1.1 Part A. Feedback
The feedback received on the previous report discussed that the branding strategy was cohesive including important touch-points of brand logo and slogan. The demographic, psychographic, and behavioral bases have been used to describe the relevant target market. The review also remarks on how the branding elements are well connected with consumers buying decisions. The feedback received has positive remarks on all aspects of the report including content, formatting, and referencing.
1.2 Company Profile
Chrono United is a US-based watch company that deals in authentic sports and luxury watches, and timepieces. The company operates from Annapolis Maryland, a great city in the tech corridor of New York and Baltimore. Annapolis Maryland’s design district has grown rapidly during the last couple of decades and experts believe that it can easily rival Madison Avenue or Rodeo Drive any day. Many brands like Rolex, Pulsar, Nike, Adidas, Ice-Watch, Casio, Timex, Calypso, Swatch, Titus, and Weiss have their corporate branches operating from Annapolis Maryland. The city offers high social life and economic opportunities.
The marketing plan is structured as follows: section 2 will discuss the pricing and distribution strategies considering the various macroeconomics and microeconomic variables. Section 3 will discuss an integrated marketing communication plan, section 4 will be about public relations. Section 5 will highlight sales discussing aspects of promotions and personal selling. Section 6 will discuss competitive analysis highlighting the competitors. Section 7 will shed light on the online and direct marketing plan and the last section; section 8 will social responsibility, followed by a conclusion.
Pricing and Distribution Strategy
Pricing strategies focus on finding the optimum price for the product considering the cost and market share. The profits depend on the price (Dolgui & Proth, 2010). The distribution channels require strategic and tactical decisions (Rangan & Jaikumar, 1991).
Various macroeconomic and microeconomic factors play a part in the cost of the product and then it’s pricing. As Chrono United manufactures watches and timepieces, recent shortages due to lockdown, closure of businesses, and less disposable income impacted the business. Therefore considering the cost, the market trend, and the purchasing power of people pricing strategies have to be devised.
Distribution channels are essential to making the product available to the customer. They add value, convenience, and are the channels to reach your customers creating sales for the business. Well, thought-out distribution channels reduce the barriers between the seller and its customers.
Considering that the watch market has well-established existing brands that present a challenge for a new company, pricing strategy requires a competitive take. The pricing strategy in consideration at the introduction level is price penetration. Considering that Chrono United is a mid-premium brand that has positioned itself on authenticity and product quality, a dynamic pricing strategy will be employed. The first strategy is price penetration to introduce the product in the market with some variants priced at the low-end pricing range of $80 to $200. At the same time the high-end, premium variants will be priced using competition-based pricing which will be according to the market competitors. The brand eventually wants to develop a customer value-based pricing strategy as the customer base of the brand will grow.
To find a market footing price penetration strategy will be used to introduce the product in the market, at a low price to generate a word of mouth and capture a market share. Price penetration also considers the fact that there are existing competitors, who like Chrono United are selling authenticity. In a market saturation either the introductory price has to be low or the differentiation has to be high (Spann et al., 2015).
As a mid-premium brand, the pricing of high-end variants falls between $500 to $2000 using competition-based pricing. Keeping our competitors in mind that have premium variants in the range of $1500 and above, our premium variants are priced in a similar range. Considering our target market that spends a monthly of $500 on luxury items such as watches and jewelry, we know that the product has to be priced on perceived value which has been communicated through various branding activities leading the brand towards customer value-based price.
Distribution channels determine how the product reaches the customer. As a new brand, three retail stores will be opened in Annapolis Maryland, Baltimore, and Washington DC. As for most fashion items, the purchase decision is usually made by experiencing the product, its touch, feeling, and appearance. Therefore, at the introductory level, the brand will introduce pop-up stores in major retail stores across Annapolis Maryland, Baltimore, and Washington DC, and in the second phase, target remaining business hubs of the country. Not only will this help us create the brand image but will also help us connect with our customers. This will lead to essential data collection that will help us establish extended distribution channels later on. The company may later develop wholesale distribution networks in states where retail stores are not made. However, the initial operation will be in three main stores where the company will manage distribution using its resources. Step-wise introduction through pop-up stores will guide us through future decision-making of distribution channels.
The company will also operate online through a website. The product delivery will be available throughout the United States at the initial level. We aspire to build a global market in the next five years of our operations.
Integrated Marketing Communications
With the growing influence of technology variety of marketing channels have emerged. Integrated marketing communication refers to the idea that a consistent message regarding the brand, the company vision, and its value-adding practices are communicated across all channels.
Brands operating in markets of today understand that these channels are customer touchpoints and can foster customer loyalty and develop a connection with its stakeholders (Kitchen & Burgmann, 2010). Media channels are a great way to make your presence known to your potential market. These marketing communication channels are used for the promotion of the company and include multiple aspects as shown in the image below
Figure ((Promotion: Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) | Introduction to Business, 2016)
Integrated marketing communication creates the promotional mix leading to value addition and strategic advantage in the market through communication with the stakeholders. This includes advertisement, sales promotion, public relations, and direct marketing. These activities are very customer-centered and result-driven (Kitchen & Burgmann, 2010).
