Sometimes I ask the question, what if there was no Coca Cola, what if there was no Pepsi, how we as customers would handle accepting new brands at such time, would we be more open to trying new beverages, maybe accepting such or utilizing such in our daily life – being part of our behavior or life style… Perhaps if the price of such products as Pepsi or Coca Cola increased or decreased would that become an element in the equation of accepting newer beverage brands? Or maybe the whole matter is just a question of taste; some people like these brands and can never change or accept to try new ones.
One common element about these questions is the people: they determine their accustomed behaviors of consuming such brands daily consequently making them part of their lives. This article however, intends to discuss how customers accept newer brands with the existence of established strong ones part of the customers’ daily lives.
When companies try to provide an alternative for the existing brands in the market place such is one of the most difficult tasks any marketing or business team can handle; basically, any new brand would be faced with a single question by the customers: why should I use this or that brand? There are already existing brands in the market place that satisfies the need of the customers. Even the notion of the customer accepting a new brand is not an easy task, except if the determining and most important factor is the price for such a customer. Playing the price card is not always favorable as such will eventually lead to a price war between the different brands, additionally, it will diminish the brand power of new brands being seen as a cheap alternative utilized only as such.
The most important factor to understand that established brands were intended to the masses; in the previous era of marketing there was not much of an emphasis on the niche market concept, and the products manufactured associated with these brands were created to serve the ‘wants’ of all customers. When Ford started their first line of cars, these cars came out only in black and white leaving no much of a choice for the customers and only serving the want for a car to serve as a vehicle used to transport people from one place to the other instead of the conventional means of such time. When IBM created its computers, there was no alternative at such time and these products were created to serve all people’s needs of storing data and facilitating the extraction of such. When Coca Cola and Pepsi started their business they wanted to provide a cold beverage in the hot sunny days as a refreshing flavored alternative to water.
We as customers at that time accepted all of these brands because they were the first to start introducing their products, we got accustomed to them with the time which later made them part of our lifestyle. Once the notion of niche market started to become popular in the field of marketing and between the various products, such brands started to create diversified products in order to compete between each other and to create an entry barrier to new brands. However, such diversification only happened once such brands reached the maturity stage; the established core concepts about such brands in the minds of the customers are still the same so not all newly introduced concepts were easily accepted.
For instance, Pepsi Company introduced various new beverage products such as Mountain Dew, Mirinda, Pepsi Max, Diet Pepsi, Shani, and so fourth… All serving a different niche however the main product of the company which is the original Pepsi intended and created to the masses is still the main product generating most of the revenue. The same example applies to IBM, Coca Cola and Ford; their main “created for-product brand” is still the cash cow for the company and we as customers find it difficult to accept new brands even the if such were introduced by the same brand company.
Not only till a new beverage was introduced called “Red Bull” customer’s acceptance became common for such a product for such is serving a very well defined niche of customers – you need Red Bull when in need for more energy, when doing sports, when studying, when needless to sleep, etc… Apple another classical example of a well defined niche market, you need an Apple computer when having very creative technical skills, and you need an IBM computer when in need for a computer – both very different statements. We as customers accepted these new brands not as alternatives but more as of their unusual messages, because they are different and who buys these brands becomes so too.
Notwithstanding the fact that creative companies who come up with new ideas and established well defined messages for their customers are the ones who can compete in the current saturated market, other brands who compete on the basis of price serving a niche of customers who prefer not to spend much on certain categories of products can compete as well. The whole concept of competition in the current new era should be based on a niche regardless of the characteristics of such a niche making the new brand more acceptable to the customers with well defined and funneled messages.
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