and characteristic

Cattaneo et al (2016) analysed that the website of Virgin group has small corporate logo and picture of its owner Richard Branson along with story and experiences. The tagline on the website says ‘inspiration, innovation and changing business for good’. Company website have top menu, which enclosed information and linked to various projects as well as highlight the information about company and Branson.

Virgin -- Strategic Brand Management

Virgin group value is associated with philosophy and value of Branson. Virgin group desires to position itself differently and create archetype, which associated with all unit of the virgin group. Branding architecture is based on the system composed of product and service that allows the customer to relate them to a brand (Keller, 2014).

Wachman (2015) evaluated that Virgin brand personality is based on the scenario that it is outward face brand. The inner dimensions and philosophy redefine the outward face and reveal multi-dimensional features. The red colour logo of the company reflects passion, aggressiveness, value and rebellious.

Virgin identity it logo and tagline are marked in red and white for each business unit and represent the visual identity of the business. The snapshot below highlights the branding attributes of Virgin group website (Frank, 2016).

Virgin Strategic Brand Management analysis

Branding strategy

Bader (2015) studied that the focus of the company is to provide better service, better quality as well as better value. The unique branding features contribute to brand architecture is reputation, corporate name, Sir Richard Branson personality, innovative service and strong product and service performance.

Virgin extensions have an important role for Virgin group, which is based on the entering into the feasible market using Virgin brand name through providing better product quality and innovative product and service.

The Virgin brand attributes include offering better value to customers, quality but not expensive. Product and service innovation along with risk-taking to create competitive advantage and respond to customer needs through provided excellent customer service (Kolko, 2014).

Easy Group – branding Approach on website

Brand symbol, personality and characteristic

The visual identity, which is officially known as ‘Getup’, is an important component of Easygroup branding. According to the brand manual of Easygroup, the logo is ‘Cooper Black font (not bold, italics, neither outline nor underlined) the word “easy” in lower case followed (without space) by another word, only the initial letter of which is capitalised’. The ‘easy’ name is a powerful asset for the company and is a vital tool for corporate communication (Chernatony, McDonald and Wallace, 2015).

Easy Group - Strategic Brand Management analysis

Lindgren (2013) analysed that the logo on the company website is simple and aligned to the right side of the website. Easy.com is a global portal, which allows the consumer to explore the wide range of produce and service, which includes business news and information on the Stelios.

Morhart et al (2015) evaluated that the company believe in offering more for less. The brand value of Easygroup is based on following characteristics, which are a great value, taking on the big players, offers product and services to many, continuous innovation, keep it simple, making a difference in people lives, entrepreneurship and develop an open, honest and caring relationship. The portal logo is an important tool of communication to communicate with the customer, which represent all online business.

Branding strategy

According to Bader (2015), each business logo of the company has its own specific logo through a differentiated descriptive word of easy.  The image shows the brand logo for the easy group. The colour combination has given distinguish feature and important part of company heritage and brand identity. The combination of the three colours includes dark grey, white and black in a distinct style, which is powerful through simplicity and simple to use.

Jones (2015) evaluated that the typefaces used by the company are ‘cooper black with bold’, confident and distinct appearance. The images showed by the company are based on real people to express emotions and optimistic situation. Easy business is based online and maximum revenues are achieved through the online channel. The design of the website as shown is critical and the company has effective design the portal to deliver maximum information.

The advertising of the easy.com is based on promoting consumer benefits and value, which highlight the experiences different brands can provide. The company focused on the descriptive and pictures. The ownership itself participates in the PR activities with frequent exposure to media (Handa and Sharma, 2015).

Comparison of product positioning

Positioning strategy involves creating a distinctive and unique image of the company brand in relation to competition. The focus of the product position is based on the product attributes, product user and competition, class and cultural symbols (Napoli, Dickinson-Delaporte and Beverland, 2016).

Point of parity and difference – Virgin group vs. Easy Group

Frank (2016) evaluated that the brand is known as recognisable as well as a trustworthy badge of origin based on the promised of performance. Brands are no limited to the physical product but are based on the relationship with customers that are personified by the brand name or company name.

Brand resonance refers to the relationship between the brand and customer, which is based on the identification of brand by customer, brand establishment, response and association with customer, as well as relationship of customer with brand. The diagram below shows the brand resonance pyramid (Chernatony, McDonald and Wallace, 2014).

Brand Resonance Pyramid

Brand Salience

Samu and Wymer (2014) reviewed that brand salience highlight how well customers are informed about the company when making a purchase and thus it represents the ability of the customer to remember the brand. Virgin group is a strong brand, which uses it a corporate identity (branding) to project its image to the customers. The brand awareness based on the corporate logo has allowed the company to develop deep and board brand salience (Handa and Sharma, 2015).

virgin Brand Salience

Easygroup uses the brand name for each of business with same descriptive and colour and focuses on the content strategy to effective promote its online business. The company is selling a wide range of products at lower price and better value proposition and online as well as print media are two highly used marketing channels for the company (Samu and Wymer, 2014).

The image of company different brand is based on simple power logo with an image of the people to highlight the experience of the people. The diagram below shows the brand image of different business of easy group.