The brand slogan is ‘Time with Perfection’ all marketing communication channels of the brand will convey this to build the brand perception regarding authentic, high-quality, luxury products. An effective message strategy communicates the brand perception, positioning, and goal of the brand. The brand name Chrono United means time united us to customers, as an effective brand message needs to have an emotional touch the brand website will include the message of ‘connected through time’ to develop the perception of a lifelong brand-customer relation. These two key aspects of our brand will be consistently shared through all channels used for our communication, marketing, and promotional activities.
Media strategy today has become synonymous with social media strategy. For a mid-premium, luxury watch brand the social media presence is vital for delivering the brand message to a larger audience and to creating a customer base. Chrono United will have an online presence through a company website, and social media networks such including Instagram and Facebook. The company will hire a social media manager for creating buzz for launch events, inform customers about pop-up stores, and also manage the creation of content with media influencers that match the company’s vision and target market.
With our target market that is looking for the latest trends, social media is the best platform for communicating those trends.
Public Relations, Sales Promotion, and Personal Selling Plan
Chrono United wants to create a long-term relationship with its customers. As a new brand, the company has to engage multiple forums to get the brand message across to its target market.
Public Relations Plan
Public relations helps in delivering information regarding the brand practices that can help in creating its image and credibility. Modern markets have merged the roles of public relations, advertising, and media communication. Public relations can help build a brand’s reputation (Mikáčová & Gavlaková, 2014). Chrono United will use public relations like press releases and press conferences. These will involve information about store launch, and the company’s vision, and the processes that ensure quality and value for the customers. These will also be shared on all online platforms that the brand uses.
Sales Promotion Plan
To promote sales as a new market entrant Chrono United will employ a price penetration strategy at its launch for some of its watches and timepieces. Another promotion strategy will be an introductory 10% discount in the first week of the retail store launch on the premium category articles ranging between $500- $2000.
At the pop-up stores, the same 10% discount will be offered on premium watches. The brand will also offer a 20% discount on Black Friday and Christmas later in the year. Watch accessories such as straps for sports watches will be discounted by 15% on bundle purchase of 5 straps.
Personal Selling Plan
The face-to-face sales will happen in two modes, the first will be our retail stores and the second will be pop-up stores in at least five major shopping malls of Annapolis Maryland, Baltimore, and Washington DC. The services of marketing consultants will be employed at the pop-up stores to help with the future decision regarding the further expansion of the retail network. To promptly address customer queries online a virtual sales representative will be engaged. As communication is vital to building customer loyalty and brand image the sales representatives in the retail and pop-up stores will be trained by the sales department to convey the brand image and provide a seamless customer purchase experience.
Online and Direct Marketing Plan
Chrono United is operating through an online medium of a website. The customers will also be able to have the ‘view on website’ option available on social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook. The brand will not be using any direct marketing channels, as a premium, luxury brand this strategy can not be effective in creating our desired brand image.
The website for Chrono United has been created through a thorough process of ensuring customer experience to add value to the brand perception. The products are categorized by price range, materials, design series, and product category. Each product is supported with images that show all product dimensions, the zoom-in option can further enhance product detail. The products also include information regarding the materials, their source, and the environmental friendliness of the materials. There is an option to track the order progress on the website. The payment options have been made secured and support payment from all major banks in the US. The brand will develop the website to offer customization in the coming year of the business.
Chrono United will be using the print medium for advertising in magazines such as People magazine, Time magazine, and Monochrome Watches Magazine. These magazines are popular and offer lifestyle and trend information to their readers. For online advertising, both display advertising and pay-per-click will be used. The type of display advertisement will interstitial ads as these pop-up as a whole page ad, creating higher engagement and click-through rate. These ads also help to generate brand awareness as they emerge on related websites. Pay-per-click advertisements are also a low-budget advertisement option that can lead the target market to the website through keyword search.
Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization can be exceptionally beneficial for a new business like Chrono United as this increases the probability of appearing in the search engine leading to more people visiting the website. With keywords search of watches, trendy or sports the more often the brand name emerges the more likely will be the increase in customer and brand interaction.
The social media platforms used are Facebook and Instagram. Many lifestyle trendsetters share Insta-stories which are an excellent advertisement medium. As Chrono United will be using influencers to create a word of mouth and reach a larger customer base this seems like an excellent choice. Statistical figures represent the effectiveness of Facebook as an advertisement medium. With 1.39 billion active users and more than 92% of companies use Facebook as an advertising tool. It is one of the most prominent tools for creating relevant and personalized ads (Tran, 2017).
The business will not employ any direct marketing tools as the brand will not gain much through direct sales and call centers. The brand will however have virtual assistance to address consumer queries on the website.
Social Responsibility Plan
Chrono United is a socially and environmentally responsible brand. All materials used are sourced under approved material licenses. The brand has an active stance towards any materials sourced through child labor. We also advocate a healthy lifestyle and our sports watch range also promotes various active life features.
Chrono United markets itself on perfection and authenticity. We endeavor to build a lasting relation with its customers. As a mid-premium luxury brand, we consider ourselves to be trendsetters.
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