Easy Group - Strategic Brand Management analysis

Brand Image and Performance

Bader (2015) analysed that the brand performance allows examining how company brand is performing and fulfilling the needs of various customers. Virgin group have number of products enclosed under the corporate umbrella and i.e. some brands outperform while other fails to make significant impact.  For example, virgin trains and Virgin money are strongly positioned in the market, which outperform its competitors.

On the other hand, Virgin cola and Virgin vie are failed brands of the company. The product extension approach has failed on number of brands of company (Gopinath, Thomas and Krishnamurthi, 2014). The diagram below shows the performance of the Virgin companies

Virgin group - Strategic Brand Management analysis

Easy group use product extension to promote much business under the same corporate logo and promote the standard image of the company. A company has managed to start 15 different business units and enter the market segment, which even includes easy pizza.  The easy group has successfully managed to enter into the market and have continued successes in each of the selected business areas. Virgin airline has limited itself to service but easy jet has entered into food products, van rental, coffee and pizza and property business (Cattaneo et al., 2016).

Easy Group - Strategic Brand Management analysis

Brand feeling and Judgement

Handa and Sharma (2015) stated that Brand judgement represents what customers decides with respect to specific product and feeling shows that how much customer is attached to the product. Virgin group has a strong reputation for quality and innovation which impact upon the decision of customer when making the decision to purchase a specific product.

Vomberg, Homburg and Bornemann (2015) added that the brand personality and identity of Virgin group have allowed the customer to emotionally attached to the brand. The customer focused of the company has allowed to develop a positive relation with customer and develop a positive image of the brand. The new venture such as Virgin Galactic has inspired people (Morhart et al., 2015).

Virgin -- Strategic Brand Management

Easygroup has positioned itself as low-cost company which offered product and services at lower prices while deliver quality for the customer. The focus of the company to deliver product at reduced cost rather innovating new product or service in the market. Company re-engineer process for existing product and service to reduce cost and generate value (Dou and Krishnamurthy, 2016).

Easy Group - Strategic Brand Management analysis

Customer attached them to the easy group for low-cost product and service, which meet their needs in efficient way. Company product and service, as well as business model, is highly valued. The company is focused on customer value through improving network and processes to make to affordable to customers (Napoli, Dickinson-Delaporte and Beverland, 2016).

Evaluation and Feedback for brand support team

Compare and contrast of two brands

The similarities between two brands that both use corporate branding approach to brand their product and service under compare brand logo on their website. The brand equity of Virgin group is recognised based on the proposition of quality, innovation and trust.

Easy group positioned itself for the value customers and offered consumer products while virgin retains its position for premium products. The branding approach similarities involve the website highlights the Richard Branson’s and Stelios Haji-Loannou, the owner of the airline has appeared in a number of company advertisements, carried PR stunt and marketing campaign.

Easy group business model is based on attracting holidaymakers and budget travellers through offering very low fare as well as offering promotional fares at the time of lower demand. Virgin group has positioned as a premium brand and focused on the innovation and high-quality product and service. Easy group has branded itself has low-cost product and service brand which offer good quality at lower price.

Target customer and brand image

The target market for the virgin group is premium market segment through innovative and high-quality product and service at premium pricing. Virgin group has taken a diverse approach in a different market segment of high value such as space industry, credit industry and media.

Virgin Group has emphasised on the innovation and exploiting the high-value market for premium product and services. Virgin target customers are less conscious about pricing but looking for innovative high-quality product. Company customers are a client with high income and less sensitive to price.

Virgin group has rushed to a different segment of the market such as Virgin cola, cosmetic and clothing which has ended in failure. Easygroup targets customer how seeks budget product for better value of money. Company customers are rather sensitive to the price. The brand mix of EasyJet caters the value customer market through catering the need of a various segment of the market.

Easygroup brand as budget product and Service Company, which enter existing market segment to, offered existing product at a reduced cost through processes improvement.

Potential benefits from online changes

The potential online changes, which could benefit virgin, are offering better menu and navigation on its website. The website should have clearly defined menu and brand list for the customer, which enable them quickly search the information.

The presence of each brand logo of the company business would allow the user quickly refer to product and services. The overall website should be redesign with a white space and improve and transformed navigation about company brand.

On the other hand, Easygroup needs a website, which allows the user to experience the product and company to understand the philosophy and background of the company. The company website has simple long menu for each of the company brand. Company core value and concept would allow the user to understand the product value offered.

Product Re-positioning and focus

Virgin group should redesign its website, which allows the user to explore the information about product and services rather sharing stories, which a large number of the customer may not find useful.

The interactive website, which navigates the user to specific information, is likely to increase brand reputations of the company. Reposition of Virgin media to cater the need of a various segment of the market would allow generating profitability and positive image of the brand.

The re-positioning of product and service offered on the website would allow the user to interact and purchase the product from website quickly. Moreover, it is used revenue management approach to maximise its revenues from the media and airline business. The interactive website, which navigates the user to specific information, is likely to increase brand reputations of the company.

On the other hand, Easygroup needs to re-evaluate brand position and offer product and service for market segment looking for high-quality service rather an emphasis on budget product and services.

For example, easy gym and the hotel can offer premium services or add-on service to a specific customer group, which satisfied the need of customer to prefer to develop mix packages for the product, and services. The reposition approach based on the different segment of the market would allow improving the image of the company as well as increase brand equity for easy group.

 

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